Clippers star Kawhi Leonard has been ruled out for Saturday’s Game 4 against the Suns and NBA Insiders Stephen A. Smith and Kendrick Perkins are tired of his and Paul George’s inconsistencies.
When Smith found out Kawhi Leonard wouldn’t be playing in Game 4 due to a knee sprain, he didn’t hold back: I stand alone probably on this but I don’t care: I think the man should retire. I’m sick of these injuries to Kawhi… It’s a damn shame.”
“Him and Paul George have played a grand total of about 22 of their games together.”
Leonard was also ruled out for Game 3 with the same knee injury but before that, was averaging a 2023 playoff-high 34.5 points over the first two games.
Although it is the same knee as the ACL injury that kept Leonard sidelined for the whole 2021-22 season, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski says this current injury is unrelated.
This is the third time in Kawhi’s career that an injury has caused him to miss postseason games.
Earlier in the day, before Leonard had been ruled out for Game 4, Smith also had this to say:
“In 2019, Kawhi Leonard played all 24 postseason games for the Toronto Raptors,” Smith explained. “Since that time, Kawhi Leonard has played 26 total playoff games for the Clippers…Kawhi Leonard should be on the list of one of the worst superstars this game has ever seen.
“Because anybody that watches basketball knows I’m obviously not talking about the skills. We know the brother is big time. We know that as a talent he’s a superstar – one who shows up when he plays – im talking about it in terms of his performance. He performs in the postseason arguably better than he performs in the regular season. He is that dude. But when you talk about a superstar that is unreliable I want somebody to point out somebody more flagrant than him.”
Of course, Leonard as an 11-season veteran is going to experience injuries, same as his teammate and 13-season veteran Paul George but unfortunately due to the amount of time they’ve spent on the sidelines, they have never won a championship together.
“If I’m Steve Ballmer and I’m Lois Frank, I’m giving Kawhi Loenard and Paul George one more year,” Perkins said. One more year before I decide to break this up. It’s starting to get ridiculous and look, I’m not downplaying anybody’s injury or saying that someone is faking an injury but they’re going into their fourth season together and has accomplished nothing. Zero. And it’s unfair to Ty Lue.”
George suffered a knee injury late in the regular season and unless the Clippers can defeat the Suns in the first round, he will not be back until next season.
Without two of their key stars, it puts a lot of pressure on Russell Westbrook to perform and beat a stacked Suns side on Saturday, April 22 at 3:30PM ET.