The LA Clippers will not have Kawhi Leonard available for the first two games of the 2021 Western Conference Finals.
After clinching their first trip to the conference finals in franchise history, the LA Clippers will have to adjust to life on the road without their best player in forward Kawhi Leonard.
Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes reports Leonard will not travel with the Clippers for the first two games of the 2021 Western Conference Finals vs. the Phoenix Suns. Leonard will remain in Los Angeles while he continues to rehab his injured knee. Though the Clippers have shown us they can win playoff games without him, not having him available against the Suns could be a massive blow.
Will the Clippers have enough in the tank to be able to overcome Leonard’s major injury concerns?
LA Clippers: Kawhi Leonard will not travel for Western Conference Finals
All things equal, the Clippers have a slightly higher ceiling over the Suns. However, Phoenix has a tad more depth and thus, might be able to get to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1993. The Suns will be more well-rested than the Clippers, but their starting point guard Chris Paul has been in COVID-19 health and safety protocols. If he is held out for the early part of the series, this feels like a push, but missing Leonard for at least the first two games of the series is tough.
Because the Suns have home-court advantage in this best-of-seven series, they should advance past the Clippers to reach the NBA Finals. However, the Clippers have proven to be road warriors this postseason, as they had no issues winning games away from Staples Center vs. the Dallas Mavericks and the Utah Jazz. Unfortunately, they will have to be road warriors without Leonard.
Los Angeles will now have to make the most of their home games in which Leonard could play.