Stephen A: Kawhi Leonard Said Lakers' LeBron James Was Scared to Guard Him

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) and Los Angeles Clippers' Kawhi Leonard (2) chase the ball during an NBA basketball game between Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers, Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Clippers won 111-106. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press

The Los Angeles rivalry between the Clippers and Lakers is reaching new heights, with Kawhi Leonard reportedly telling LeBron James he was afraid to guard him. 

Per ESPN's Stephen A. Smith during Wednesday's First Take, Leonard said "someone tell LeBron stop being scared to guard me" during a game against the Lakers. 

However, Clippers guard Lou Williams later appeared to deny Smith's report:

James and the Lakers have dominated virtually everyone in their path so far this season. They lead the Western Conference with a 30-7 record and have had four winning streaks of at least six games, including their current run since a four-game losing skid from Dec. 17-25. 

The only team that has gotten the best of the Lakers on multiple occasions so far this season are the Clippers. 

Their first matchup in the season opener saw the Lakers nearly erase a 14-point third-quarter deficit before coming up short in a 112-102 loss. 

On Christmas Day, the Clippers outscored the Lakers 60-43 in the second half to earn a 111-106 victory. 

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Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has used James and Anthony Davis as the primary defenders against Leonard, but the Clippers counter those matchups with screens that give the reigning NBA Finals MVP space to create plays or force someone like Dwight Howard, who can't keep pace, out on the perimeter. 

Leonard is averaging 32.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists in the two games. If these two teams meet in a potential playoff series, that will be an issue James, Vogel and the Lakers will have to figure out.