LOS ANGELES – Kawhi Leonard is back home in Southern California and has led his new team, the Los Angeles Clippers, to a 15-6 record despite a number of players coming in and out of the lineup. On Tuesday night, the Clippers will face the Portland Trail Blazers for the first time since adding Carmelo Anthony to the lineup.
The Blazers have struggled to garner wins early in the season, but have won three in a row since Anthony has found his rhythm alongside Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Following Portland’s 5-12 start to the season, Anthony’s arrival appears to have given the franchise some new life.
Leonard has had his share of battles against Anthony in the past. With the first matchup in almost two years quickly approaching, the two-time NBA Finals MVP spoke about Anthony’s return to the NBA.
“I’m happy for him,” Leonard told ClutchPoints after Sunday’s 150-125 win over the Washington Wizards. “He wanted to get back and play, he was able to get the opportunity, get a chance to go out there and pretty much be himself. I’m just happy for him that he was able to get back in the NBA. It was well-deserved.”
After a brief pause, Leonard had this to say about the unfair treatment Anthony’s received from the league.
“I don’t think he was treated the right way, how they left him out there being a future Hall of Famer. As you can see he can still run it up and down the floor. He’s still got a lot of basketball left, it’s just going to be a fun matchup for us and a competitive game.”
Kawhi Leonard on Carmelo Anthony’s NBA return – “I’m happy for him. He’s able to get an opportunity… It’s well deserved. I don’t think he was treated the right way, how they kind of left him out there being a future Hall-of-Famer. He’s still got a lot of basketball left.” pic.twitter.com/au8YvRXZvs
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) December 2, 2019
Leonard and Anthony have only played against one another eight times, the last matchup coming on Feb. 12, 2017. The head-to-head series is tied at 4-4 right now, meaning the winner of Tuesday night will regain the lead.
Los Angeles and Portland will tip off a national TV matchup on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. PST. The game will be broadcast on TNT.