Kawhi Leonard will not play against the Lakers due to soreness in his left foot. He left the game against the Suns and after the game said that he had “jammed his foot”.
Here’s our take: if this was a playoff game, Leonard would start and play 45 minutes. Given that we’re in this for the long haul, expect these smart but disappointing decisions more often this season. This is both good player and season management, and one side-effect this also has is that it shows that the Raptors have Kawhi Leonard’s best interests in mind for the long-term.
It also reiterates the constant message being hammered home this year that it’s not about the season but the playoffs.
The Raptors are back-to-back in Utah on Monday night, so this also follows the trend so far that Leonard only plays one of the back-to-back games. He was listed as ‘questionable’ so this is not that big of a surprise.
This is the second occasion this season that we haven’t seen a marquee matchup at his position, once against the Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo, and now against the Lakers and LeBron James. Much like those two games, it might just be that we’re fully dependent on Kyle Lowry to carry the load once again. Against the Wizards he was able to do it, against the Bucks he wasn’t. Let’s see what happens in Round 3 without Kawhi.