Kawhi Leonard Joins Kobe Bryant in Unique Record Cruising Through First Round of Playoffs

Published 06/07/2021, 1:30 AM EDT
Jun 6, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) reacts during the second half in game seven of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


After a long and intense seven-game series, the LA Clippers finally triumphed over the Dallas Mavericks. Clearly, the Clippers didn’t have a cakewalk, but Kawhi Leonard, as usual, carried the team on his back.

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LA’s only team in the playoffs is now headed towards the Western Conference semifinals against the top-seeded Utah Jazz.

Kawhi is a miracle worker on both ends of the floor. Despite being ruthlessly bashed for their early exit last season against the Nuggets, Leonard and Paul George’s partnership worked brilliantly against the Mavericks’ lone hero, Luka Doncic.

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The biggest advantage for the Clippers was that they had far more scorers on their roster than Dallas. So, even though Doncic scored almost as much as PG and Kawhi in total, it wasn’t enough. Doncic’s 46 point performance seemed to have gotten lost in the Clippers being the better team as a whole.

However, this series came with some epic results. Leonard’s leadership came with him posting an incredibly unique record in the series as well. After his 28 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists, 4 steals, and 0 turnovers, Statmuse revealed, “He is the 2nd player with a 25/10/5 game on 0 turnovers in a Game 7 since 1983. The other was Kobe Bryant in 2002.”

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Can Kawhi Leonard do it again?

Leonard’s electric performances shocked nobody. He has scored 20+ points in each game, which also included his stellar 45 points that he scored in Game 6 that helped them avoid the elimination.

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At first, shots were already being fired when the Clippers lost the first two games. Old narratives were brought up and the Mavericks seemed the obvious team to advance to Round 2. This franchise has never made it to the conference finals, and they will be heading to break that streak now.

Jun 6, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) moves in for a basket against Dallas Mavericks center Kristaps Porzingis (6) and center Boban Marjanovic (51) during the second half in game seven of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

However, the Utah Jazz is no Mavericks. They have been the top team in the Western Conference throughout the season and with Donovan Mitchell‘s form, LA has a lot to worry about. But if Kawhi can show up like this again, they still have a shot.

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To be able to add his name next to a legend like Kobe Bryant is an achievement in itself. If that gets paired with more success this season, nothing more like it.

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Yashima Bhatia

1476 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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