NBA Fines Clippers $50K Over Doc Rivers’ Kawhi Leonard ‘Load Management’ Comments

Danilo Gallinari Blazers

Earlier Thursday, the National Basketball Association fined the Clippers $50,000 regarding pregame comments coach Doc Rivers made regarding Leonard sitting out of Wednesday's loss to the Milwaukee Bucks due to "load management".

Despite the NBA's second-worst three-point accuracy over the last five games, a starting lineup that has fallen victim to slow starts and an injury to the patella tendon in Kawhi Leonard's left knee that has kept the superstar from playing on consecutive nights, the Clippers mostly have weathered an opening stretch that was expected to be one of their toughest, considering Paul George has not played a minute while recovering from offseason shoulder surgeries.

Los Angeles improved to 6-3 for the season and this latest triumph came despite a poor shooting night in which the Clippers made only 39 of 89 shots (43.8 percent) and 4-of-23 from 3-point distance.

"Like I said, I don't read into it". Both teams are averaging 114 points per game offensively.

Zubac continued to keep offensive possessions going with his offensive rebounding performance against Whiteside, seeing nine offensive rebounds, albeit majority coming in the first half. Like I said, I don't read into it.

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However, Rivers' comments about him "feeling great" not matching up with the injury report that claims the player has a knee injury is where things start to get a little more complicated. Leonard sealed the win with four straight free throws as fans chanted "MVP!"

Last week, Leonard sat out at Utah in the first of a back-to-back set of games before doing the same against Milwaukee on Wednesday. Neither Lillard nor McCollum scored in the fourth quarter. "That's important. But he played a lot of minutes in the playoffs past year", Rivers said.

"Sometimes you agree with fines, sometimes you don't", Rivers said. Rivers has had to straddle the line between Leonard's desire for privacy regarding his health and the league's stance on transparency about injuries and load management. CJ McCollum is averaging 20.7 points and 3.6 assists per game, while Hassan Whiteside is averaging 14.3 points and 12 rebounds per game. Asked if there is a middle ground between those two competing mandates, the veteran coach said, "I'm scared to answer". He said, "It didn't seem right, that number, but I've done it because I've had great players my entire career, great coaches around me, and great people too".

Leonard said he would continue to follow the lead of team doctors and his training staff when it comes to load management and sitting out a game during back-to-backs. "We are likely to handle it the greatest way we can to hold me wholesome and which is the most critical point, me staying nutritious shifting ahead". He's a championship coach, I'm trying to get one with him.

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