Kawhi Leonard Reacts to Coming Off the Bench Against Lakers

Kawhi thinks coming off the bench will help him in the long run.

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In a move that surprised almost everyone, Kawhi Leonard came off the bench in his first regular season game back since May 13, 2021. It was a moment that even some Laker fans in the crowd cheered when he initially checked into the game. He checked into the game midway through the second quarter.

“I’m pretty much doing my same routine, just have my mental focus, and just tell myself it’s only gonna help in the long run,” Leonard said. “I just approach that game mentally, and physically I just try to warm up in the back.”

Kawhi revealed that coming off the bench was a collaborative decision between him, his doctors, and the coaching staff.

“As a leader, I know we’ve got players on the team who can fill that role for me on the starting lineup,” Leonard said. “It’s just about me just trying to get consistent minutes. I played 21 minutes tonight, it would have been kind of hard to play it consistently a game if I played in the first quarter. We’re just about recovery, making sure I stay healthy in the long run, making sure my body is warm, and making sure I’m not sitting on the bench. That all came into play.”

From Kawhi’s statement, it sounds as if he wanted to close the game but he couldn’t really play more than 21 minutes tonight coming off of an ACL tear. His decision was to trust his teammates to start in his place, and the decision worked since the Clippers came up with a victory against the Lakers.

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