After the Los Angeles Clippers‘ victory over the New Orleans Pelicans, the team is now set for a three-game road trip against the Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, and San Antonio Spurs, two of which are on consecutive nights. The pair of back-to-back games starts tonight against the Dallas Mavericks at 5:30 p.m. PST. The team plays again on Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Clippers have had three sets of games scheduled on consecutive nights this season and their superstar Kawhi Leonard has yet to play in both games due to load management. The Clippers’ other star player Paul George has not been exposed to the back-to-back schedule yet, as he was out for the first 11 games of the season recovering from surgery. Taking George’s recovery into consideration and due to the role he plays on the team, it is likely that he will be on a similar schedule as Leonard.
When the Klaw sits out for load management he sends the whole media into a frenzy. Sports analysts, past and present NBA players like LeBron James, James Harden, Kobe Bryant and more all weigh in on the matter. The Clippers are currently on a five-game winning streak, so it is important that both players take the court this week so the team continues to improve on their record. According to the Clippers Nation, Clippers’ PR revealed that neither PG or Leonard are listed on tonight’s injury report. The only player that remains on the list is Landry Shamat who suffered a high ankle sprain against the Toronto Raptors. With that being said, it is safe to assume that the Clippers’ dynamic duo will play in tonight’s game against the Mavericks.
Kawhi Leonard’s Load Management
Teams choose to rest players during regular-season games when they are far less important so they can play at their peak during the playoffs. Leonard is infamous for load management, as he previously suffered a quad injury during his time with the San Antonio Spurs. Last season, the reigning Finals MVP played a total of 60 regular-season games for the Raptors. Leonard led the Raptors to their first-ever appearance in the NBA Finals and they went on to win the title, which he attributes to load management.
The Los Angeles Clippers took notes and are putting Leonard on a similar schedule this year. Leonard sat out his first game this season on November 30th against the Utah Jazz. He then again sat out during the Clippers game against the Milwaukee Bucks which caused a riff. Fans were expecting to see the reigning NBA Finals MVP go up against the reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, but unfortunately were unable to due to Leonard being sidelined. Just recently Leonard sat out for three consecutive games against the New Orleans Pelicans, Atlanta Hawks and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Fortunately for the Clippers, George was back from recovery to lead the team. The Clippers won two of those three games against the Hawks and Thunder.
Now that the Clippers have their dynamic duo it will be interesting to see how head coach Doc Rivers will rotate them. As of now, they will both be playing in tonight’s first game of their back-to-back schedule against the Dallas Mavericks. Fans will have to see if the Clippers will play them both against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night.