Masked Kawhi made his debut against the Portland Trailblazers, and he got the NBA world talking.
Leonard took a nasty accidental elbow from Serge Ibaka against the Nuggets on Christmas, and it resulted in Leonard needing eight stitches and missing two games. Kawhi said that he wasn't really able to talk during those two games of rest and that it was the deciding factor in having him not play. Now that he's able to talk, masked Kawhi is here. Here's what he looked like.
Leonard joked that his teammates called him Leatherface during the game, and he responded with some jokes of his own.
The mask will probably get some fine-tuning, but Leonard said that it's going to stay until his stitches are removed. The Clippers' next game is on Friday against the Utah Jazz, so there's a good chance the mask will stay until then.
Leonard had a pretty solid performance with it on, despite joking that it was hard to breathe in it. Leonard put up: 28 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals, 1 block on 53/60/87 shooting. Head coach Ty Lue also mentioned that Kawhi looked a bit winded while playing in a mask.
"I thought in the first half, he was a little winded," Ty Lue said. "In the third quarter, he started attacking the paint and playing with force. He really took over that third quarter for us."
Unless his stitches are removed early, there's a good chance Kawhi Leonard is going to have to get used to play in a mask. Masked Kawhi isn't leaving yet.