1. Kawhi Leonard was sensational … again
The Toronto Raptors superstar had his seventh game of 35 or more points in this postseason run, third-most all-time in the NBA. He had one of his most complete games, finishing with a career-high nine assists.
Leonard had 15 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter, including four straight makes that helped turn his team’s deficit into a lead. He locked down Milwaukee’s best player in Giannis, all while dealing with a mysterious leg(s) injury. All nine of his assists led to a made 3-pointer, mostly from FVV. In total, Leonard was responsible for 62 of the team’s 105 points.
His supporting cast showed up for him for the second straight game, pushing through their shooting woes and being locked in defensively. Leonard’s biggest strength is on the defensive end, where he had two steals on the night. What may have been the most impressive non-statistical factor that severely impacted the game was how Leonard set the tempo for the game.
Normally the point guard would set the tone for the team. Kyle Lowry was also great, chipping in 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists, but in the fourth quarter, he didn’t check back into the game until roughly the seven-minute mark. That was due to Leonard controlling the pace, FVV shooting lights out, and Siakam, Powell and Gasol being so great defensively.
Leonard has averaged 30.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.2 steals per game in this series. He’s been without a doubt the best player from either team. His play has consistently elevated his teammates’ confidence and focus defensively. With Leonard’s “lead by example” method, Lowry’s vocal leadership, the team’s collective strong defensive play and the offensive support from the bench, the Raptors have a real great chance at advancing to the 2019 NBA Finals.