The Los Angeles Clippers were playing like the best team in the NBA just before they got a major blow: Paul George and Kawhi Leonard were set to miss at least a week due to the league's health and safety protocols.
Fortunately for them, their team, and the league, they only wound up missing a couple of games and were cleared to come back sooner than later. Their team went 1-1, dropping the ball vs. the Atlanta Hawk and then beating the Miami Heat.
So, following their most recent game vs. the Orlando Magic, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard spoke up on what was it like to miss some time and the fear of being ill:
“[We’re] super-relieved, we were both healthy, first and foremost. We were playing so well, it was unfortunate that we had to take a hiatus, but safety’s first. We acknowledge that first and foremost," Paul George told the media.
“I mean, it was a bummer because we were on a good roll, and me and PG go out, That’s my mindset around it, just want to play basketball, and wanting to keep building on our chemistry and get better. But you know, we understand what the protocols are and it was a chance for guys to step up and play a bigger role," Leonard started.
“[We were] just trying to stay in shape and watching our games. Communicating with the coaches, seeing what our coverages are, just trying to keep my mind in it. That’s pretty much it," he concluded.
The Clippers look like a much cohesive unit now under coach Tyronn Lue and they showed that 'next-man-up' mentality in the two games they were without their superstars.
Then again, it's not a secret that they'll only go as far as George and Leonard can take them. They're playing with a chip on their shoulder after their underperformances in the playoffs, and it's clear that they want to make a statement every single night out there.