April 22, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Will ailing Kawhi Leonard play in Clippers’ first-half finale?

The first half of the NBA season ends Thursday for the Clippers, but have we seen the last of Kawhi Leonard before the All-Star break?

Perhaps not. After back spasms sidelined Leonard on Tuesday during a loss in Boston, the Clippers officially listed the All-Star forward as questionable to play at Washington in the first-half finale Thursday. Leonard was hurt Sunday in a loss at Milwaukee, coach Tyronn Lue said.

The Clippers are 4-4 this season without Leonard, who has missed time because of a facial laceration, the league’s health and safety protocols, and a contusion of his left lower leg. When Leonard sits, the Clippers have scored 10 fewer points and yielded nearly two more points per 100 possessions. The total represents the second-largest difference by any Clipper this season, behind only Paul George.

The Clippers (24-13) have lost consecutive games for only the second time this season with their defeat to the Celtics, during which backup forward Marcus Morris also was lost because of a concussion suffered in the second quarter. Morris is doubtful to face the Wizards (13-20). Forward Patrick Patterson will miss his fifth consecutive game because of personal reasons, the team said.

“We want to go into the break with a win, go into the break with some positive to leave off on coming out of the break,” said George, who scored 32 points Tuesday. “So the game in Washington is a must-win.”

Also Thursday, All-Stars Leonard and George will learn their teams for the All-Star exhibition Sunday. Team captains LeBron James and Kevin Durant draft their rosters at 5 p.m. PST. (Whether Leonard is healthy enough to play is to be determined). If Durant selects either, it will lead to a sideline reunion with Team Durant coach Doc Rivers five months after the Clippers cut ties with the coach and he was hired in Philadelphia.

NEXT UP

AT WASHINGTON

When: Thursday, 4 p.m. PST.

On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 570, 1330.

Update: The Clippers won by 19 during the teams’ first meeting on Feb. 23. … Washington’s defense has given up the smallest percentage of shots at the rim this season, and the Clippers (24-13) have generated the second-lowest percentage of shots there. … The Clippers’ 42.3% three-point shooting continues to lead the NBA. The Wizards (13-20), who also have lost two in a row, languish amid the bottom third of three-point accuracy given up.