Kevin Durant Sends Message on Kawhi Leonard After Suns Lose Game 1 to Clippers

Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard

Getty Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard

After the Phoenix Suns lost Game 1 of their first-round series to the Los Angeles Clippers on April 16, Suns superstar Kevin Durant was asked to talk about Clippers star Kawhi Leonard‘s strong performance.

Durant said Leonard is a “tough cover.”

“I mean, he’s a tough cover,” Durant said about Leonard. “He can score from all areas. He was making shots there in the second half. He made some big 3s there in the fourth quarter. Just an all-time player. We gotta continue to be physical and deny his catches and make it as tough as we can on him.”

Leonard was unstoppable in Game 1. The two-time champion and two-time Finals MVP finished with 38 points while shooting 13-of-24 from the field, 3-of-5 from beyond the arc and 9-of-10 from the free-throw line in 42 minutes. The Clippers beat the Suns by a final score of 115-110 to steal home-court advantage in the best-of-seven series.

Game 2 of this series is on April 18. The Clippers will look to take a commanding 2-0 lead, while the Suns will look to even up the series.

Devin Booker Praised Torrey Craig After Game 1

Suns shooting guard Devin Booker praised swingman Torrey Craig after the Game 1 loss. Craig played 27 minutes in Game 1 and put up 22 points and four rebounds while shooting 9-of-12 from the floor and 2-of-4 from 3. Craig led the Suns with a plus-minus of +14.

“Yeah, I mean he did great in it,” Booker said about Craig. “Just playing in that pocket. If teams are gonna play it like that, put fives on him, then he can just do it like that. He played unbelievable tonight on both ends. Yeah, hell of a game by Torrey.”

Booker scored 26 points while shooting 10-of-19 overall. However, the All-Star scorer shot 0-of-3 from 3-point land.

“We understand it is not going to be easy,” Booker said. “It gets harder from here. Thinking back to my first (playoffs), every loss is the worst thing ever and every win you are going to win the rest of them. That’s just how the playoffs go.”

Kevin Durant vs. Kawhi Leonard Will Determine the Series

Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report picked the Suns to defeat the Clippers in six games. The NBA columnist believes Durant vs. Leonard will determine the outcome of this exciting series.

“The meeting of two superstar forwards with a pair of titles and Finals MVPs each will be incredibly entertaining to watch,” Swartz wrote. “It also means one won’t make it out of the first round, with both suffering this early of an exit just three total times in 20 combined playoff trips. Leonard will need to win the individual battle for the Clippers to have a chance here, whereas Durant will face far fewer double teams with Booker and Ayton by his side.”

The Clippers won Game 1 despite playing without All-Star small forward Paul George, who is expected to miss the entire series, league sources told Heavy Sports. George averaged 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists during the regular season. He injured his right knee on March 21 against the Oklahoma City Thunder.