Kawhi Leonard evoked memories of some monster performances during the Toronto Raptors 2019 championship run during Game 6 against Dallas.
Tying a career playoff high with 45 points, Leonard continuously sucked the life out of the Mavericks with big shot after big shot falling in a masterful display.
According to ESPN Stats and Info, Leonard joins the select group of Wilt Chamberlain, LeBron James and Jamal Murray to score 45 points on 70 percent from the floor in the postseason with his efficient 18-for-25 shooting display.
According to @EliasSports Kawhi Leonard is the 4th player in NBA postseason history with 45 points and 70% FG when facing elimination, joining Jamal Murray, LeBron James and Wilt Chamberlain. pic.twitter.com/ceODjx0mco- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 5, 2021
"He destroyed us. That's what it is. He had a hell of a game and that's what he does," Dallas star Luka Doncic said postgame.
It wasnt just on the offensive end where Leonard put in the work, with his primary defensive assignment to quell the impact of Doncic. Finishing with 29 points, eight rebounds and 11 assists, Doncic was still a major factor, but he was forced to work hard to his point, recording an 11-for-24 shooting mark.
"He still played a pretty good game. He's very dominant, very skilled, plays at his own pace so all I could do was try stay in front of him as much as possible," Leonard said of the matchup.
LA Clippers head coach Ty Lue revealed that Leonard wanted the matchup on Doncic with the season on the line.
"It takes a lot because Luka has the ball in his hands 90 percent of the time, he's the head of the snake," Lue said.
"With Kawhi taking that challenge and playing 42 minutes tonight, he didn't really seem tired. It looked like he was great with the performance he had but we got to get our rest tonight and recover as best as possible.
The win set up a Game 7 at STAPLES Center, with the home team yet to pick up a win through the first six games of the series for the first time in NBA history. A two-time champion, Lue believes the experience of Leonard will help calm the locker room.
"They lean on Kawhi a lot, he's been through it, he understands what it takes. Just his poise and his approach, we're going to be fine."
As for Kawhi, the approach for Game 7 is simple. Play basketball.
"You don't want to go home. It's something that I had young. Always wantting to win the game, to try and exert my will on the floor and my teammates had the same mentality," Leonard said.
"Make sure we keep fighting, don't give up you don't know what could happen, have faith, work hard, have fun, that's all you can do."
"It's just a basketball game. If we don't want to go home, pay attention to the details, if you do that you can live with the results. Go out there and leave it all on the floor."
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