Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George says Kawhi Leonard is a real leader and his attitude motivates the rest of the team to leave it all on the court. Leonard scored a team-high 29 points to help the Clippers thrash the Denver Nuggets 120-97 in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinals.
Meanwhile, George dropped 19 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had four assists. "His voice, his communication, his extra-effort plays, he does all the small stuff," George said of Leonard, per ESPN. "He boxes out.
He goes and gets offensive rebounds. "He just makes so many winning effort plays that sometimes aren't even stat plays. But just he gives his self up and body up. ... If you see someone like that, you have no choice but to buy in and help pull the weight with someone like him."
George and Leonard got their starting point guard back
Patrick Beverley returned to action in Game 1 against the Nuggets and he immediately contributed to his team. Beverley missed five consecutive games and 10 of the last 11 due to a calf injury.
In his first game since returning to action, Beverley scored eight points and grabbed six rebounds. Sitting on the bench and being unable to help his teammates wasn't easy for Beverley. "When you're out with an injury ...
just watching it ... I was humbled," Beverley said.. "And I'm just fortunate to be out there. "You can't take health for granted, man. It's really important. But it was good going out there with my brothers, man, competing, playing the type of ball we do.
It was fun tonight, for sure." Beverley brings a lot of energy to Clippers team, especially on the defensive end. "I take my role very seriously," Beverley said. "Obviously, I'm the point guard, getting guys put in places offensively and make sure I'm doing my job defensively.
"Sitting out with this injury has definitely humbled me, man. I appreciate the game a lot more, for sure." Clippers coach Doc Rivers was happy to have Beverley back to the lineup. "He gives us energy," Rivers said.
"We're not a particularly loud team on the floor defensively. Pat is, in a lot of ways, with that starting lineup, he's a defensive captain with his voice. He calls out coverages. He holds everybody responsible, and to have that voice to start games is just invaluable."