Kawhi Leonard is living up to the hype as a playoff beast for Raptors

May 1 2019, 2:04 am

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Kawhi Leonard was brought to the Toronto Raptors for one purpose: win in the postseason.

After years of great regular seasons followed by playoff failures by the Raptors, Kawhi came to Toronto with a reputation. “Playoff Kawhi” is a term that has been coined to refer to how Leonard elevates his game at this time of year.

After a five-game series win over the Orlando Magic and two great individual performances against the Philadelphia 76ers, Kawhi has lived up to the hype and then some.

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As the graphic below illustrates, Leonard takes his game to another level when the postseason begins – unlike anyone else in the game.

Leonard’s career true shooting percentage in the playoffs is significantly higher than his regular season numbers, an outlier when compared to the NBA’s top talent.

 

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Simply put, he is one of the only players in the NBA that becomes a better scorer when the postseason begins.

In seven playoff games this year, Leonard is statistically having the best run of his career averaging 31.3 points per game on 57.7% shooting along with 7.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.3 steals per game.

That run includes a new career playoff high of 45 points scored in Game 1 against the 76ers. He followed that up with another impressive night, scoring 35 points in Game 2.

He’s currently tied for first with Kevin Durant in field goals made (79), third in points per game (31.3), and third in true shooting percentage (.696)

In doing so, he is already etching his name in the Raptors record books.

But he hasn’t stopped there, Leonard currently stands alone as having the best playoff true shooting percentage in NBA history.

After having his minutes closely monitored during the regular season, Leonard has been fully unleashed in the first and second rounds. He’s been everything Raptors fans have hoped for as the team tries to make their first ever NBA Finals appearance.

Leonard has shown that he is more than capable of putting the team on his back, he just needs his teammates to put up their fair share of scoring as well.

With their playoff series tied at 1-1 and heading back to Philadelphia, Leonard looks to keep his hot streak going to help the Raptors get back in the win column. Tip off is Thursday night at 8 pm ET.


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