Kawhi Leonard to play vs. Rockets, presumably out vs. Pelicans
The L.A. Clippers will be taking on James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night. While the status of six-time All-Star Paul George remains in question, three-time All-Star Kawhi Leonard will be active against the Rockets.
The game is the first half of a back-to-back for the Clippers, who take on the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday night. With Leonard not playing in back-to-backs to start the season, he’ll presumably sit out against the Pelicans. ESPN’s Chris Haynes reported earlier in the week that George was planning to return against the Pelicans.
As ClutchPoints reported last week ahead of George’s first five-on-five practice, the Clippers had been eyeing this back-to-back set as a return for George. The plan was for the Clippers to stagger both George and Leonard as they work their way back from offseason injuries. Whichever game on this back-to-back George was deemed ready to return for would be the game Leonard would sit out.
To be clear, Leonard hasn’t officially been ruled out of Thursday’s game, but in response to the NBA’s $50,000 fine last week, Leonard said, ‘it’s not what the doctors are prescribing right now,’ in regards to playing in back-to-backs.
Leonard and the Clippers will have to take on a Rockets team without Eric Gordon and Gerald Green, while Danuel House is doubtful to play. The Rockets have been one of the league’s worst defensive teams, allowing 118.4 points per game on 46.2 percent shooting.
Through eight games played for Leonard (out of a possible 10), the two-time NBA Finals MVP has averaged 26.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 2.3 steals, 1.0 block and 1.4 three-pointers per game on 44.4 percent shooting from the field and a career-low 27.5 percent from beyond the arc.