Something special is brewing in L.A., and Kawhi is leading the charge

Something special is brewing in L.A. and Kawhi is leading the charge

Los Angeles Clippers v Atlanta Hawks
Los Angeles Clippers v Atlanta Hawks / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
5 of 5

The Clippers haven’t seen this version of Kawhi before.

Kawhi, who led the Raptors to their first title, knows how to navigate the playoffs and reach the end. This year, he’s been exceptional. In the last 21 games, he’s hit career highs in field goal and three-point shooting, going at 53 percent and 49 percent, respectively. He’s 180-22 from the charity stripe for the season; he’s only missed 7 since January.

His level of play has been elite and consistent, and he’s been available; he’s on track to reach beyond 65 games, something he hasn’t done since 2015. The Clippers haven’t seen this version of Kawhi since he arrived in 2019. 

It’s not just the Kawhi Show. The other pieces are all working too. The Harden trade was significant for this team. They added another classy ball handler. When he does run the point, Kawhi and George can focus on shooting. And it’s the shooting from the Clippers roster at large that has been deadly. While Harden’s numbers aren’t monstrous, averaging just 17.3 points, he’s shooting 44 percent from the field and 42 percent from outside the arc.

George is shooting at 45.7 percent from the field in 49 games. Norm Powell is shooting at 44.5 for threes and 49.2 from the field in 52 games in 25 minutes per night. And we haven’t even touched on Westbrook’s bench role evolution or Zubac’s rise alongside Plumlee, Coffey, and Mann, who will round out the playoff rotation with nine quality players—six of them double-digit scorers. 

If the Clippers fail in the playoffs again, it’ll be something we’re used to seeing happen. It’ll be the “same old Clippers,” and they’ll seep into the summer ether, ready to malfunction again next year. But if they don't, if they finally break through, it would be poetic: Kawhi, Harden, George, and Westbrook all coming together in the dusk of their careers to bring home the Clippers first ever championship ring. Even if you’re a non-Clippers believer, you have to admit, that the ending would be pretty epic.