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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Kawhi Leonard was at his two-way finest in Clippers’ season-saving Sport 6 win

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There was no higher approach to say it. When requested about Kawhi Leonard’s efficiency within the Clippers’ Sport 6 win over the Mavericks on Friday night time, Dallas star Luka Doncic supplied a brief, however extraordinarily correct, response.

“I imply, he destroyed us,” Doncic stated. “That is what it’s. He had a hell of a recreation. That is what he does.”

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Leonard was surgical in Los Angeles’ 104-97 win, scoring 45 factors on 18-of-25 capturing with six rebounds, three assists and two steals in 42 minutes of motion. He turned simply the fourth participant in NBA playoff historical past to attain 45 factors whereas capturing no less than 70 % from the sphere when dealing with elimination.

The 2-time NBA Finals MVP hit massive shot after massive shot within the second half, refusing to let Doncic and the Mavs ship his squad into the offseason.  

Leonard in Sport 6 PTS FG-FGA 3PT-3PTA FT-FTA
First half 16 7-11 1-3 1-1
Second half 29 11-14 4-6 3-3

It wasn’t simply Leonard’s brutal effectivity that made the distinction, although. He accepted the problem of being the first defender towards Doncic, who nonetheless scored 29 factors and dished out 11 assists however needed to work for his offense (11 of 24 from the sphere, 2 of 9 from 3-point vary).

“Nice gamers carry out in massive moments,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue stated. “He was enormous, man, taking the problem, guarding Luka the entire recreation. . . . Performed 42 minutes and guarded their finest participant. He was a hell of a participant for the entire recreation. That simply exhibits you who Kawhi Leonard is.”

The job is not carried out but, in fact. The Clippers should now defeat the Mavericks in Sport 7 in the event that they wish to advance to the convention semifinals, no small process contemplating the brilliance of Doncic and the truth that, for the primary time in NBA playoff historical past, the highway group has received the primary six video games of the collection.

Los Angeles shall be seeking to exorcise the playoff demons of final season when it blew a 3-1 lead towards Denver within the “bubble” and have become the laughingstock of the NBA. Paul George acquired the worst of the ridicule, however Leonard was very a lot a part of that collapse, going 14 of 40 within the remaining two losses of the 2019-20 season. Leonard went on a legendary championship run with the Raptors, however he has struggled in clutch moments since becoming a member of the Clippers in 2019, together with an ugly air ball on the finish of Sport 5.

There have been no such struggles in Sport 6. Los Angeles will want that model of Leonard yet another time, and Lue expects to see him on Sunday.

“We will lean on Kawhi rather a lot as a result of he is been by means of it,” Lue stated. “He understands what it takes. Simply his poise and his method, we will be nice.”



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