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Kawhi Leonard out for Clippers’ Game 3 vs. Suns with knee sprain

Natalie jumps on the show to defend her Warriors against the Michaels’ doubts over Golden State’s ability to defeat the Kings in Game 3 with no Draymond Green.

Kawhi Leonard has been the best on the court through the opening two games of the Clippers’ first-round series against the Suns. Which makes this a punch to the gut for Clippers fans and an all-too-familiar feeling.

Already without Paul George, the Clippers will be without Kawhi Leonard for Game 3 due to a sprained right knee, the team announced on Thursday afternoon. It was a surprise announcement, but he aggravated his knee in Game 1 and played through it in Game 2, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The Clippers host the Suns for Game 4 Saturday at 12:30 p.m., just 41 hours after the tip-off of Game 3. Leonard’s status for Game 4 is unknown, he is essentially day-to-day.

The Clippers have extensive experience playing without both Leonard and George but the results have not been pretty: They have a -8.1 net rating in non-garbage time in those minutes (stats via Cleaning the Glass). No five-man lineup of players currently on the roster has played more than 100 minutes together without Leonard and George.

Leonard’s sprain isn’t related to his 2021 ACL tear of that same knee, Wojnarowski reports. So if you’re desperately looking for a silver lining, there you go.

As for a Game 3 strategy now, expect the Clippers to put the ball in Russell Westbrook’s hands, launch a lot of 3-pointers and hope they can shoot their way to a win.

The Clippers and Suns are tied 1-1 heading into Game 3. The winner of Game 3 of a series tied 1-1 goes on to win that series 72.8% of the time.