Without Kawhi Leonard, Clippers lose at dwelling to the Magic
The information that Kawhi Leonard wasn’t taking part in Saturday afternoon for the Clippers in opposition to the Orlando Magic due to proper knee damage administration was already a blow with so few video games left within the common season and L.A. jockeying for playoff place within the topsy-turvy Western Convention.
Then after the Clippers misplaced 113-108 to the Magic at Crypto.com Area, coach Tyronn Lue was unable to elucidate why all of it went flawed as a result of he wasn’t feeling properly sufficient to speak to the media.
It was left as much as affiliate head coach Dan Craig to offer the solutions for why the Clippers fell aside within the fourth quarter.
And it was left as much as Paul George and Russell Westbrook to supply their observations on how the Clippers’ four-game profitable streak ended with out Leonard to assist the trigger.
Westbrook, who had 14 factors, 9 assists, 5 rebounds and 6 turnovers, selected to take the blame for the defeat.
Clearly, it wasn’t simply Westbrook’s fault for the Clippers’ demise in a fourth quarter throughout which they surrendered 39 factors because the Magic shot 60%.
“Yeah, I mean, honestly, this one’s on me honestly tonight,” stated Westbrook, who was a minus-13 within the fourth quarter within the plus-minus class. “I could have been better. Started off good. But just in the second half, was terrible. And I got to do a better job of helping the guys out in the second half and the fourth quarter. So, it’s nothing anybody did. But honestly, it’s on me, you know. More focus in closing the game.”
George led the Clippers with 30 factors, 9 within the fourth quarter, when he did all he might to assist his crew strive to stick with the Magic.
With Markelle Fultz scoring 28 factors and Wendell Carter Jr. contributing 27 factors and 12 rebounds, the Magic swept the two-game season collection from the Clippers.
Fultz had 12 factors within the fourth quarter, driving and slashing to the basket in taking pictures 4 for 4 from the sector. Carter had 12 factors within the fourth, dunking and taking pictures 5 for seven from the sector and two for 3 from three-point vary.
“We gave up  in the fourth, held them to under 20  in the third. That’s just a big gap,” George stated. “I thought with them spreading the floor, it gave them a ton of spacing and we didn’t finish rotations in that fourth.”
Maybe the most important play within the fourth occurred after George made a three-pointer to drag the Clippers to inside two factors late within the recreation.
But as they did the whole fourth quarter, the Magic answered, getting a three-pointer from Franz Wagner, who had 20 factors, with 40.7 seconds remaining that put the Clippers down 5 and left them scrambling the remainder of the way in which.
Paul scored once more for the Clippers, however Fultz answered with a layup and made two free throws to finish the sport.
“I thought they made some timely shots,” Craig stated. “We got caught rotating, so there were some middle drives. There were some opportunities where we could have been hunting for some unders, and then they ended up getting in the paint and then again, their pace too.”
The Clippers full a set of back-to-back video games Sunday night time at Portland, and the belief is Leonard will play in opposition to the Path Blazers.
“He’s out tonight,” Lue stated pregame. “That’s all I know.”
There was no phrase on the provision of Lue on Sunday.
When Leonard doesn’t play, George stated, extra falls on him to be the chief.
“I just know I gotta do my job and be more aggressive, and just try to keep us poised,” George stated. “That’s really the adjustments that goes into when Kawhi’s out. Just be a little bit more aggressive.”
The Clippers have 11 regular-season video games left. They’re fifth within the West, 1½ video games behind the Phoenix Suns and one recreation forward of the Dallas Mavericks.
The Clippers have two units of back-to-back video games after Sunday — at Memphis on March 31 and at New Orleans on April 1, and at Portland on April 8 and at Phoenix on April 9 within the season finale.
Clearly, it’s not identified if Leonard will play in any back-to-back video games.
Both method, the Clippers have to regulate in his absence.
“There’s no excuse for tonight,” Westbrook stated. “We just didn’t close the game like we were supposed to, make the right plays like we needed to.”