Narratives are what make NBA games such a treat to follow even for the most casual fans. And the first round matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Phoenix Suns in the 2023 NBA Playoffs is certainly full of them. In fact, it seemed like another narrative was brewing between the two sides, as Kawhi Leonard and Chris Paul appeared to bump into each other after the Clippers’ 123-109 defeat to the Suns.
While a bump could mean anything, fans were quick to point out that this could have been the start of a heated beef between two first-ballot Hall of Famers. This would not have been the first time that Paul irked his opponents to the point of beef anyway.
However, Chris Haynes of TNT and Bleacher Report was quick to douse that rumor with cold water. Posting on his Twitter account, Haynes said that he personally witnessed Kawhi Leonard and Chris Paul exchange friendly taps with one another.
The exchange between the Clippers and Suns’ stars merely ended up looking like a bump given the camera angle. But upon closer look, it surely looked like Leonard did tap Paul on the leg and Paul returned in kind with a pat to the midsection, as Haynes pointed out.
It definitely seemed inexplicable that Kawhi Leonard would beef with anyone on the court, given his disposition as a silent assassin who prefers to do his damage with his play. And this simply confirms that Leonard, indeed, is not beefing with anyone, even with someone with a reputation as an irritant like Paul.
This series did not even need even more potential extracurriculars, as this series has enough of those. The Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant matchup still burns ever so brightly nearly seven years after Durant left Westbrook.
Meanwhile, Paul George remains on iffy terms with Devin Booker after the Suns shooting guard called him “soft” back in January 2021. To add, the Clippers are out for revenge against the team that put an end to their deep playoff run almost two years ago.
Thus, expect the Clippers and Suns to continue to deliver one of the more tightly-contested first-round matchups, the lack of beef between Kawhi Leonard and Chris Paul notwithstanding.
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