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Questionable whether Kawhi Leonard will be back for Clippers’ first-half finale

Clippers huddle with Kawhi Leonard (2), Paul George (back), Ivica Zubac (left) and Reggie Jackson.
Clippers Kawhi Leonard (2), Paul George (back), Ivica Zubac (left) and Reggie Jackson huddle during a game in December.
(Harry How / Getty Images)

The first half of the NBA season ends Thursday for the Clippers, but have we seen the last of Kawhi Leonard before the All-Star break?

Perhaps not. After back spasms sidelined Leonard on Tuesday during a loss in Boston, the Clippers officially listed the All-Star forward as questionable to play at Washington in the first-half finale Thursday. Leonard was hurt Sunday in a loss at Milwaukee, coach Tyronn Lue said.

Kawhi Leonard was ruled out right before the Clippers’ game against the Boston Celtics on Tuesday because of back spasms.

The Clippers are 4-4 this season without Leonard, who has missed time because of a facial laceration, the league’s health and safety protocols, and a contusion of his left lower leg. When Leonard sits, the Clippers have scored 10 fewer points and yielded nearly two more points per 100 possessions. The total represents the second-largest difference by any Clipper this season, behind only Paul George.

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The Clippers (24-13) have lost consecutive games for only the second time this season with their defeat to the Celtics, during which backup forward Marcus Morris also was lost because of a concussion suffered in the second quarter. Morris is doubtful to face the Wizards (13-20). Forward Patrick Patterson will miss his fifth consecutive game because of personal reasons, the team said.

The 2021 NBA All-Star game is set for Sunday in Atlanta. Here are the details from tipoff time to game format and player draft to the dunk contest.

“We want to go into the break with a win, go into the break with some positive to leave off on coming out of the break,” said George, who scored 32 points Tuesday. “So the game in Washington is a must-win.”

Also Thursday, All-Stars Leonard and George will learn their teams for the All-Star exhibition Sunday. Team captains LeBron James and Kevin Durant draft their rosters at 5 p.m. PST. (Whether Leonard is healthy enough to play is to be determined). If Durant selects either, it will lead to a sideline reunion with Team Durant coach Doc Rivers five months after the Clippers cut ties with the coach and he was hired in Philadelphia.

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NEXT UP

AT WASHINGTON

When: Thursday, 4 p.m. PST.

On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 570, 1330.

Update: The Clippers won by 19 during the teams’ first meeting on Feb. 23. ... Washington’s defense has given up the smallest percentage of shots at the rim this season, and the Clippers (24-13) have generated the second-lowest percentage of shots there. ... The Clippers’ 42.3% three-point shooting continues to lead the NBA. The Wizards (13-20), who also have lost two in a row, languish amid the bottom third of three-point accuracy given up.


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