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Clippers Rule Kawhi Leonard Out For Game 6 At Mavericks

The Los Angeles Clippers pulled Kawhi Leonard in Game 6 against the Dallas Mavericks in their Western Conference first round series. The Clippers face elimination trailing 3-2 in the best-of-seven series.

Leonard scored 45 points in Game 6 at Dallas in the franchise's 2021 first-round series. Los Angeles went on to win Game 7 at home against Dallas to advance to the second round.

The six-time All-Star will miss his third straight game since playing minutes in Game 3 due to inflammation in his surgically repaired right knee.

“We're not sure when he's coming back,” Clippers coach Ty Lue said before Game 5. “It's a day-to-day thing and when he feels good and the doctors say he's ready to go, that's what we're going to do.” “

The Clippers are coming off an embarrassing, 123-93 loss to Dallas in Game 5 on Wednesday, their worst postseason loss in franchise history without Leonard. Los Angeles trailed by 32 points and finished 9-of-35 (25.7%) shooting from 3-point range.

“That's not who we were in this series, and that's not who we are,” Paul George said after the loss. “We have to be better, especially in this situation. But we've been here before, we go to Dallas as we're down 3-2, so we have to have a mindset of only winning in Dallas. “

Kawhi Leonard (knee) of the Los Angeles Clippers is improving, could return for a possible Game 7 at Arena

Kawhi Leonard missed the final eight games of the regular season and Game 1 of the series. The 12-year veteran returned in Game 2 and played 35 minutes. Contrary to his comments after the game, Leonard still felt discomfort in his knee.

“I heard well,” said Leonard. “We still have a lot of games to play and more time to improve. Keep trying to get the rhythm back.”

Lawrence Frank, president of basketball operations, gave an update on Leonard before the Clippers' 116-111 victory over Dallas in Game 4 on Sunday.

“Kawhi has been dealing with inflammation for about three weeks in his right knee,” Frank said. “He is doing everything, our health workers are doing everything to reduce the inflammation so that he can play. Progress has been made, but more progress [to be made]. The swelling needs to continue to decrease in order to be able to perform effective basketball movements.

Terance Mann was also added to the injury report as questionable with a right lower leg contusion.

The Mavericks are one win away from winning their first playoff series since 2022 and only their third since winning the NBA championship against the Miami Heat in 2011.

If the Clippers even the series in Dallas on Friday, Game 7 will be Sunday at Arena.

NBA sportsbooks show the Clippers as a 7.5-point underdog to Dallas before Game 6. According to ESPN's Basketball Power Index, the Mavericks have a 72.2% chance of winning on Friday.

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