A lot was made of Kawhi Leonard being shut down by Luguentz Dort during the final possession of Tuesday night's game between the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Thunder came out victorious, 101-100, as the Clippers didn't even get a shot off on the final possession. Dort got around two and a half screens and forced Leonard into a look so tough, he didn't even shoot before the buzzer:
The Clippers’ final possession was a mess. Didn’t even get a shot off and they lose, 101-100. pic.twitter.com/ubEklhuy7E
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) March 22, 2023
After the game, Leonard admitted the spacing was really bad on the final possession and took the blame for the bad play.
“They did a great job, and it started with Dort, then they shrunk the floor,” Kawhi Leonard said. “It's another explanation of it’s not just [able to] open up the floor for one another, not able to get into actions. But I take ownership of it. Definitely should have got a shot off, but, yeah, we just gotta be better. We had two guys high on a high quadrant, so we have to clear those nails out if they're gonna be shrinking.”
Social media took Luguentz Dort's defense to another level, with those who follow the team closely deeming him the “Dorture Chamber.”
Dort took on the challenge of guarding Kawhi Leonard on Tuesday, holding him to just 21 points on 7-of-16 shooting from the field.
24 seconds of season-saving defense by The Dorture Chamber. Thunder win. https://t.co/OVTMZOsT4x pic.twitter.com/izIPmzOvzo
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) March 22, 2023
Thursday's game against the Clippers was much different different, as Leonard got to his spots all night and was having his way with Luguentz Dort to the tune of 32 points on 12-of-15 shooting. Behind Leonard's big first and third quarters, LA won the game going away, 127-105.
When asked if there was any added motivation headed into the second of the mini-series, Leonard shut down that talk.
“I didn’t hear it,” Leonard explained. ” I don’t read it. Don’t listen to it. Just came in the game and played. Just people talking who don’t play the game.”
Kawhi Leonard on the hype around Lu Dort's defense on him last game:
"I didn’t hear it. I don’t read it. Don’t listen to it. Just came in the game and played. Just people talking who don’t play the game."pic.twitter.com/JLzjy9grvs
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) March 24, 2023
The win gives the Clippers (39-35) some extra breathing room as the race for the playoffs continues to get tighter and tighter.