West Notes: Clippers, Kawhi Leonard, Grizzlies, Dillon Brooks, Suns


  • Coach Tyronn Lue has not ruled out forward Kawhi Leonard for Game 5 of the playoff series vs. the Suns, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.
  • Leonard did not practice Monday, though, and instead was getting more treatment for his sprained knee, Lue said (via Mark Medina). He has missed each of the past two games, both losses.
  • With or without Leonard, Lue stressed that the only way the Clippers will win in Phoenix on Tuesday is to take better care of the basketball. “Our margin for error is very slim, and so we can’t turn the ball over eight times in one quarter,” Lue said, via Janis Carr of the Los Angeles Daily News. “We can’t give up offensive rebounds. We can’t do things like that, especially when you’re short-handed.”


The Grizzlies explored trades involving guard/forward Dillon Brooks in February, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“We’ve talked about his awful shot selection a lot. This wasn’t an awful shot selection. It’s just awful shooting,” MacMahon said of Brooks on The Hoop Collective podcast with Brian Windhorst (via HoopsHype). “And like it’s been at a point for a while now: They tried to upgrade at the trade deadline. They threw four picks at the Nets trying to get Mikal Bridges. They really weren’t able to get the Raptors in serious conversations, but they would have given up a few picks to get OG Anunoby.

“They’ve tried to move on from Dillon Brooks already. I don’t know if Dillon Brooks is on this team after this series (vs. the Lakers). We’ll see if the Grizzlies can come back and win it. I certainly don’t know if he’s on this team after free agency this summer, but the problem is if he’s not, who’s guarding all the best players? Who’s guarding all the stars on the other teams?”

  • Point guard Ja Morant is trying to keep the faith despite trailing the series vs. the Lakers by a 2-1 count, entering Monday. “It’s a lot of positive things we can get out of that performance,” he said of Game3, via Drew Hill of the Daily Memphian. “We fought back. That’s the No. 1 thing. We are a very resilient group. We always bounce back after a tough loss or a tough game.”


With a 3-1 lead, the Suns are hopeful of closing out their series against the Clippers in Game 5 and move on to the Western Conference semifinals.

But they clearly don’t expect it to be easy.

“Closeout games are always the hardest,” center Deandre Ayton said, via Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. “I’m pretty sure they’re going to throw an even bigger punch than the one they did (Saturday).”

  • Coach Monty Williams said he has been keeping a close eye on the minutes of forward Kevin Durant, shooting guard Devin Booker and others. “It’s something I’ve talked to the guys about and I’m watching and going over my rotation template,” Williams said, via Rankin. “We did a bunch (Friday), trying to figure out when we can shave those minutes because I don’t want to do what I did last game, but at the end of the day, the goal is to win the game. There’s a balance there for sure, but I’m also mindful of it and we’re going try to see where we can do it.”

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