The NBA has fined Los Angeles Clippers coach Tyronn Lue $35,000 following his comments over the officials in Wednesday's win over the Golden State Warriors.

Lue was shown on video claiming the officials were "cheating" in a game the Clippers won 130-125.

The Clippers coach was ejected during the fourth quarter, though LA still came back to win.

Lue was then videoed shouting to his players and staff: "Where the refs at now? Cheating. That's all they be doing."

On Friday, the NBA fined Lue for "public criticism of the officiating and for questioning the integrity of game officials."

 

Tyronn Lue believes the Los Angeles Clippers are "trending in the right direction".

The Clippers overcame the Sacramento Kings 119-99 on Tuesday to make it five straight wins.

Lue's team have now won 10 of their last 13 games, since a six-game losing streak following James Harden's arrival in a big trade from the Philadelphia 76ers.

And Lue feels his team are starting to show just how much quality they have.

"The biggest thing for me is [the players are] just staying with it," Lue said.

"I think early on it was tough for us just trying to figure out how we wanted to play, trying to figure out rotations and all the different things and how James, Paul George, Kawhi [Leonard] and Russell [Westbrook] all play together.

"We still got a long way to go, but we're trending in the right direction. We're doing a lot of good things and we still just got to stay with it and continue to put in the work.

"It's just chemistry, playing together, getting clarity, knowing what to expect coming into games. I think that's what the biggest thing is.

"I know we had a rough start, but we’re just staying the course. I give our players credit just for every single day coming in, every shoot around, every practice, working to get better and trying to understand and find out how they can make each other better."

The Clippers did lose George to groin soreness, though they have Leonard in excellent form, as he took his points total over the last three games to 106.

"It's just chemistry, playing together, getting clarity, knowing what to expect coming into games," said Leonard.

"I think that's what the biggest thing is."

James Harden says he is feeling "close to myself" after hitting a clutch three to help the Los Angeles Clippers to victory on Friday.

His best game yet as a Clipper saw him record 24 points, nine rebounds and seven assists as his new team took a 106-100 win over the Houston Rockets, who Harden played for between 2012 and 2021.

Harden had previously struggled to make an impact in Los Angeles, losing all five games he had played for the Clippers before Friday's win, in which the 34-year-old made eight of his 11 shots, including the vital three at the end.

Harden believes he is getting back to his former self, saying: "I'm getting real close.

"I'm getting close to myself. Every game I feel like I'm improving."

Russell Westbrook played just 17 minutes in the victory, his fewest since joining the Clippers prior to the All-Star break last season, with head coach Tyronn Lue revealing after the game that Westbrook had requested to come off the bench as the sixth man to help the team end their losing run.

"He wanted to do that, which [is] an ultimate sacrifice for a guy of his caliber," Lue told reporters. "For things he's done in this league, the things he's done for this team.

"So shout out to Russ for wanting to do that. It's a huge part of what we've talked about, just sacrificing wanting to win at a high level."

Paul George also appreciated Westbrook's sacrifice, explaining: "It's tough with his energy and obviously there's a ton of chemistry there.

"We've always played well off one another, but it just takes a lot for his sacrifice and what he did for us going forward to try new things out. [I] can't say enough on the character of Russ and his leadership."

Russell Westbrook believes the Los Angeles Clippers were missing "the best in the world" as Kawhi Leonard sat out a Game 3 defeat to the Phoenix Suns.

Devin Booker scored 45 points as the Suns beat the Clippers 129-124 on Thursday to take a 2-1 lead, and only the Phoenix star is scoring more points so far in the postseason (36.3 per game) than Leonard (34.5).

But Leonard was not on the floor, watching instead from the sideline due to a knee injury.

The setback was only reported hours before the game in Los Angeles, although it was quickly clarified it was not related to the ACL injury that saw him miss the whole of last season.

Leonard could be back for Game 4, but his absence was a blow – especially as the Clippers came so close to beating the Suns even without him.

"I just feel sorry for him," team-mate Westbrook said. "He probably was playing his best basketball in a while, probably the best in the world, honestly. It just sucks just for him mentally.

"But it was good to see him be around and communicate with us on the bench. Hopefully we can see how he's feeling and see what's next.

"If he's not back, we have to rally around each other, support each other, find ways to make something happen. It's a series. First to four. Get ready for Saturday afternoon."

