PHOENIX — The LA Clippers will again be without Kawhi Leonard in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday and another top defender in Marcus Morris is banged up as well.
Clippers coach Ty Lue said on Monday that Leonard remains out with a sprained right knee. There has been no change in his status, which remains uncertain for the remainder of the series.
Lue said he isn’t sure about Morris’ status for Game 2 after the starting power forward injured his right knee and only played five minutes in the second half of the Clippers’ 120-114 loss to the Suns in Game 1.
Morris, who is receiving treatment on his knee, was not listed on the Clippers’ injury report late Monday afternoon.
“Still experiencing some soreness, but he’s been getting treatment around the clock,” Lue said of Morris. “Not quite sure of his status tomorrow, but he’s doing everything in his power to try to be out there tomorrow night.”
While Leonard is not in Phoenix with the team, the Clippers’ franchise player has remained very involved behind the scenes. Lue said Leonard wanted to FaceTime him while the head coach was meeting with his staff on Monday afternoon.
“Text this time,” Lue said of his communication with Leonard on Monday. “He wanted to FaceTime, but I don’t like FaceTime.”
Leonard constantly wants to stay up to date on the team’s strategies and game plans.
At halftime of Game 6, when the Clippers trailed by 22 to the Utah Jazz, Leonard visited the coaches office in Staples Center to go over adjustments.
“He just stays engaged,” Lue said. “He likes to know the adjustments we’re going to make. He likes to know the game plan so when he watches the game, he can understand what we’re doing good and doing bad, and let the coaches know, let the players know. He’s very engaged. Even though he’s back home rehabbing, he’s still locked in and tuned in.”
Leonard has been busy keeping the players’ group text chat buzzing with suggestions and ideas he sees while watching from Los Angeles.
“He’s a big part of this team, and it’s not like he’s done,” center Ivica Zubac said. “He’s involved and he’s trying to help in a bunch of different ways.
“Kawhi’s really big on details. He was like that when he was playing, and he’s like that right now when he’s on the sidelines. He’s all about details.”
After Game 1, in which Devin Booker had a 40-point triple-double, the Clippers will need all the details they can get to slow the Suns guard down.
“I thought they did a good job of just picking our defense apart for the most part,” Lue said. “We made some mistakes, but Devin Booker did a great job of knowing what play he wanted to make, when we fired at him to try to double-team. When we blitzed the pick-and-roll, they know exactly where their guys wanted to be, and they put us in some tough positions. They did a good job of executing their game plan offensively.”