Watch live coverage as the Los Angeles Clippers put their perfect start to the NBA season on the line when they host the winless Dallas Mavericks.
The Clippers have started with victories over the Lakers on opening night and the Denver Nuggets on Christmas Day – but the latter success came at a cost.
All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard was forced to leave the contest midway through the fourth quarter after taking an elbow to the face from teammate Serge Ibaka.
Leonard received eight stitches in what club officials described as a mouth laceration.
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“I was thinking of the worst,” Clippers forward Paul George said after seeing a bloodied Leonard lay on the court for several minutes before walking off.
“I didn’t know if he was concussed or how hard of a hit or what actually happened because I didn’t see it. I just saw him laying on the ground, so that was first and foremost, just making sure he was OK.”
Leonard’s status for Sunday’s game is unknown having been listed as day-to-day on the injury report on Saturday.
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Without him, the Clippers were able to hold off the Nuggets late in the two teams’ first meeting since Denver rallied from a 3-1 deficit to prevail in the Western Conference semifinals last season.
The Mavericks, who lost to the Clippers in the first round of last season’s playoffs, dropped the initial two games of their current three-game road trip, including Friday’s 138-115 rout by the Los Angeles Lakers.
“We didn’t compete for 48 minutes the way we’re supposed to compete,” said Burke, who made 5 of 10 shots, including 4 of 7 3-pointers, according to the team’s website.
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“That’s a championship team over there and we’ve got another game like that on Sunday [against the Clippers].
“The first three games we knew it was going to be a challenge and we knew we were going to find out a lot about ourselves.”
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