Coach Ty Lue added of the injury: "It's very deflating. I think more so for Kawhi.

"You have a guy who's coming off ACL, hasn't missed a rehab session, eats right, eats clean, does everything he can for his body, works extremely hard to get to this point. Then you have something like this happen.

"So, it's tough for him, for all the work that he puts in. I feel bad for him."

The Los Angeles Clippers' hopes of a deep playoffs run may have suffered a major blow after Paul George exited their 101-100 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder with a leg injury.

George fell to the floor after his right knee collided with Luguentz Dort's knee in the air while attempting a rebound.

The eight-time All-Star got up with help and exited the game with 4:38 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue said during his post-game press conference that George was still being evaluated and that he had not spoken to him.

ESPN reported George was spotted exiting the arena in the back of a cart with his right leg extended.

George scored 18 points with seven rebounds, five assists and three steals before exiting, with the loss seeing the Clippers fall to a 38-35 record in fifth in the West.

The 32-year-old is averaging 23.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game this season.

Team-mate Kawhi Leonard said the Clippers would take on a "next man up" mentality if George was unavailable for a significant period.

"Next man up, but we'll see," Leonard told reporters. "We've got a group of guys that still want to win and like to play basketball. We'll see happens."

Norman Powell's late rally came as no surprise to Los Angeles Clippers head coach Ty Lue, after he helped seal a 118-112 wn over the Portland Trail Blazers.

The shooting guard was traded from the Oregon outfit down the West Coast in February, just months after signing a mammoth new five-year deal to stay with them.

Facing off against his former side, Powell posted a 32-point performance off the bench, with 22 coming in the final quarter alone, to take the team to 13-9 for the season.

Lue acknowledged the 29-year-old was likely to be fired up by the chance to impress against the Trail Blazers, and was more than happy to reap the rewards.

"When you get traded from somewhere, you want to play well against them," Lue stated after Powell connected on four of his five three-point attempts.

"I thought he was a little too excited in the first half - we are always going to stay with our guys and he had 24 points in the second half, really attacking the basket.

"He was getting to the paint and getting to the free-throw line.

"He's been playing great for about the last three to four weeks."

Powell, a former NBA champion during his time with the Toronto Raptors, is looking to help the Clippers bounce back after the team missed the playoffs by coming up short in the play-in tournament last term. 

The Clippers are fifth in the Western Conference, two places above Portland, who dropped to 11-10.

Kawhi Leonard had a limited statistical impact in his latest return from a knee injury, but Los Angeles Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue was delighted with his movement and defensive output.

Leonard returned after 12 games out with stiffness in his surgically-repaired right knee as the Clippers beat the Detroit Pistons 96-91 on Thursday, scoring six points on two-of-eight field shooting with five rebounds and four assists.

The two-time NBA Finals MVP missed all of last season after rupturing his ACL in the 2021 playoffs, when the Clippers reached the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history.

Leonard started and played 25 minutes against the Pistons, having only managed 21 minutes in both of his two games off the bench earlier this season before his 12-game absence.

"He looked pretty good as far as his movement," Lue told reporters, with the win improving the Clippers to 9-7. "His impact defensively is huge for us.

"With him on the floor, we're a different team. It gives us a sense of calmness when he has the ball in his hand."

Leonard's availability going forward will be determined day to day by how he is feeling, but the small forward was content to be back for now.

"It was good to be back," he said. "I felt good.

"It's going to be a long journey. ACL recovery isn't just one year. It's a two-year process."

Reggie Jackson, who top scored for the Clippers with 23 points, said Leonard's presence was a major boost for the side.

"It is going to take a second to figure it out," Jackson told ESPN. "We know his spots, we know the shots he wants to get. He got great looks tonight. The only thing he didn’t have tonight was rhythm.

"His ability to get to his spots, his ability to be great, he did amazing, he drew a lot of defense for us and made it easier for us to get some easy shots.

"He didn’t have it necessarily going the way that we're all accustomed to, but he was still very special for us tonight. Happy to have him back. Hopefully we can keep everybody healthy and get this rolling."

It must not be a great time to be a Los Angeles Lakers fan right now.

Granted, pre-season optimism hits followers of any NBA team, and the glass-half-full theory around the Lakers was that Darvin Ham would be able to get a tune out of a team of superstars that has flattered to deceive since 2020.

