James Harden’s Honest Kawhi Leonard Statement After Clippers-Mavericks

The LA Clippers are officially eliminated from the 2024 NBA Playoffs
Nov 24, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) and guard James
Nov 24, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) and guard James / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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The LA Clippers are officially eliminated from the 2024 NBA Playoffs, an outcome that felt inevitable once star forward Kawhi Leonard was sidelined indefinitely with right knee inflammation.

Heroics from James Harden and Paul George in Game 4 of LA’s opening round series vs. the Dallas Mavericks tied things at 2-2 entering Game 5 in Los Angeles, but neither star came close to replicating their Game 4 production in the final two games of the series. 

Leonard’s absence was felt more than even in games five and six, as Harden and George combined to shoot 17/59 in the two losses. Speaking with reporters after Game 6, Harden was honest when assessing the potential of this team, and added a statement about Leonard’s efforts to be out there in this series.

“With our roster we have enough to compete and be the last team standing, but health is a huge part of it,” Harden said. “The best ability is availability... For somebody like [Kawhi], he wants to be out there. He did everything in his power to be out there… It’s definitely frustrating for an entire group that had a pretty good regular season and had high hopes coming into the postseason.”

This is the fourth-straight postseason that Leonard has been sidelined due to injury when the Clippers were eliminated. 

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Farbod Esnaashari

FARBOD ESNAASHARI

12-year NBA veteran that's covered the league on Sports Illustrated, Forbes, Bleacher Report, and ESPN.