Kawhi Leonard’s Late Game Heroics Push Series to a Decisive Game 7
Kawhi Leonard refused to go out like that.
The former two-time NBA Finals MVP was simply unstoppable as he “destroyed” the Dallas Mavericks down the stretch in the fourth quarter to assure the Los Angeles Clippers would have a shot of winning the series in a decisive Game 7.
“It’s just based on the mentality,” said Leonard, who scored 12 of his game-high 45 points in the final frame. “Definitely, you don’t want to go home.”
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Leonard come up big in a critical moment. Hitting 18-of-25 shots, Leonard had historic playoff moments just a couple of years ago as a member of the Toronto Raptors. At this point, his ability to come up clutch when the pressure mounts cannot be questioned.
“Just something that I had young, always wanting to win the game, to try to exert my will on the floor,” Leonard said of his mentality. “And my teammates had the same mentality. So that’s what I tried to [instill] with them now to make sure that we keep fighting, don’t give up, and you never know what could happen. Just have faith and then play hard, have fun. That’s all you can do.”
Aside from Leonard, Reggie Jackson stepped up for the Clippers in a big way, finishing the game with 25 points and nine rebounds. Meanwhile, Paul George added 20 points and 13 rebounds of his own in the win.
“It was a Game 7 before the Game 7 for us,” said George.
On the Mavericks side, Luka Doncic did everything he could to close out the series. The young Mavericks phenom scored 29 points on 11-for-24 shooting, dished out 11 assists and grabbed eight boards. Tim Hardaway added 23 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Clippers held Kristaps Porzingis at bay in a must-win game.
“It’s OK, we’re still motivated,” said Doncic in his postgame press conference. “There’s no reason we can’t win. We have to believe. It’s Game 7, doesn’t matter where you are.”
The series will come to an end on Sunday afternoon as the Mavericks will now head back to Los Angeles for Game 7.