NBA

Kawhi feeling better and wants to 'keep going uphill'

By Sports Desk January 11, 2020

Kawhi Leonard produced two stunning dunks as the Los Angeles Clippers came back to defeat the Golden State Warriors and he thinks his health is on an upward trend.

Load management due to a left knee injury has seen Leonard restricted to 29 appearances this season, with the three-time All-Star yet to play on back-to-back nights.

The Warriors, who sit bottom of the Western Conference and slipped to 9-31 with defeat at Staples Center, took a 10-point lead into the fourth quarter, with the Clippers having committed 17 turnovers through the first three periods.

After the Clippers erased the deficit and moved in front, Leonard – who finished with 36 points, nine rebounds, five assists, three steals and one block – drove around Glenn Robinson and got the better of Omari Spellman for an emphatic finish at the rim.

The two-time NBA champion acknowledged that four days off were beneficial for the Clippers and hopes he will continue to improve.

"I'm feeling better. I'm able to jump without it grabbing me too much and hopefully I just keep going uphill from here," said Leonard.

"[Time off] helped from an energy standpoint, just as far as people's bodies feeling better, us able to practice, getting to know each other on the floor, talk it through, work on execution. It helped."

Coach Doc Rivers said of Leonard: "He's been doing it a lot lately. I think he's in a far better place now than he was after game one, let's put it like that.

"You can see it with him in the practices, it's just going up. You can feel it, you can see it. He has a better thrust now and it's good. It's been really good to see."

Rivers was not overly concerned by the Clippers' display but admitted they will not get away with repeating it in the postseason.

"If we play like that in May or April that would hurt us, then I wouldn't be good about it," he said.

"We can see and our guys can see it so it's something we can look at, keep changing and keep getting better. We're a work in progress, we've just got to keep getting better."

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