MIAMI — LA Clippers star Kawhi Leonard earned the primary triple-double of his profession in Friday night time’s 122-117 comeback victory over the Miami Warmth. Leonard completed the sport with 33 factors, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, bringing the Clippers again from a 15-point deficit, whereas handing the Warmth simply their second residence lack of the season.
“It is only a nice honor,” Leonard stated. “However I am simply extra pleased with the win. I simply really feel good that we got here in right here and acquired a win tonight.”
Enjoying with out Paul George (hamstring) and Patrick Beverley (groin), each Leonard and the Clippers acquired off to a sluggish begin. After going 2-for-11 to start the sport, Leonard closed sturdy — scoring 17 factors within the third quarter and hitting clutch photographs and free throws within the ultimate minutes.
Leonard stated he turned conscious of the triple-double on the finish of the third quarter, however the feat did not change into official till one other rebound within the fourth quarter after a earlier rebound had been taken away.
“I consider going into the fourth Coach [Tyronn] Lue advised me ‘Congratulations,'” Leonard stated. “And I did not know what he was speaking about and he stated I acquired my first triple-double in order that’s after I was conscious.”
The truth that Leonard — in his ninth NBA season — had by no means recorded a triple-double was gorgeous to his teammates and coaches.
1st Half2nd HalfPts726FG2-117-113-pt FG0-34-6Contested FG1-67-10– ESPN Stats & Data
“Really I assumed he had one already,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers stated. “Yeah, that is cool. And he needed to — [the Heat] had been trapping him. And as an alternative of attempting to pressure it, he simply saved taking the traps, transferring the ball, getting guys open photographs. And the entire key’s like Kawhi stated in [the locker room], ‘I will cross you that ball, however the important thing was that you just guys made the photographs.’ That led to the top of the sport the place then he acquired his isos, after which he began scoring. So it was like he was a boxer and he simply type of took his time till he might throw punches.”
After a disappointing loss to the lowly Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night time, Rivers and his gamers stated they had been pleased with the best way they bounced again behind Leonard’s efficiency.
“All people performs completely different so I am blissful for him,” Clippers guard Lou Williams stated. “Possibly it will be one thing that he is in a position to do repeatedly for us. He is such a selfless man that he gave us credit score for making photographs for him for the triple-double. I am blissful for him, it was an excellent night time. “
Leonard has now scored no less than 30 factors in seven consecutive video games, becoming a member of World B. Free and Bob McAdoo as the one gamers to perform that feat in franchise historical past. Leonard’s 33 factors additionally matched Blake Griffin’s document for many factors scored in a triple-double in franchise historical past, in accordance with ESPN Stats & Data analysis.
“That is loopy, man,” Clippers guard Landry Shamet stated. “Completely happy for him. Completely happy I acquired to be part of it. Completely happy he handed me the ball just a few instances and I acquired the assists on there for him. That is cool, I assume. That also is loopy to me, a participant nearly as good as him. Clearly he needed to have been shut a variety of instances. He does a lot for our crew, he is nice.”
Rivers was significantly happy with the very fact his crew dished out 33 assists and had solely eight turnovers on the night time. He says he believes the secret is that Leonard has developed into a greater passer lately.
“It is superb,” Rivers stated of Leonard’s first profession triple-double. “However he is change into a greater passer as his profession’s come on. If you happen to watched him even final 12 months, scorer, rebounder, defender, after which in the direction of the top of the playoffs — scorer, rebounder, defender, passer. This 12 months he picked up the place he left off. He is been passing all 12 months for us, so it has been phenomenal.”
As Leonard accomplished his postgame information convention, a Clippers safety official waited patiently by his aspect with the sport ball in his arms. When requested what he would do with the ball, Leonard stated he may use it otherwise than most different gamers would.
“Simply take it residence,” Leonard stated. “I do not know. I would shoot with it.”
The Clippers hand the Warmth simply their second residence lack of the season, led by Kawhi Leonard’s first profession triple-double of 33 factors, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.