Almost a month into the regular season, the Los Angeles Clippers are in the 6th place spot in the Western Conference with an 8-5 win/loss record. They are hopeful because their two new All-star players have yet to play together. Paul George was traded to the Clippers for Danilo Gallinari and five 1st round draft picks from the powerhouse Oklahoma City Thunders. Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard also signed with them, from defending champions Toronto Raptors. Both deals happened off-season.
George and Leonard have not yet played on court together. Leonard played 9 games for the Clippers but suffered an injury in their game against the Houston Rockets. He missed the last three games and is currently listed as “day-to-day.” Meanwhile, six-time All-Star George was sidelined due to an off-season shoulder injury. George debuted in their 150-101 win against the Atlanta Hawks Saturday night. He only played for 20 minutes but scored an incredible 37 points for the Clippers.
Leonard, on the other hand, was averaging 26.8 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 6 assists for the Clippers. Los Angeles Clippers fans and the NBA as a whole is excited to see what they can do together.
According to USA Today, Clippers coach Doc Rivers, said that the Clippers have not yet adjusted to the loss of Leonard. But with the dominating win against the Hawks, it would seem that George, while playing only 20 minutes, fit into the Clippers puzzle easily. Leonard played a season-high 41 minutes in the game against the Rockets, which exacerbated his injury. But with George’s debut, it looks like the Clippers can afford to keep him on the injury list until he is fully healed.
The Clippers, as a franchise, can trace their roots to the 1970s as the Buffalo Braves. They moved to San Diego as the Clippers in the late ’70s and then moved again, this time to Los Angeles in 1984. They have yet to win an NBA championship, but enjoyed a growing fan base since entering the playoffs in the late ’90s and more recently during the Blake Griffin era. Overshadowed by the powerhouse Los Angeles Lakers, the Clippers are hoping that once George and Leonard play together, they would be a match for any NBA team.