The Clippers picked up a win over the league-leading Jazz Friday night as L.A.’s starting lineup was together for the first time since January 24, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and Nicolas Batum all returned from injuries, with George and Batum playing under minutes restrictions. George scored 15 points in 27 minutes after missing the past seven games with swelling in a toe on his right foot.
“Got to get back to that basketball conditioning and get that wind back to where it was,” George said. “As much as I would’ve loved to play, I probably would’ve hurt the team being on the floor past the minutes I played.”
Leonard, who had been dealing with a contusion in his lower left leg, wore a compression sleeve with padding underneath his knee as he logged 38 minutes. Batum was back on the court after missing two games with a concussion.
“We’re all pros, I think that starting lineup all played 10-plus years so that’s how we can sort of get a rhythm early,” Leonard said. “But it takes time, you haven’t seen those bodies on the floor. Obviously, playing with me and PG is a lot different. We might isolate sometimes or take some tough shots so it’s just all that combined. And that’s why we got to keep playing and staying healthy.”
There’s more from Los Angeles:
- Luke Kennard was replaced in the rotation Friday by Terance Mann, notes Law Murray of The Athletic, who adds that Mann earned more playing time with his performance while George was sidelined.
- Lakers guard Dennis Schröder, who is in the NBA’s health and safety protocol, tested negative for COVID-19 but will have to quarantine for at least a week, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Coach Frank Vogel offered an update on Schröder before tonight’s game, saying the team hopes to have him back for Friday’s contest against the Trail Blazers. Wesley Matthews started tonight in Schröder’s place.
- The Lakers face a difficult decision about whether to increase LeBron James‘ playing time while Anthony Davis is injured, writes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. L.A. is in a tight race for the top spot in the West, but is concerned about not wearing down James before the playoffs. Goon notes that his minutes have already increased from 31.4 per game in December to 37.7 in February.