Clippers Notes: Wall, Leonard, Powell, Lue

Wizards fans gave Clippers guard John Wall a thunderous ovation in his return to Washington Saturday night (video link from Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times). Wall made his first start of the season, replacing the injured Reggie Jackson, as the crowd got to welcome him back for the first time since he was traded to Houston in 2020.

Wall scored 13 points as L.A. pulled out a tight win and appeared to say, “This is my city,” after hitting a step-back jumper, according to Ava Wallace of The Washington Post (Twitter link). He admitted to reporters that he felt the impact of being back in the arena where he became a star, tweets Candace Buckner of The Washington Post.

“Looked over at the seats where my mom used to be sitting at and the other four seats where my family used to sit at and just try to fantasize and be in that moment for a minute,” said Wall, whose mother passed away in December 2019. “Just being here – like I said, still so surreal. Still don’t feel right, still feel different. But like I said, I enjoyed every part of this game and I’m glad we got a win. It was a lot of chills, tried not to cry, hold back a lot of emotions and kind of be in the moment of the game and try to win.”

There’s more on the Clippers:

  • Kawhi Leonard played 30 minutes on Saturday, and coach Tyronn Lue indicated that his minutes restriction will eventually be lifted, Greif tweets. “It’s going to take some time, it’s going to be a process, but the biggest thing for him is just getting over it mentally,” Lue said, “because I know he said he feels good and feels well but going through those type of injuries myself, I understand it takes a little time to get over that mental hurdle.”
  • Norman Powell has progressed to on-court workouts in his recovery from a groin injury, Greif adds (via Twitter). Lue said Powell is getting better, but still needs more time.
  • The Clippers have struggled to stay above .500 with their stars in and out of the lineup, but Lue understood it wouldn’t be easy to bring Leonard back after missing a full season with an ACL injury, writes Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. Lue said patience will be needed for the team to approach its championship expectations. “And so it’s going to take a little time,” he said, “just figuring out the rotations and who plays well with who and trying to figure out how to split Kawhi’s minutes and what’s best for the team and what’s best for him as well.”
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