Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard addresses LA having a target on their back every night
Following the Clippers’ first two games of the season — convincing wins over Western Conference rivals the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors — it’s become very clear that the Clippers are the new alpha of the NBA.
Needless to say, this is unfamiliar territory for every player on the Clippers with the exception of Leonard. Despite all of the pressure of having a target on their backs every night, the reigning Finals MVP is diffusing all of the hype surrounding the Clippers.
Kawhi on the Clippers playing w/ a target on their backs: "It doesn't matter about being a favorite. It's just preseason. Not all favorites win a championship. It's about what we want to do each night we come in here. It's not about being a favorite. That's outside noise."
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) October 27, 2019
As cheesy as the quote may sound, it is true — the Clippers have played just three games. And while they looked absolutely dominant in their first two games, there’s still 79 games left in the season. Heck, we know that a lot of the contenders now won’t look the same by the time the post-trade deadline period rolls around in February.
In fact, the Clippers just stumbled for the first time this season in their 130-122 loss to the lowly Phoenix Suns on Saturday night. While Leonard looked like his usual MVP self with his stat line of 27 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists, the four other starters in the lineup were abysmal — they combined for just 29 points, with Patrick Beverley being the only starter to score in double digits.
Leonard knows how to handle pressure as well as anyone — he has led two different franchises to a title all before the age of 28. If there’s anyone that can become the first player in NBA history to truly lead three different franchises to a title, it’s Leonard.
However, Leonard also knows that the Clippers face a long road ahead.