Kawhi Leonard Calls Out Clippers After Win vs. Pistons

Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers, NBA News
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Clippers have been sailing the high seas for the last two months. They have won 24 of their last 29 games, and pundits across the land are falling head over heels in love with them while picking them to reach the NBA Finals.

However, the Clippers do have some concerns. For one, a few of their stars — Paul George, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook — have a checkered history when it comes to the playoffs, and the franchise has made only one trip to the Western Conference Finals in over 50 years of existence.

But a more immediate concern, as Kawhi Leonard said after their 135-125 win over the Detroit Pistons on Friday, is that it has been winning only based on their talent lately.

“It’s between our ears. Tonight, we were terrible on our defensive game. I feel like we’ve been running our games off of talent, even our offensive game,” Leonard said. “It’s a lot of slow pace, and it starts with our defense. We have to see who we want to be and start setting goals for ourselves. I feel like these last few games have been based on talent, and we need to be focused on execution.”

There is no doubt the Clippers have more star power than most other NBA teams. However, star power isn’t exactly enough to win a world championship. In order to win one, a team must play together on both ends of the floor and always have a sense of urgency.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers Updates

The Pistons are the worst team in the NBA, with a 6-42 record, and they came into Friday’s contest averaging just 112.6 points a game. But L.A. allowed them to shoot 50.6 percent from the field and 42.5 percent from 3-point range, It started the game, trailing 22-8 at one point, and despite leading by 20 with 1:37 left in the fourth quarter, it allowed the Pistons to score nine quick answered points.

The Clippers like to think of themselves as a great defensive team. But the reality is that throughout the Leonard-George era, their defensive prowess has been inconsistent, and for every game or two they have shut down their opponents, they have had a game where they have allowed too many points.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers Updates

If they are to beat a team such as the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets come playoff time, they will have to elevate their defensive performance and consistency to new levels.

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