Tonight the Los Angeles Clippers are on the road and play against the Milwaukee Bucks for a rematch. The last time these two teams played against each other the Clippers barely lost, 129-124. Last game, the Clippers didn’t have their dynamic duo as Paul George was still recovering from shoulder surgery and Kawhi Leonard was sidelined at the time for load management. Leonard being on the bench caused a lot of controversy as fans were excited to see reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo play against Leonard who is the reigning Finals MVP. The game was also nationally televised and according to NBA rules, players are not allowed to use load management during these games. With that being said, fans were extremely disappointed in the team’s decision to not play Leonard.
Ahead of tonight’s big game, the Clippers released their injury report which only lists Rodney McGruder and Landry Shamet as OUT. JaMychal Green is also listed as ‘questionable,’ according to Tomer Azarly of ClutchPoints. Neither George or Leonard are listed on the report, so they should be good to go. This will be the first time that Leonard and Antetokounmpo will face each other since last season during the Eastern Conference Finals when Leonard was still with the Toronto Raptors.
Kawhi Leonard X Giannis Antetokounmpo
Last season, Leonard and Antetokounmpo met during the Eastern Conference Finals, as Leonard was playing for the Toronto Raptors at the time. The Raptors beat the Bucks the last four consecutive games earning themselves an Eastern Conference Title. Kawhi went on to lead the Raptors to their first NBA Championship. Leonard was crowned Finals MVP, while Antetokounmpo was recognized as NBA’s Most Valuable Player. Both players put up a competitive fight during the finals, as Leonard averaged 29.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists while Antetokounmpo averaged 22.7 points, 13.5 boards and 5.5 assists. Ahead of tonight’s game Kawhi commented on Giannis’ skill set, per the L.A. Times.
“He’s aggressive, plays the game extremely hard, very skilled. He’s a 7-foot guy who can handle the ball, dribble by defenders into the paint, make a great move in the post,” Leonard said. “And he’s hitting the outside shot a little bit more this year. He can pass the ball. All that added together is really tough.”
Leonard also talked about guarding the reigning MVP and said, “it’s not about the guy who’s guarding him,” Leonard maintained before the Clippers held a rare practice Thursday. “It’s not a one-on-one league. … We just have to focus to try and make it harder for him to score the ball.”
So far this season both Leonard and Antetokounmpo are putting up incredible numbers. Leonard is currently averaging 25 points, 7.9 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game while Antetokounmpo is averaging an impressive 31 points, 13.2 rebounds and 5.5 assists. The Klaw is shooting 43.9% from the field and 31.3% from beyond the arc. The Greek Freak is shooting 56.5% from the field and 31.8% from the three.
If the Bucks beat the Clippers tonight, they will have won 14 consecutive games, the longest winning-streak in the NBA so far. Tip off is at 5:30 p.m.