Kawhi Leonard, Chris Paul out for Game 1 of Western finals

Jun 9, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) against the Denver Nuggets during game two in the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns each will be without one of their stars when they meet Sunday in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard and Suns guard Chris Paul have been ruled out for the game. Leonard sustained a knee injury in Game 4 of the conference semifinals against the Utah Jazz. Paul is in the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

Leonard did not join the Clippers on the trip to Phoenix on Saturday. Coach Tyronn Lue said he wasn’t sure of his availability as the series goes on.

“Right now he’s back home getting treatment,” Lue said. “We’re not sure about Game 2 yet.”

As for Paul, it is unknown whether he tested positive for COVID-19 or was a close contact of someone who did.

Game 2 is scheduled for Tuesday night in Phoenix.

Leonard won NBA titles with the San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors and is a two-time finals MVP. In 52 regular-season games, he averaged 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game. He turns 30 later this month.

Paul, 36, is seeking the first championship of his 16-year NBA career. He played in 70 games on the regular season, averaging 16.4 points, 8.9 assists and 4.5 rebounds. He led the league in free throw percentage at 93.4.

Paul spent six seasons (2011-17) with the Clippers.

–Field Level Media