Chris Paul to return for Suns, not Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard
While the Phoenix Suns’ Chris Paul is expected to make his series debut in Thursday’s Game 3 of the Western Conference finals, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard will remain unavailable.
The Suns, who won the first two games of the series on their home court, listed Paul as probable, after he entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols last week. Paul tested positive for COVID-19 despite reportedly being vaccinated.
The Clippers officially ruled out Leonard, described variously as a right knee sprain and a sprained ACL, and ESPN reported that the team isn’t sure Leonard will play at all in the series.
The 36-year-old Paul, a 10-time All-NBA guard, was stellar in the Suns’ four-game sweep of the Denver Nuggets in the conference semifinals before testing positive. He shot 62.7 percent from the field to average 25.5 points per game, along with 10.3 assists and 5.0 rebounds.
Leonard hasn’t played since Game 4 of the conference semifinals against the Utah Jazz. The Clippers eliminated the Jazz in six games.
In 11 games played this postseason, he is averaging 30.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists.