Fall 2021 SS Magazine

Luke Kennard providing spark for L.A. Clippers, putting his trust in God

Luke Kennard played a total of four minutes in the first five games of the Los Angeles Clippers’ series against the Dallas Mavericks, but he delivered when called upon with his team’s season on the line.

Kennard scored 11 points in L.A.’s Game 7 victory on Sunday, knocking down three 3-pointers and playing a key role in a 24-4 run that proved to be the turning point of the game.

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His performance was rewarded by head coach Tyronn Lue with 29 minutes of playing time in the Clippers’ Game 1 loss to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday. The fourth-year pro came through again, connecting on seven of his nine shots and finishing with 18 points.

After the game, Kennard stressed the importance of sticking to the things that have gotten the Clippers to the second round of the playoffs.

“We just got to keep trusting it, keep trusting what we’ve built all year,” he said. “We’ve got guys that can make plays and knock down shots, so we’ve just got to keep trusting in each other with that.”

This is not the first time Kennard has helped kickstart his team this season. Back on March 22, Lue pulled his starters midway through the third quarter trailing the Atlanta Hawks by 21. Kennard took over, scoring 20 points in the second half on perfect 8-of-8 shooting to ignite a 53-22 explosion and grab a 119-110 win.

While his role has changed from game to game, the former Duke Blue Devil focuses on making sure he’s prepared rather than how many minutes he’s getting.

“For me, it’s not trying to fight somebody for minutes or anything like that,” Kennard said after that game in an interview with The Athletic. “It’s just staying ready. Whoever is in there, we have a good team, we have a deep team. Guys that can play. And we have a lot of different combinations that we can use. I trust our coaching staff, I trust what we are doing, I trust our entire team.”

Anyone looking at his Twitter profile will have a hard time missing Romans 8:28, which is listed in his bio and serves as his pinned tweet. The tweet was sent when Kennard was in college at Duke.

His Instagram bio includes a reference to the verse as well.

He’ll occasionally post other Bible verses on social media as well, one such time being after he suffered a shoulder sprain in October 2018 that ended up keeping him out of action for nearly six weeks. He posted Proverbs 3:4-6, which talks about trusting the Lord:

Drafted 12th overall by the Detroit Pistons in 2017, Kennard was traded to the Clippers this past offseason and signed a four-year, $64 million extension with the team. He appeared in 63 games in the regular season, averaging 8.3 points and shooting a career-best 44.6 percent from 3-point range.

Kennard credits his teammates and L.A.’s coaching staff for giving him confidence and helping him be ready to make an impact when the opportunity presents itself.

“Everybody’s been encouraging me, telling me to stay ready,” Kennard told The Athletic. “Just putting in work, trusting the process. We have a great staff. Our staff is available all the time, guys in there keeping us in the gym. Guys who aren’t playing, keeping our conditioning up. So I’ve been putting in the work, staying ready. When my name is called, just gotta be ready and go out there and just play hard.”

The Clippers have a chance to even their series against the Jazz in Game 2 on Thursday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 10 p.m. ET.

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