Last night, Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard played just his ninth game of the season against the Boston Celtics. The team thus far is 7-2 with Leonard in the lineup, and head coach Tyronn Lue has not let the Klaw play over 30 minutes in a game.

Peaking at 29 minutes against Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, Leonard recorded 25 points off 10-12 shooting from the field, with nine rebounds and six assists. It was a stellar performance against the NBA’s best team, and the two-time Finals MVP admitted to wanting to give more playing time since the start of the new campaign.

“Sh-t, I’ve been trying to do it since the beginning of the year,” Leonard said. “It’s just about listening to the guys who study this.”

Leonard refers to the injury that kept him sidelined for all of last season and 20 games this season. The partial tear of his right ACL, suffered against the Utah Jazz in the 2021 playoffs, has limited his form of being titled a top 5 player of the League, at least for now.

“It’s only my ninth game of the season, and that’s after a whole ACL year, just can’t rush it. I wish I could have played more.” Leonard said. “Twenty-eight minutes, 30 minutes is a lot of minutes still,” Leonard said. “Got to just do what I can and win these basketball games.”

The victories may stack just for Leonard’s presence on the floor, but last night was just his first 20-point night. The contribution of Paul George is what has blossomed the duo once more. He’s averaging 20 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and a three-point clip of 42.6 percent when Leonard is out on the floor with him.

George has had an MVP-caliber season thus far with or without Leonard in the lineup, and the seven-time All-Star admits that he sees improvement in Leonard’s game.

“Now he’s adjusted,” George said. “He’s found his rhythm, and you’ll see him more comfortable on the court.

The pair showed a glimpse of what their dynamic scoring can do. While The Clippers look to keep their success, and Leonard’s game continues to evolve each game, even if it’s a limited time. The team can steadily find its confidence as a whole just in time for the second half of the season.

The post Kawhi Leonard Has Been Pushing to Play 30 Minutes ‘Since the Beginning of the Year’ appeared first on SLAM.

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