'Watching great players' key to Kawhi Leonard's masterclass
Kawhi Leonard said "watching great players" in his secret to staying cool under pressure after guiding the Toronto Raptors to a series-levelling victory against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Leonard continued his remarkable NBA playoff form with 39 points and 14 rebounds in Sunday's 101-96 win over the 76ers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
The 2014 NBA champion Finals MVP is averaging a staggering 38 points and nine rebounds per game against the 76ers in the second-round series.
Reflecting on his performances, Leonard told reporters: "Just really growing up and learning from players.
"Watching great players. Seeing how they control the game and play at their own speed. Not trying to be rushed by the defender.
"But I was fortunate enough to be on some pretty good teams early. So, I was able to see defenses, go on deep playoff runs and pretty much establish that early. I feel like that probably helped me out."
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 5, 2019
31 Pts // 11 Reb // 4 3PM pic.twitter.com/I7TQbiCxi0
Leonard's playoff displays have been a step up from what was arguably his best regular season to date.
But, Leonard needed help to even the series at 2-2, and he got that in Game 4 in Philadelphia.
Four of his team-mates reached double-digit scoring totals and Serge Ibaka stepped up after an uncharacteristically poor night from Pascal Siakam.
"It was pretty obvious we needed some punch around the roster," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. "I just thought it was a different mentality tonight."
The second-seeded Raptors have the chance to take the series lead in Toronto on Tuesday.