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Clippers’ Doc Rivers claims Kawhi Leonard is ‘Paul Pierce-like’

Doc Rivers, Clippers

Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers likened his star forward Kawhi Leonard to former pupil Paul Pierce.

Prior to Friday night’s Paul George–less matchup with the Miami Heat, Rivers called Leonard a “great scorer,” saying the two-time Finals MVP was on par with the top shot-makers, including NBA champion Pierce, who played for the current Clippers head coach while with the Boston Celtics.

Per the Los Angeles Times’ Andrew Greif on Twitter:

“He’s Paul Pierce-like. There’s a lot of great scorers. There are certain guys that just know how to get to their spot and when they get to their spot it’s a wrap. Kawhi has that ability. I’ve never seen a guy play at the balance — he’s really off balance.

It’s amazing watching it because he knows how to get it, he knows his footwork is phenomenal. When you watch him in practice you understand why. He puts in a lot of work on footwork and balance and I’ve never seen a guy when he gets to his shot it’s straight up and down and it’s perfect balance. I’ve never seen that, to that level.”

Leonard, 28, is averaging a career-best 27.1 points with the Clippers in his first season with the L.A. franchise following a single year with the Toronto Raptors, resulting in a championship ring. Leonard will have to continue to pick up the scoring load in Friday against the Heat without his co-star in Paul George.

Pierce and Rivers won the 2008 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Boston franchise’s first title since the Larry Bird era in the 1980’s.

The Clippers are hoping Leonard’s scoring—along with practically every other part of his superb game—can lead the club to their first title in history.