In preparation for Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday, NBA superstar Kawhi Leonard and his Toronto Raptors teammates practiced on Saturday in the sprawling Ontario city.
It was business as usual for the Raptors star. The daily grind defines his game.
This postseason, though, has been anything but ordinary for the small forward. Now in his eighth NBA season, Leonard has elevated his game to certifiable Hall of Fame-caliber play.
He’s never played better than in this 22-game playoff stretch entering Game 5.
Consider the facts: He is the playoff leader in minutes, field goals, field-goal attempts, 2-point field goals, 2-point field-goal attempts, field goals missed and free throws as well as free-throw attempts (200), total rebounds (200), steals (36) and total points (684).
Leonard is averaging 31.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 9.1 free-throw attempts during the playoffs.
Everything he’s done before in his hoop career has helped him to reach this grand stage again. It’s fascinating to see how he’s figured out how to become a more well-rounded player. Subtle adjustments, really.
Yet despite the platitudes that have come his way and the increased media attention, Leonard doesn’t seek out individual glory.
As a throng of reporters peppered him with questions on Saturday, the NBA superstar reminded the world’s press about that fact.
Exhibit A: “I’m wondering after a game when you’re looking at a box score in this series, what are the stats you’re looking at that jump out to you to tell you that the team has played a good game?” a reporter asked.
“Looking at rebounds, turnovers and field-goal percentage for each team,” Leonard declared. “Obviously, points in the paint and just seeing what were the runs. That’s pretty much it. But the big three things that I look at are turnovers and rebounds and field-goal percentage.”