Kawhi Leonard Finally Returned To The Clippers & Did His Kawhi Thing

It didn't take long for Kawhi Leonard to make his presence felt in yet another long-awaited return to the lineup for the Los Angeles Clippers. 

His 18-foot jumper with just 1.4 seconds to play gave the Clippers a 119-117 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.

Monday night was just his 6th game of the season, and it sounds like he's thrilled to be back again.

“I don’t think anybody loves playing this game more than me,” Leonard said“It gives me joy when I’m able to play. And it was great that I was able to make that shot.”

Leonard hasn't felt a lot of that 'joy' in the last couple of years. After sitting out the entire 2021-22 season recovering from a partial ACL tear suffered in the playoffs in June of 2021, he finally returned this season, playing two of the first three games. 

But then he sat out another 12 games as his knee was giving him problems. He returned and played three games at a reduced capacity, before going out again with an ankle sprain and missing another six games. 

We'll see how long he stays in the lineup this time around. Leonard signed a 4-year, $176M contract with the Clippers in 2021, and has played 6 of a possible 107 games since. 

Photo: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports