The Clippers have officially ruled Kawhi Leonard and Patrick Beverley out for Thursday night’s game in New Orleans. Leonard will sit out after cracking 40 minutes last night in Houston, while the team says Beverley is dealing with a sore left calf. Paul George, meanwhile, is listed as probable. Landry Shamet is still out after suffering a sprained ankle in the team’s win over the Raptors on Monday night.
It’s obviously not a surprise that Kawhi will miss tonight’s game considering the plan has been for him to sit out one half of the team’s back-to-back sets, at least early in the season. Leonard didn’t play in both halves of a back-to-back all season as a member of the Raptors last year. I’d say that worked out pretty well considering he wound up leading Toronto to its first-ever NBA title.
Beverley fouled out of last night’s loss in Houston after playing 27 minutes. He contributed 6 points, 2 rebounds and an assist while giving his usual stellar defensive effort against James Harden, Russell Westbrook and co.
As of this writing there is no word of a potential minutes restriction on George in what will be his season debut. He missed the first 11 games of the year after undergoing a pair of shoulder procedures during the offseason. The Clippers managed a 7-4 record with PG-13 on the shelf, which I’d say makes for a pretty solid start to the new season.
Doc Rivers may have little choice but to give Lou Williams heavy minutes once again with so many of his preferred ball-handlers out of the lineup. Moe Harkless slid into the starting lineup last night with Shamet out, with Kawhi shifting to shooting guard. Sweet Lou seems like the most logical candidate to take Beverley’s vacated spot in the starting unit, while George will almost surely replace Leonard. Williams cracked 40 minutes last night against the Rockets.