Blazers’ Terry Stotts quips that Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard looked ‘well-rested’
It was a bitter game for the Portland Trail Blazers as they fell short to the Los Angeles Clippers. It was a game they felt they could have won despite playing against a rested Kawhi Leonard on the Clippers. Head coach Terry Stotts made an obvious observation that can easily be taken as a jab at the entire team.
Blazers' coach Terry Stotts on Kawhi Leonard's 18 4th quarter points for the Clippers – "He looked well rested. So he was able to take it to another gear in the 4th quarter."
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) November 8, 2019
The comments seemingly point to the decision of the Clippers to rest Kawhi Leonard ahead of a nationally televised game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Plenty of fans were disappointed that the team benched their best scorer due to nagging knee injuries. However, the league sided with the Clippers on this instance of load management. ClutchPoints’ Tomer Azarly quoted the league statement on their logic behind their support:
“Following additional review of the LA Clippers not playing Kawhi Leonard in last night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks, the NBA has confirmed that the team’s decision to sit Leonard for management of an injury was consistent with league rules. The team has reasonably determined that Leonard is suffering from an ongoing injury to the patella tendon in his left knee and has been placed by the team at this time on an injury protocol for back-to-back games.”
The Clippers narrowly lost that game. However, he made up for his absence by playing big against Damian Lillard and the Blazers. He finished with 27 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, a steal, and two blocks on 39% shooting. He and Lou Williams carried the Clippers past a Blazers team that was playing good team basketball.
The question of load management will be continuously questioned until a proper resolution is reached. Until then, teams can expect stars like Kawhi to take more rests in an effort to preserve their condition for the playoffs.