So far, that has not happened, and despite still being early in the campaign, things are already threatening to get away from them.

Monday's 139-116 defeat at the Utah Jazz took the Lakers to 2-8 from their first 10 outings, and they are about to face a Clippers side that is hitting form.

Having started their season with a 103-97 win against the Lakers before another victory in Sacramento, Tyronn Lue's team then lost four in a row as people started to question if they were going to go the same way as their neighbours.

However, back-to-back wins against the Houston Rockets followed by successes against the Spurs and the Cavaliers either side of a loss to the Jazz have the Clippers at 6-5 and in seventh place in the Western Conference.

The Lakers are just one place off bottom in the West, having lost their first five games before a brief hint of a turnaround with wins against the Nuggets and the Pelicans was extinguished by three more defeats.

LeBron James did not feature against the Jazz on Monday due to a sore foot, but reports suggest that was the result of playing the night before, so Ham may be able to call on his experience on Wednesday.

While the debates still rage about the use of Russell Westbrook, he scored 22 points in Utah with a team-leading five assists as well as three rebounds, while Anthony Davis' 29 points will likely need to be repeated if they are to have a chance against their local rivals.

Paul George will have something to say about that after his 26 points in the win against the Cavs, on a night in which the Clippers shared the wealth, with six different players reaching double figures for points.

PIVOTAL PERFORMERS

Los Angeles Clippers – Paul George

It was not only against Cleveland that George has thrived this season, boasting an average over his first 10 outings at 25.3 points per game, with Marcus Morris Sr claiming the next highest average with 15.0.

George only scored 15 against the Lakers last month, but he has pushed on to become the league's 14th highest scoring player per game so far in a team that has struggled for high scores.

Los Angeles Lakers – Anthony Davis

Should he play, it'll probably be James again, who in spite of questions about his age is still averaging 24.3 points per game; but with uncertainty about whether he will feature, as mentioned, Davis will need to perform well either way.

The 29-year-old is currently matching his points per game from last season (23.2), with his rebound numbers slightly up so far (10.3 from 9.9).

KEY BATTLES – Clippers must find points from somewhere

The Clippers may have recovered in recent games, but they are still struggling to score points, with their average of 103.8 the lowest in the NBA by more than three (the Wizards have the next lowest with 107.0).

With Kawhi Leonard still sidelined, the onus will fall on George, but others will need to step up and help him put numbers on the board.

The saving grace is that they come up against a Lakers team averaging 116.3 points conceded this season, with just six teams in the league allowing more against per game.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Recent contests have been dominated by the Clippers, with their opening-game victory last month their eighth in a row against the Lakers, who have not beaten their rivals since July 30, 2020 during their bubble season success.

Los Angeles Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue says there is no timeframe for Kawhi Leonard's return to play as he continues to struggle with stiffness in his surgically repaired right knee.

Leonard has only played twice this season and not since October 24, having missed all of last season after rupturing his ACL during the 2021 playoffs.

The two-time NBA Finals MVP missed a seventh straight game on Sunday when the Clippers took on the Utah Jazz, with Lue offering an update prior to tip-off amid ongoing uncertainty about Leonard's return.

"There's really not a timeframe of when he is going to be back," Lue told reporters.

"The biggest thing is just the testing that he has to go through with the medical and the slow progression of just getting better every single day. So we're just taking it day by day right now, not really a timetable."

Lue insisted that five-time All-Star Leonard was making progress, having been managed with 21 minutes off the bench in each of his two games early in the season.

"He is progressing well," Lue said. "We knew coming off an ACL, it wasn't going to be a straight line. We talked about it before the season.

"The biggest thing is he's progressing well. We are going to follow the lead of our medical staff, we got to be smart about the situation, but he is progressing.

"He is in a good place, he is progressing and he is getting better so that is the most important thing."

Los Angeles Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue says Kawhi Leonard is "frustrated" with his ongoing knee issues following confirmation he will miss their next two road games.

Leonard has only played in two of the Clippers' seven games this NBA season upon returning from an ACL injury from the 2021 playoffs that saw him miss the entire 2021-22 campaign.

The two-time NBA Finals MVP has been struggling with stiffness in his surgically-repaired right knee and has missed his side's last four games.

