Kawhi Leonard and Paul George returned to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night in a very exciting way. After missing the last two games and being absent from the team for over four days due to NBA COVID-19 health and safety protocol, Leonard and George returned to the team Friday morning and got to play against the Dallas Mavericks.

The Clippers defeated the Magic 116-90, led by the 26 points of Paul George, who scored 10 of the 19 points from the field. Kawhi Leonard also scored 24 points with 8 of 15 effective shots. Throughout the evening, it seemed that the star duo from Los Angeles missed nothing, despite being away for almost a week.

“We were super rested, we were mostly healthy,” George told reporters after Friday’s game. “We played so well that unfortunately we had to take a break, but safety before everything else. We recognize that first and foremost.

Paul George on the Clippers’ last two missed games due to NBA health and safety protocols pic.twitter.com/vE0Nz2oYa

– ClutchPoints NBA (@ClutchPointsNBA) January 30, 2021

In fact, each player had a point in the game where he showed freshness and explosiveness. That’s what Georgi did by making a save in the first quarter, over Nikola Vucevic. Leonard followed with a dunk on Aaron Gordon.

Early Monday morning it was announced that Kawhi Leonard and Paul George would not be accompanying the Clippers on their upcoming six-game trip. Their status was completely called into question once they complied with the league’s health and safety protocols.

“I mean it was a shock because we were on the right track and PG and I are coming out,” Leonard said after his first game. “That’s my state of mind, I just want to play basketball and I want to continue to develop our chemistry and get better. But you know, we understand what the protocols are and it was an opportunity for the guys to play a bigger role.

The league has changed its protocols in recent weeks after issues came to light with teams like the Washington Wizards and the Memphis Grizzlies. After last Sunday’s victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Clippers’ star duo may have contacted someone who had COWID-19.

Since then, the NBA has conducted its own contact investigation and tracked the duo’s test results. After four consecutive days of negative tests and contact tracing, George and Leonard were allowed to join the team.

“We were just trying to stay in shape and watch our games,” Leonard added in reference to the last five days. “Talking to the coaches, seeing how our covers are, trying to stay focused on that. That’s pretty much it.

Kawhi Leonard on the disappearance of the Clippers’ last 2 games due to NBA health and safety protocols pic.twitter.com/OFUzbQvPHo

– ClutchPoints NBA (@ClutchPointsNBA) January 30, 2021

Without their two stars, the Clippers lost a very winnable game against the Atlanta Hawks, but then came back to beat a close-knit team from the Miami Heat.

“They played well,” George said. “The three boys really came together, they played for each other. They didn’t make up excuses. They went there knowing they had a job to do and they did it. I thought they could have won easily in Atlanta, but I know it’s hard. The guys were tired, some played minutes they weren’t used to. In this game they had to adjust a little bit and face some adversity, but I liked the way they played. They kept me going. I’m proud of those guys. We just felt a lot better when we came back and were back with our group.

COVID-19 is plaguing the NBA, affecting star players like Jason Tatum, Kevin Durant and Karl Anthony Towns. It has also forced teams to cancel games for an entire week in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, which has killed more than 400,000 people in the United States alone. ….

With the return of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Clippers hope to continue their winning streak in the regular season. In the first quarter of the season, Los Angeles is the only team that has not played two games in a row this year.

In 16 appearances this season, Leonard averaged 25.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.9 steals per game at a rate of 50.7%. Paul George was just as good this year averaging 24 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.2 steals per game at 50.6%.

Lakers, Jason Kidd, Kyle Kuzma

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