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Kawhi Leonard keeps Raptors’ season alive with Game 3 win despite leg issues


by Janiel Abby Toralba

Not for the first time this season, Kawhi Leonard saved the Toronto Raptors from going home empty-handed with a Game 3 victory in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals series against the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday (Manila time), 118-112 in a double overtime game. The series is now at 2-1, thanks to Leonard’s heroics.

Playing a career-high 52 minutes, Leonard exploded with 36 points, nine rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block, making him truly unstoppable in Game 3.

“It’s playoff basketball,” Leonard said. “I want to win. … We’re still here. Nobody wants to go home. We’re going to keep striving to reach that goal. That’s what I pride myself on, both ends of the floor.”

Yet, another concern is on the line for Leonard. In the first quarter of the game, Leonard limped awkwardly after hitting a layup. Fans are worried whether he could be at his 100% best for Game 4.

“I’m good,” Leonard reassured. “I’m just going to keep fighting. … Fifty-two minutes and it’s the playoffs. You definitely feel. When you play 30 minutes, you feel it. Just got to not worry about it and get my treatment and move on to the next one.”

He could be downplaying his pain, but no one can convince Leonard to take things easy in this crucial time. Everybody knows that The Klaw is in his zone now, and the Raptors need him now more than ever. Leonard himself said that he’s “enjoying my time” and “just putting it all together”. The Raptors are definitely going to rely on him to bring the team to its first ever NBA Finals appearance in their franchise history.