Leonard will miss another two, having been ruled out of road games against the Houston Rockets (Wednesday) and the San Antonio Spurs (Friday) and his status is uncertain for Sunday's game against the Utah Jazz.

"He's frustrated," Lue said. "He wants to be out on the floor. To then not be on the floor, then now he can't travel, he wants to travel but obviously, that's not the right thing to do right now.

"The stiffness and what he's going through, just frustrated putting in all the work the last 15 months, and to get to this point, and not being where he wants to be right now physically.

"He's getting better, and that's the most important thing."

In Leonard's two games this season, he played both off the bench, putting in 21 minutes on both occasions, averaging 12.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists.  The Clippers are 3-4 this season.

Kawhi Leonard is experiencing stiffness in his surgically repaired right knee and has subsequently been ruled out of the Los Angeles Clippers' next two games.

The two-time NBA Finals MVP missed all of last season after tearing his ACL during the 2021 playoffs and has played 21 minutes off the bench in two of the Clippers' three opening games this season.

Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue revealed ahead of Tuesday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder that Leonard had not suffered a setback but would sit out of their next two games, including Thursday's second game at OKC.

"After shootaround, [he] experienced some stiffness in his knee," Lue told reporters. "We want to be cautious, make sure we're doing the right thing by him, even though he wanted to play.

"We just thought it wasn't smart. He can be mad at us if he wants to but just not smart right now."

The Clippers are opting for a cautious approach with Leonard, who will fly back to Los Angeles on Wednesday to undergo treatment, with the team to monitor him before making a call on his availability for Sunday's game against the New Orleans Pelicans.

"That [soreness] is part of the process when you have ACL surgery," Lue said. "It's known to happen to get a little stiffness so we just got to be smart about it."

The 31-year-old has averaged 12.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 2.0 assists in his two games this season, shooting at 44.4 per cent from the field.

Kawhi Leonard said he feels good physically after making his return from injury in the Los Angeles Clippers' victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Having missed the entirety of last season with an ACL injury suffered in the 2021 playoffs, Leonard came off the bench to play 21 minutes, scoring 14 points with seven rebounds in the Clippers' 103-97 triumph.

Leonard's return after a 16-month layoff provides a significant boost for the Clippers this season and the two-time NBA champion praised the atmosphere across the roster that helped to push him through his recovery.

"I feel good. We did an amazing job, the Clippers staff, putting together a team to get me out here quickly," he said on court after the game, "I just give it all to them, they match my motivation of getting back so that is all that you can ask for from them as a group."

Leonard added that the start off the bench was the best option, stating: "Like I told [coach Tyronn] Lue, whatever way with his subs and what he thinks how it should go without me affecting the game and causing people to get out of rhythm, I'm for it. I just want to win.

"Starting I would have been sitting like 35 minutes real time, so that's way too long, so I just felt that this was the best situation."

The Clippers boast an impressive amount of depth this year, with Leonard, Norman Powell, Luke Kennard, Robert Covington and Terence Mann all providing options at small forward, which Leonard says helps to balance responsibility across the team.

"It's amazing, we've seen it tonight, everyone is out there contributing on defense and on offense, as a leader, we've got to know who is on our team and that we don't have to do it every night," he added.

"We just have to show up in the big moments in the fourth quarter. We're just trying to all be stars in our roles and I think that is going to help us moving forward."

The Clippers will continue to be patient with Leonard, however, with the priority being that he is able to play at his best level come the spring, with head coach Tyronn Lue pressing caution.

"There's going to be some times when he looks like Kawhi Leonard and some times where he’s just trying to get a feel and not playing well," he explained.

"He has to understand that as great as he is, it's not going to come overnight. We've got to be patient with him in that regard and he has to be patient with himself as well."

Two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard says his body is feeling good after making his return to NBA action after 476 days out in the Los Angeles Clippers' opening preseason game.

Leonard, who has not played for more than 15 months, was on court for 16 minutes and contributed 11 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals in a 102-97 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday.

The five-time NBA All-Star had been out since undergoing ACL surgery on his right knee in July 2021 after succumbing to the injury in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Utah Jazz.

"The body feels good," Leonard told reporters. "Obviously, I am not going to be playing 35 minutes, 38 minutes to start, so it is going to be a little shaky early, probably. But like I said, it is a journey, it's a process, and that is what I am about."

Leonard drilled a three-pointer only 15 seconds into his return game, which he said was a great experience.

