TORONTO – Kawhi Leonard was ousted on Saturday after defeating the 108-1 game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, just three minutes behind in the fourth quarter. By this time, he had made 16 of the 23 shots he had tried and 10 out of 11 free throws to bring his total score to 45 points.
It was a playoff high for the Toronto Raptors superstar most of what he had achieved in a game of his NBA career.
Leonard said he wished he had been taken out of the game earlier.
"I tried to leave the game before it reached that point." Leonard said after his team had taken the lead 1-0 in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. "We were 20 points, probably five minutes to go, and I have already looked at the bank and tried to get them to get me out of the game."
One or two minutes, and Leonard could have steered some Kevin Durant, who had pumped 50 points for the Golden State Warriors on Friday. A few more shots, and he could have joined Vince Carter as the only Raptors scoring 50 points in a post-season game. Instead, he decided to be one of two Raptors to score over 40 points in the playoffs.
The victory, he claimed, was good enough.
"This individual stuff is not great for me," Leonard said. "To achieve these goals, it's great if you do it and you could win, but our focus is any game that tries to win the ball game, so we play this game, we do not play, so I could score 50 points score or get 40 points, we're all in this team and try to say, "Raptors win at the end of the day."
Leonard's offensive attack started early when he scored 17 points in the first quarter at 7: 9-shot scored and Toronto led in the opening picture by 14. His breakout – the 17 points which were his personal best for most points in a playoff quarter – helped to exorcise the Raptors' Game 1 playoff demons, as the franchise was in 2: 14 in series and in Series went.
Pascal Siakam, who scored 29 points in 12:15 shooting, was on hand with Leonard, scoring 17 points in the first quarter in 7: 9. It was the first time that two teammates scored 15 points or more in the first quarter of a match over the last 15 post-seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
"Obviously, if Kawhi knows you, too, he'll attract some attention and open the field for me," Siakam said.
At one point in time, the Raptors met 13 consecutive field-hit attempts as a team in the first trimester, making it the winners' longest series in franchise postseason history. Leonard and Siakam combined for eleven of these brands.
"He is a spectacular player and he had a spectacular night and he has made spectacular strikes," said the 76er guard JJ Redick when asked about Leonard. "He's a superstar, he's as good as it is in the NBA to make his own shot and hit hard, sometimes you just have to put your hat on them, I'm not going into the plan we had, but I think we can do a little better on our schedule, and of course we need to figure out what to do with him and Siakam. "
The Raptors were surprised that Leonard saw so many separate reports against Philadelphia. Jimmy Butler started the game against him, and when Ben Simmons got the job, Leonard was already rolling.
"Personally, I've done a pretty good job overall, but he's a strong player, he's a heavy player, he's Kawhi." Simmons said. "He's a physical guy, very tall and can shoot the ball, so he's a tough guy to keep up with."
But as a team?
"I do not think we showed enough help." Simmons said about defending the Sixers against Leonard.
Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said Simmons could play more against Leonard in Match 2 on Monday but he still wants a combination of Simmons, Butler and Tobias Harris on the Leonard-Siakam pairing.
"Can we see more about Kawhi [Simmons]? Maybe," Brown said. "Maybe we need to better support some of the others and help them with masses of people, with the intentions of several defensive players on Kawhi from that group that I just said."
Meanwhile, the Toronto Tandem of Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka has been incredibly successful with Joel Embiid, holding the Philadelphia man at 16:18 in a 5-18 shooting.
"It's extremely important because he can do many things and play a game, he can be wild, it was great," said Nick Nurse, Raptors coach, embraid. I thought we wanted him to have the ball a little farther away than he possibly wanted a couple of times, I thought we were going to push the paint a little bit, which makes it look a little tight there he was not so comfortable for him. "
And Leonard gave the home team the comfort of a 1-0 lead.
"I think that might not be surprising, but it's good tonight," Sister said. "That was another great achievement at both ends, I like the power he plays at both ends, but especially when he gets the ball, he pushes him to the ground, he hits the gaps with power, he is to be determined. " to rooms.
"I think I should not be surprised, but it was pretty cool to see this night."