Los Angeles Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue gave credit to Kawhi Leonard after the 2019 NBA Finals MVP led the Clippers to a win over the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night. Leonard, who finished the game with 23 points, had nine points, three rebounds and two steals in the fourth quarter to help the Clippers fend off the Mavericks 109-99.
"Kawhi was great tonight with huge rebounds down the stretch and just bringing us home," said Clippers coach Lue, whose team was without injured starters Patrick Beverley (knee) and Serge Ibaka (back). "He wasn't gonna let us lose this game tonight."
Leonard was determined to lead the Clippers to a win
"Just, physically tired but mentally I wanted to win the game," Leonard said of how he felt down the stretch. "My heart was into the game. That is what you got to push through.
You are going to have these moments down the road where you feel like your juice is gone but you just got to keep fighting. And my teammates did a great job of competing as well." The Clippers have now won two out of their last six games.
"I don't think it's a struggle," Clippers forward Marcus Morris said of the team's recent up-and-down play. "Everything that's happened has been that we're beating ourselves. These teams that are beating us aren't better than us, I can tell you that straightforward.
"We're beating ourselves, we're going to continue to get better... we got to play our style of basketball. And some games, we gonna lose. Some games, you know teams go through tough patches, man, that's what makes championship teams.
Nobody's worried about that." After the Clippers suffered a 135-115 loss on Sunday night against the New Orleans Pelicans, Leonard said he was ''very concerned'' over his team's inconsitency.
"He didn't have to say anything," said center Ivica Zubac, who had 15 points and 11 rebounds in starting for Ibaka. "We all know we gotta do much better, that we can do so much better. That level of play is not acceptable.
The way that we've been playing for the last 10 games. When your star player, who brings it every night says that, you gotta start from yourself. You gotta bring it to. If your star player brings it every night, then you can't be the one who is not bringing it."