Clippers’ Paul George Sounds off on Kawhi Leonard’s Load Management

Paul George

Getty Images Paul George #13 of the Los Angeles Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers took a brutal loss to the Chicago Bulls last night, 109-106. They were missing key players with superstar Kawhi Leonard (load management-knee) sidelined along with Lou Williams (sore calf), Patrick Beverley (concussion) and JaMychal Green (tailbone contusion).

The Clippers participated in a game the previous night, less than 24 hours before they were scheduled to play against the Bulls. On Friday night the Clippers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves, 124-117. The team has had six scheduled back-to-backs so far this season and Leonard has yet to participate in both games. Leonard who is infamous for sitting out during games for load management has received a lot of backlash for doing it so heavily this early in the season.

The other half of the Clippers’ dynamic duo, Paul George sat out the first 11 games of the season due to recovery of surgery in both of his shoulders. He did participate in both games of the team’s most recent scheduled back-to-back games. In a post-game interview posted by ESPN, George defended his teammate’s decision to use load management when he was asked if he would be playing against the Bulls.

“Yes, I am healthier. Kawhi is still getting healthy so it’s smart for him to rest and attack that with rest. I’m a little healthier and I need to get some more rhythm, get some more timing down, so I’ll be in tomorrow,” George said.

Clippers’ Back-to-Back Games: Timberwolves & Bulls

Clippers Montrezl Harrell

Getty Images Montrezl Harrell #5 of the L.A. Clippers

The Clippers first game of scheduled back-to-backs this week started off on the road against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Both Leonard and George played but the team was still missing Patrick Beverley (concussion) and Landry Shamet (high left ankle sprain). The team’s dynamic duo dominated on the court, tallying a total of 88 points. Leonard recorded 42 points, 11 rebounds and 2 assists while George had 46 points, five rebounds and seven assists. The two made NBA history as the first duo to each score 35+ points through three-quarters of a game over the last 20 seasons, per Farbod Esnaashari of Forbes. The beginning of the game was all PG and the Klaw as they scored all 23 points in the first quarter until Montrezl Harrell finally scored a bucket. Harrell also had a great game with 18 points and four boards.

The second half of their scheduled back-to-backs proved to be a bit tougher as the team failed to come up on top, taking a loss to the Bulls, 109-106. Without Leonard, Beverley or Williams the team was forced to find different ways to score. The game came to the very last seconds with the score tied 106-106. Zach LaVine scored a go-ahead layup followed by a free throw with two seconds left of play that ultimately edged the Bulls over the Clippers. LaVine closed out the game with 31 points on 11-for-21 shooting. He also recorded two assists and four boards. Trez led the Clippers with 30 points and seven rebounds.

The Clippers have now completed their six-game road trip and will be back at home on Tuesday against the Phoenix Suns. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. PST.