Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard, Paul George on first time playing together
LOS ANGELES – The moment Los Angeles Clippers fans had been waiting for finally came on Wednesday night. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George joined forces on the court for the first since since news of their arrival on July 5. It wasn’t a pretty win by any means, but fans who turned out for the showdown received an absolute show.
The Clippers edged out the Boston Celtics, 107-104 in overtime, led by George’s 25 points, five rebounds, and eight assists. Leonard added 17 points, six rebounds, three assists, three steals, and two blocks as well. Both George (37 minutes) and Leonard (38 minutes) eclipsed their minutes restriction due to the overtime session, but the NBA got their first taste of the Leonard-George duo.
“We won, but we need a lot of work, you can see that,” admitted head coach Doc Rivers. “In transition, I just thought we were so sloppy in transition. Part of it is we were trying to get the ball to guys instead of trying to score. I mean there were times where we had direct line drives and instead, we were looking across court. Listen, I can’t wait to watch it to see it, though.”
If there was one area of concern on Wednesday, it was the 23 turnovers that resulted in 23 points. Leonard and George each had five giveaways on the night, and most of them were mostly unforced.
“It’s pretty much just finding each other’s spots and knowing the plays,” said Kawhi Leonard after the game. “It’s still tough, we’re both kind of on a minutes restriction, so it’s hard to get a flow with one another but just plays. Just knowing the plays, knowing each other’s spots, and then the language on the defensive end. Just repetition. That’s what we need right now.”
George agreed with Leonard, saying the defensive side was certainly there. The next step in the clean-up process is on the offensive end of the floor.
“I thought it was good,” said George. “I thought defensively that came natural, that came easy and then offensively I thought we were great. I thought we are still trying to get in sync with everybody else. Great thing about myself and Kawhi is it doesn’t matter, we going to play basketball. We going to try to make the right plays and play off one another and just keep the game flowing, so in that aspect we were good.”
According to ESPN, the Clippers outscored the Celtics 56-45 in the 27 minutes Leonard and George were both on the floor together. While the duo has a long future ahead of them, tonight was first step in the right direction.