Through the first few weeks together on the floor, All-Star forwards Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have led the L.A. Clippers to a strong start out of the gate to the season. The Clippers have raced out to one of the best records in the league while looking like the title-contending team that many had anticipated they would be. These two have continued to push forward with developing chemistry on and off the court, but there is one thing they have yet to experience together in L.A.
Clippers off to hot start
Following the offseason additions of Leonard and George, a tremendous level of expectations were put forth onto the franchise to compete for an NBA title. The season initially began with a bumpy start, but the Clippers have rounded into form with the more games that they have gotten under their belt.
Things have taken a notable step forward after George made his debut on the floor as he has been a huge key to their sustained success over the last few weeks. In his first 10 games played, George is averaging 23.4 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting 43.2 percent from the floor and 39.2 percent from beyond the arc.
During that span, the Clippers hold an 8-2 mark with George on the floor while he has scored more than 20 points six times. Meanwhile, Leonard has been the steady factor on both ends of the floor, despite dealing with a nagging knee injury as he’s ninth in the league with 25.9 points per contest. He has also picked it up as of late with more than 20 points in four out of his last five games played.
The Clippers’ two stars have the team in a prime position to put forth a special season that could result in a deep playoff run.
One thing Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have yet to do
The Clippers have continued to improve as the season has worn along with their core group getting more comfortable playing together with George and Leonard leading the charge.
Although the team has shown improving cohesion with their play, head coach Doc Rivers revealed that his two star forwards have yet to even participate in a practice together this season, according to Tomer Azarly of ClutchPoints.
“I don’t know how many years I’ve coached, 20 maybe, but I’ve never had it where my best two players going into Game 21 have yet to have a practice together on the floor — not one,” Rivers said, via ClutchPoints’ Tomer Azarly. “They’ve had one practice where they’re opposing [each other in practice], but they have yet to be in the same lineup and have a practice.”
That is quite surprising to hear given how far along in the season that it has been. However, it should be noted that both players hadn’t taken the floor together in a game until the overtime win over the Boston Celtics on Nov. 20. George had made his return to the floor, but Leonard was dealing with a persistent knee issue while he has remained on the schedule of not being able to play in back-to-back sets.
All of that combined with the fact that there are not many practices through the course of the season, it only makes it reasonable sense that they haven’t participated in the same practice squad.
Clippers focused on bigger picture
The Clippers have picked up the pace over the last 10 games, holding an 8-2 mark that has put them just 2.5 games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the best mark in the league.
L.A. has had their bumps along the way, but their promising start certainly bodes well for them to be a serious title contender. The Western Conference is stacked with teams that could be in that same push, such as the Lakers, Nuggets, Houston Rockets, and Dallas Mavericks.
The real cream of the crop will pan out as the season wears along, and the Clippers should be right there among those teams vying for a championship.