Kawhi praises Bulls, says Donovan has 'done a great job' originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
"They did a great job," Leonard said to lead a question on the Clippers defense, which allowed the Bulls 61 percent field goal shooting but forced 23 turnovers. "Billy Donovan's done a great job with that team over there, Zach LaVine's been great leading the team, the rookie played well tonight, Williams. They shot the ball great. We were there on a lot of contests."
Indeed, the afternoon contest featured some ludicrous shotmaking, especially in a third quarter that saw LaVine and Leonard trade buckets and combine for 36 points and 10 3s.
LaVine finished with 45 points while becoming the sixth player in NBA history to register multiple games with double-digit made 3s (he's the only Bull to ever accomplish that once). Leonard had 35 points, shooting 7-for-9 from deep, and three steals.
But those turnovers, which the Clippers converted into 31 points, were the Bulls' undoing. After hitting an unconscionable stepback over Marcus Morris to pull within 126-125 with 17.3 seconds remaining, LaVine air-balled a pull-up triple that would have tied the contest -- and completed a seven-point comeback in the game's final 49 seconds -- with 7.5 ticks to play.
"Obviously we don't want to give a team, what, over 125 points, 130 points," Leonard said. "But you gotta give Chicago credit. They played a great game, you know, when you watch it they was making a lot of shots when we were there."
Leonard personally gave Williams credit following the final horn after he matched up with the rook for most of the game. No small moment for Williams, who postgame detailed his idolization of Leonard growing up, and the Clippers star's influence on his game.
"After the game, he (Leonard) just kind of told me to keep working, keep going. He kind of liked how I play," Williams said. "Both him and Paul George gave me some good words. I will definitely hold those and just keep working like they said."
Now, the wins need only begin to come for the 4-7 Bulls to continue gaining legitimacy.
"I think we have a lot to build off, but we’re going to have to make the strides," Donovan said. "We're going to have to become a consistent team that takes care of the basketball, that defends without fouling and rebounds. If we cant do those three things on a regular nightly basis it’s really, really hard to win."