The LA Clippers will again be without Kawhi Leonard when they take on the Phoenix Suns in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, and head coach Tyronn Lue also said he was “uncertain” if Marcus Morris would be able to play as the veteran forward deals with what has only been described as soreness in his left knee.
Leonard has missed the Clippers’ last three playoff games with an ACL injury as the team continues to evaluate him. He has remained in Los Angeles to rehab during the conference finals, though Lue said he’s been keeping up with the team’s game planning in the interim.
The Clippers are 2-1 without him, but especially felt Leonard’s absence in their Game 1 loss to the Suns. Without him in Game 2 on Tuesday, the Clippers will again miss both his scoring presence and lockdown defense as they continue to try and find an answer for Devin Booker, who dropped 40 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists in Game 1.
Morris being out would cost the Clippers a second starter and another reliable defender who is critical to the team’s switching scheme. He sustained the injury in Game 1, when the knee soreness forced Morris to sit at the start of the third quarter, and he was clearly lacking mobility when he did return. He has played in every playoff game to this point, and his physicality is hard to match elsewhere on the roster.
Expect Terance Mann to continue to start in Leonard’s place, and if Morris can’t go, Lue may have to activate Patrick Patterson.
The Clippers will continue their first Western Conference Finals in franchise history on Tuesday, when Game 2 tips off at 6 p.m. PT.