Clippers' Kawhi Leonard on load management criticism: 'It's just disappointing'

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LOS ANGELES – His tone sounded stoic and his body language appeared apathetic. When Clippers star Kawhi Leonard spoke, though, he expressed his annoyance clearly. 

Leonard shared his displeasure for receiving criticism on his load-management program and for the NBA fining the Clippers $50,000 for coach Doc Rivers making comments “that were inconsistent with his health status.”

“It’s just disappointing. It feels like they want players to play even if they’re not ready,” Leonard said of the NBA. “I don’t read into it. I have to do what will make me healthy and help the team be successful. That’s me being able to play basketball games for us.”

Leonard played in the Clippers’ 107-101 win over Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday at Staples Center. He scored 27 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter on 6-of-10 shooting after laboring through the first three periods on a combined 3-of-13 clip. Leonard sat on Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks, however, marking the second time in a week he sat the first game of a nationally televised back-to-back as part of the Clippers’ load management program.

The NBA reiterated in a statement on Thursday that “the…

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