Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Denver Nuggets 121-108 on Friday night. Unfortunately, the victory came at a cost.
Leonard was forced to exit the game with 6:07 remaining in the fourth quarter after crashing into teammate Serge Ibaka.
Ibaka’s elbow struck Leonard when both players attempted to catch a rebound. Leonard immediately fell to the floor and began bleeding profusely from his mouth.
Serge Ibaka caught Kawhi with an elbow on the way up pic.twitter.com/D8UomXD8nb
— CJ Fogler #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) December 26, 2020
Kawhi heads back to the locker room after taking an elbow from teammate Serge Ibaka.
Updates will come as they are made available. pic.twitter.com/BzrBTVyv39
— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) December 26, 2020
Leonard got eight stitches to treat a mouth laceration after the outing. In his postgame media session, Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said Leonard is “gonna be fine.”
In what was a bit of a troubling sign for the Clippers, the team really seemed to struggle when Leonard exited the game.
After trailing by as many as 24 points in the second half, the Nuggets cut the lead down to 11 halfway through the fourth quarter.
Bronny pulls up from beyond the arc. https://t.co/cusTr4DlQP
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 25, 2020
Fortunately for the Clippers, they were ultimately able to fend off a late rally.
“We know Kawhi is a great player,” Lue said after the fact.
“We got to have the mindset that if he goes down, everybody has to be able to step up.”