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Kawhi as good as he’s ever been? Three takeaways from Clippers-Nuggets

Kawhi Leonard scored 33 points on 12-for-19 from the field, but he couldn’t save the Clippers from falling 134-124 to the Denver Nuggets.

Los Angeles Clippers v Denver Nuggets
Kawhi Leonard posts up before no doubt hitting something crazy for the Clippers.
Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Seemingly not content with helping to produce the second highest-scoring game in NBA history, the Los Angeles Clippers went to overtime once again, as they fell 134-124 to the Denver Nuggets.

This time around, the squad will feel that they didn’t do themselves justice in the extended period, just as they started off the game far too slowly and the home team made them pay. Nikola Jokic had 40, Michael Porter Jr. had 29 and Jamal Murray had 21, in a scoring performance that felt like a throwback to their 2020 vintage.

We don’t want to welcome any of those vibes around here though, so let’s get into the takeaways…

The Clippers may have a Morris problem

In a complete juxtaposition to his personal performance in those Bubble times, Marcus Morris Sr. had a truly horrible night in Denver. He wasn’t the reason the team lost, in fact he helped them space the floor in the fourth to ensure they even had a chance, but his impact beyond that has severely dwindled over the course of this season.

As with last night’s familiar-faced opponent Reggie Jackson, Mook has contributed so much to this organization, stepping up to carry the scoring burden when the stars have been sidelined. However, it was the former’s time to move on and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the latter found himself out of the rotation as we edge closer to the postseason, because it’s tough to watch him right now.

Morris is the kind of player who could hit his first shot and have himself a huge scoring night at any moment, but it feels like the Clippers can’t carry his weaknesses in hope for too much longer…

But they’ve got no Kawhi qualms

Speaking of carrying, Kawhi Leonard is hitting a different plane at the moment. That period in the fourth quarter where he and Jokic were trading buckets was one of those truly great spells of basketball that you just have to sit and marvel at. Crazy then that it absolutely isn’t the first time this season that I’ve just sat and marveled at what the Clippers’ leading light has been producing.

It was once again a super-efficient outing for Leonard, who scored 33 points on 12-for-19 from the field, including 3-for-4 from deep. While he was a better defender during his time with both the San Antonio Spurs and the Toronto Raptors, he honestly looks as good offensively as he ever has right now and that should be a warning to every other team in the league.

It’s funny to see how much the narrative has changed from earlier on in his comeback, when high-profile voices were trying to write him off as quickly as they could…

Do they have too much to do though?

On that note, people are still writing off the Clippers. The problem is, it’s mostly Clippers fans. The other problem is that I actually understand where those fans are coming from. Last night was another game where Tyronn Lue tinkered with lineups but more frustratingly stuck with some lineups that just weren’t working, before coming out after and admitting to his mistakes.

That’s to be respected to some extent, but supporters are running out of patience with those bad decisions and the team is running out of runway to show they are capable of a deep postseason run. Perhaps they won’t need to show that kind of form in advance of the playoffs, and Ty can use the biggest stage of them all to pull off the rope-a-dope, but it feels like he’s making his own job harder at times.

I mostly just want him to get it right, if nothing else, to stop these Ime Udoka pleas right in their tracks…