Clippers takeaways: Team’s skid reaches 5 at halfway level

From left, the Clippers’ John Wall, Kawhi Leonard and Nicolas Batum watch from the bench because the staff loses at Denver on Thursday night time.

(David Zalubowski / Related Press)

The Clippers’ season-worst, 122-91 loss Thursday night time in Denver set the stage: Would Leonard play on consecutive nights for the primary time this season?

That it was even a query stemmed from Lue’s resolution to bench his starters at halftime Thursday with the Clippers trailing by 34 factors, partly to protect their relaxation forward of the following day’s recreation in Minnesota. Leonard didn’t agree with the decision, saying Thursday night time that it was a time “when we need to be in there and dig ourselves out of those holes and learn what we’re doing instead of flipping the page and going to the next game.”

Leonard’s season-low 18 minutes and George’s season-low 13 in Denver left open the opportunity of each taking part in the following day in Minneapolis, because the staff listed them as questionable. However each have been held out, with George sidelined to guard a hamstring he tweaked Monday.

Lue and Leonard mentioned Thursday that they hope in some unspecified time in the future this season Leonard shall be cleared to play each ends of back-to-back video games, however that figures to be a rigorously scripted second the staff can plan for days upfront or longer. The sudden blowout and benching Thursday made it a extra sudden risk, but it surely seemingly was too in need of discover for a staff that’s particularly cautious with well being. Wall additionally has but to play each nights of a back-to-back.

Enjoying on consecutive nights is vital to Leonard, as it will set a benchmark in his sturdiness this season after he missed final season due to an anterior cruciate ligament tear in his proper knee.

“Trying to establish games with me hitting those high 30-minute marks,” mentioned Leonard, who had averaged 36.9 minutes within the six video games previous the Denver rout. “Just going to keep building and see where it goes.”

And the place the Clippers’ season goes from here’s a query that ranks among the many most fascinating within the NBA.