Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers are 2-0 against LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers so far this season, and it certainly seems as though the two Staples Center tenants are destined to clash in a high stakes playoff series.
During today’s episode of First Take on ESPN, Stephen A. Smith discussed how some teams feel they can get physical with the Lakers, and he explained how Kawhi, specifically, thinks LeBron is scared of guarding him. Says Stephen A., “I was told by a very reliable source that Kawhi Leonard sat up there and said, ‘somebody tell LeBron, stop being scared to guard me.’ That’s what they said that Kawhi is walking around feeling.”
In 28 games with the Clips this season, Leonard is averaging 25.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.8 steals per game. The Clippers are currently sitting in fourth place in the Western Conference with a record of 26-12, 4.5 games back of the Conference-leading Lakers.
While the Clippers are content with letting Kawhi miss regular season games for “load management,” LeBron has made it clear that he is firmly against the NBA’s trend of letting superstar players rest. Clippers head coach Doc Rivers recently addressed the debate, saying he thinks the Clippers’ way of operating is the“smart thing to do.”
“It’s our philosophy,” Rivers said when asked about James’ comments. “I don’t know what theirs are. I think theirs is whatever LeBron says it is, to be honest. That makes a lot of sense to me. I like what we are doing, and I think it’s the smart thing to do. Who knows? We’ll see at the end.”
The Lakers and Clippers will meet next on January 28.