The Clippers haven’t played a single game with both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George — yet somehow they’re still a threat in the West and a team to watch in the second half.
On paper, the Clippers are an average team fighting for a play-in spot, but does an average team routinely erase enormous deficits?
Los Angeles has made a habit of such heroics lately. On Tuesday, the Clips overcame a 35-point deficit in Washington, the second-largest comeback in NBA history.
- They’re the second team to win after being down 7+ points with 20 seconds remaining — teams were previously 1-16,239 in that situation.
- They’re the first team to erase a 24-point deficit and win three times in a season.
- All three have come in the span of two weeks against the Nuggets, Sixers, and Wizards.
Leonard might return from a partially torn ACL if the team can stay afloat, while George (elbow) hasn’t played in over a month and could return in a “few weeks.”
There’s little reason to rush Kawhi and/or George back since they’re five games from falling out of a play-in spot. Plus, both are signed through 2023-24 with a player option for 2024-25 — and will earn a combined $255 million over the next three years.
And comebacks are nothing new for a Kawhi-less Clips squad. Just last season, they reached their first-ever Western Conference Finals after a 25-point comeback against the Utah Jazz.