It’s hard to steal the show when you play on a team with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili, but Kawhi Leonard did just that last night.
Leonard was brilliant for the Spurs in their Game 3 win last night, dropping 29 points while shooting over 75% from the field. No, that shooting percentage isn’t a typo. Leonard became just the third player in NBA history to score 29 or more points in a Finals game before their 23rd birthday. The other two players to accomplish the feat? Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant.
29 points isn’t just Leonard’s new career high for points scored in an NBA game -- it’s the most points he’s scored in a game since high school.
Leonard drained threes, drove to the rim, and played stellar defense on his historically efficient night.
"I just was in attack mode," Leonard said after the game. "Trying to be aggressive early. Just knocking down a couple of shots got me going. My teammates found me. They did a good job of getting me involved."
Here’s every point from Leonard’s breakout performance:
Leonard’s strong night shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. He was a very solid player for the Spurs this year, his third season in the league. He didn’t shoot much, but when he did, he was one of the more efficient scorers in the NBA. He averaged 1.08 points per possession this season, good for 15th in the league.
As the Spurs big three continue to age, Leonard will become more and more of focal point in San Antonio. Given what he already produces with limited opportunities, don’t be surprised if he’s talked about as one of the better players in the league in a few years.