"It was great," Leonard said. "Just being able to put all that hard work that I did throughout the 14, 16 months, just able to put it to test and playing against NBA talent, it was good.

"Just being out there with the guys and talking, I missed it. It was a great experience for me."

Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue was pleased with Leonard's return, with the small forward planning to play their next preseason game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday.

"Offensively, Kawhi, I thought he got a little tired," Lue said.

"But he got some shots he normally makes. But just seeing him out there on the floor just makes a big difference for our team."

The Los Angeles Clippers will play no part in this year's playoffs, but coach Ty Lue still believes they "can be special" next season.

The Clippers finished eighth in the West to enter the Play-In tournament, only to fall short of the postseason with consecutive defeats.

After losing 109-104 to the Minnesota Timberwolves with Paul George in the lineup, the seven-time All-Star was in health and safety protocols for Friday's make-or-break 105-101 defeat at home to the New Orleans Pelicans.

George's absence was a cruel blow for the Clippers, not that playing without him is a new experience.

Injury limited George to 31 games this year – in which he averaged a team-leading 24.3 points – but that was 31 more games than the team got out of two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, who is still recovering from a partial ACL tear in last season's playoff run.

Even Norman Powell, signed in February, suffered a setback and could play only limited minutes in a bench role after returning ahead of the play-in games.

Since the Clippers signed George and Leonard ahead of the 2019-20 season, they have played together in only 104 games across the regular season and playoffs.

The Clippers have a 72-32 (.692) record in those games, versus 83-71 (.539) in the 154 when one of their superstars is missing.

For that reason, Lue can retain some optimism as they hope to have Leonard back for 2022-23.

"We get our main guys back, we can be dangerous," he said after the Pelicans game. "Health is part of it. We've got to stay healthy, continue to work.

"When you get Kawhi back, a top-five player, PG, a perennial All-Star, your team changes tremendously.

"Guys who have taken on bigger roles this year, who have never been in this position before, they can kind of fall back into their original roles.

"We could be very different with those two guys back and healthy. We can be special."

The Pelicans have themselves missed a big name this year, with former first overall pick Zion Williamson joining Leonard in sitting out the entire season to date.

In his stead, C.J. McCollum and, particularly in the play-in tournament, Brandon Ingram have stepped up to lead the Pelicans into a first-round series against title favourites the Phoenix Suns.

Ingram has averaged 18.5 points per game for his career and 22.7 in the regular season this year but 28.5 across play-in wins over the San Antonio Spurs and the Clippers.

His 30 led the team on Friday, prompting high praise from coach Willie Green.

"Brandon Ingram is the truth," Green said. "He just brought it. He had that look in his eye from the time we got on the plane. Shootaround, he's been locked in. He has been waiting for this moment, for this type of moment."

The Los Angeles Clippers are uncertain if injured star pair Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will return this season.

Two-time NBA Finals MVP Leonard has been out since June with a torn right ACL which forced him out of last season's playoffs.

George has missed the Clippers' past 22 games, having been sidelined with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right shooting elbow since December 22.

The Clippers made the 2020-21 Conference Finals but are 27-27 this season, with injuries taking their toll.

Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank conceded he was uncertain whether 30-year-old small forward Leonard would return this season.

"I think the best answer is we don't know," Frank said. "He grinds every single day. He works. His focus is on his rehab.

"No one knows. He doesn't know. But all you can do is, just every day, continue to control what you can control and see how he responds."

Clippers head coach Ty Lue had alarmingly mentioned on Thursday that they "know Kawhi's probably not gonna come back," but he moved to clarify that comment.

"Hope is stronger than fear," Lue said. "So I'm hoping that these two guys can come back. But you never know."

Seven-time All-Star George will undergo an MRI on his elbow on February 24 but Frank said that would dictate his return date.

"You don't treat the MRI, you treat the player," Frank said. "When the MRI comes in, it's not a 'boom' that all of a sudden is a 'Eureka' moment for what we do. I think it's just part of the process.

"I think it's you see how Paul is responding. He's feeling better each and every day. The MRI is another kind of benchmark.

"I think the doctors put it all together and that's how they come to what the next steps are. My expectation is regardless of what the MRI says, it's just part of it. That's not going to be the ultimate decision-maker in what happens."

Page 1 of 3
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.