Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and John Wall watched from baseline seats as the Clippers opened their preseason Friday evening at Climate Pledge Arena. They gained’t keep sidelined for lengthy.
Those Clippers veterans who sat out Friday’s 121-81 win over Israel’s Macabbi Ra’anana for scheduled relaxation — a gaggle that still integrated Norman Powell, Nicolas Batum and Reggie Jackson — are more likely to make their debuts Monday once they play right here towards the Portland Trail Blazers. Coach Tyronn Lue specified that Leonard would play, marking his first sport since injuring his proper knee June 14, 2021.
Also making his go back to the NBA after a protracted absence will probably be Wall, who final performed April 23, 2021. Wall went thru a pregame exercise with assistant Brian Shaw regardless of now not suiting up later.
What Lue says he needs to look throughout the preseason are indicators his team can reside as much as his expectancies of changing into one of the crucial league’s best defenses.
“That’s what we’re going to hang our hat on this year is trying to be a great defensive team,” Lue mentioned.
“Getting Kawhi up to speed is first and most important, but then [George] always sets the tone by guarding the best player, and with those two guys on the floor we should really be a great defensive team,” Lue mentioned.
His reasoning: Without Leonard all of final season, and with George to be had for best 31 video games on account of accidents, the Clippers nonetheless completed with the NBA’s eighth-best defensive score, giving up 109.5 issues consistent with 100 possessions. The spaces of development had been glaring: With rebounding a battle all season, the Clippers noticed warring parties ranking a league-high-tying 15 issues consistent with sport on second-chance alternatives, and likewise ranked in the ground 3rd of the league in fast-break issues allowed.
“Adding those two guys back, we should be really good and we should be elite, and so it shouldn’t be any excuse for that,” Lue mentioned.
Those will probably be spaces Lue can review come Monday with Leonard, George and the others again in the lineup towards the Trail Blazers.
Facing overmatched Maccabi Ra’anana, Lue sought after to look whether or not the team may “play the right way” after simply 3 days of coaching camp in Las Vegas. The Clippers rolled to a victory, main via 21 issues after one quarter and 35 at halftime as one of the crucial veterans who did play, wing Robert Covington, many times took good thing about errant passes for steals that resulted in simple baskets.
This tale firstly gave the impression in Los Angeles Times.