As the Clippers vs. Suns series progresses, this question continues to hang over the Clippers: Can Kawhi Leonard make a comeback in these NBA playoffs?
Los Angeles trailed 2-1 in the Western Conference Finals, but the Clippers scored an impressive victory in the third game. They took Chris Paul and Devin Booker’s backcourt total field goal percentage of 40 shots to 10 in. Paul George and Reggie Jackson have been attacking without Leonard, and both players performed well in the team’s 106-92 victories.
At the same time, Phoenix was happy to see Paul missed the first two games of the series due to NBA health and safety regulations, but the Suns lost another point guard in the third game. Cameron Payne injured his ankle during the game, causing some uncertainty about his availability.
The following is the latest news from Leonard and Payne before Game 4 on Saturday.
Will Kawhi Leonard play against the Suns?
Leonard was listed as absent in the official 4th injury report. The Clippers forward has never played since he sprained his right knee in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Los Angeles did not provide any other information about Leonard’s recovery schedule. In the “NBA Countdown” on Tuesday, Reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski There is not much optimism within the team that Leonard will return soon, he said, “Now Los Angeles has no confidence in Kawhi Leonard’s return.”
In 11 games in the playoffs, Leonard averaged 30.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.1 steals per game, shooting 57.3% from the field and 39.3% from the three-point field.
Will Cameron Payne play against the Clippers?
Payne is listed as possible for the fourth game. The Suns guard sprained his left ankle while chasing the ball in the first quarter of the third game and was excluded from the rest of the game.
Phoenix coach Monty Williams told reporters on Friday that the Suns “hope” Payne can participate in the fourth game, and pointed out that Payne has completed the team’s shooting training and his usual training without any restrictions.
“He was slightly better today. We didn’t do much, so it’s hard to evaluate,” Williams said (Via Yahoo Sports). “But we think he is getting better. We hope he will be back on the court tomorrow.”
Through 13 playoff games, Payne averaged 11.1 points, 3.7 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game. In two starts against the Clippers, he scored a total of 40 points and 18 assists, with only one turnover.
Clippers vs. Suns Game 4 injury report
(As of 8:30 PM EST on Friday night)
|scissors||Sergi Ibaka||Go out||Retreat; surgery|
|scissors||Kawhi Leonard||Go out||Right knee; sprain|
|Suns||Devin Booker||usable||Nose; injury|
|Suns||Abdul Nader||suspicious||Right knee; rehabilitation|
|Suns||Cameron Payne||may||Left ankle; sprain|