In Game 4 of the Los Angeles Clippers’ matchup against the Utah Jazz in the second round of the 2021 postseason, the Clippers appear to have seized momentum in the series. With only five and a half minutes left, the Clippers were leading the Jazz by 17, 105-88. They looked like they were in complete control en route to tying the series at two apiece. However, the play that ensued between Kawhi Leonard and joe ingles changed the course of the Clippers’ entire 2021 playoff run.
After securing the defensive rebound, Leonard took the ball the length of the court in semi-transition, forcing Ingles to picked him up defensively. However just as Leonard was about to blow by the former Jazz forward, Ingles bumped him from the side, causing Leonard to tweak his right leg awkwardly just as he was about to plant both his feet for a shot attempt.
To cut the long story short, Kawhi Leonard proceeded to miss the Clippers’ final eight playoff games in 2021, as well as the entire 2021-22 season after he suffered a torn right ACL. As a result, Clippers fans directed their ire towards Joe Ingles for making such an unnecessarily physical play that they blame for causing Leonard’s injury.
Nevertheless, there doesn’t seem to be any bad blood between the two. Following the Milwaukee Bucks’ resounding 106-105 comeback victory over the Clippers, Leonard revealed that he and Ingles didn’t even talk to each other during their first matchup since that fateful Game 4 clash.
“We didn’t talk. Just competing on the floor,” Leonard said, per Law Murray of The Athletic.
Meanwhile, Joe Ingles wanted to clarify that he definitely did not intend to hurt Kawhi Leonard.
“I mean, I don’t have a perspective. It was — I mean, obviously no one in the NBA is trying to hurt anybody. I’m sure during his career, he’s been hit a lot harder than — like we barely bumped. When it happened. I don’t have any comment,” Ingles responded.
Even the Clippers didn’t think that the injury Leonard suffered at the moment was serious enough. Leonard proceeded to play almost the entire next minute of game time following his bump with Ingles, drawing two trips to the charity stripe before exiting the game for good.
Still, knowing how difficult it is to capitalize on an open window of title contention, it will be difficult to see Clippers fans forgive Ingles anytime soon.