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Suns-Clippers Game 3 Update: Kawhi Leonard OUT with knee sprain

The Clippers star was great in the two Phoenix games, but now will miss their highly-important Game 3

2023 NBA Playoffs - LA Clippers v Phoenix Suns Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Clippers announced today that Kawhi Leonard will miss Game 3 of the first round playoff series tonight against the Phoenix Suns with a right knee sprain.

This is the same knee that had him out from the middle of the 2021 Playoffs through early in the 2022-23 season.

He’d played 41 and 39 minutes in the two games played in this first round series against the Suns, scoring an average of 34.5 points on 54/60/89 shooting splits (FG%, 3P%, FT%) on 30.2% usage rate.

He scored 38 points in the first game, including a pair of three-pointers in the final minutes to secure the win. He then scored 31 in the second game, even playing nine minutes of the fourth quarter as the Clippers were down double digits, until mop-time with a minute left and the Clippers down 13.

According to ESPN, sources tell them he aggravated the knee in Game 1 and played through it in Game 2.

Yet this was a surprise announcement. Leonard was not listed on any injury reports after Game 1, played 39 minutes, and was not listed until the 4:30 PM Eastern report today where he was suddenly listed as OUT. At that point, reporters have been scrambling for details.

The Clippers will now be without both of the All-Stars, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. They had to play without both in their second play-in game last offseason when George came down with COVID. Now they’ll be without both in Game 3, at the least.

Here’s the great John Schumann with a tweet and graph on how the Clips have done with and without those guys.

Game 3 of Suns vs. Clippers is set to tip off in less than six hours, at 7:30 PM AZ time. Game 4 will be played less than two days later, at 12:30 PM AZ time on Saturday.

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