Doc Rivers lauds ‘phenomenal’ Kawhi Leonard as Clippers advance in NBA playoffs

Doc Rivers hailed Kawhi Leonard after the Clippers star helped lead the workforce into the second spherical of the NBA playoffs.

Leonard posted a double-double because the Clippers defeated the Dallas Mavericks 111-97 to seal a Four-2 collection win within the Western Convention first spherical on Sunday.

A two-time champion after guiding the Raptors to their first title final season, Leonard completed with 33 factors and 14 rebounds in Recreation 6 at Walt Disney World Resort.

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Clippers coach Rivers heaped reward on the two-time Finals MVP following his exploits within the collection in opposition to the Mavericks.

“Kawhi was phenomenal all through this complete collection,” Rivers informed reporters. “I believed he was dominant after which PG (Paul George) picked it up vastly after the primary two video games.

“However there’s so many different little issues that guys — I believed that Marcus [Morris] all through was not solely only a good participant however he was an instigator. [Ivica] Zubac had the playoff of his life. [Landry] Shamet and Reggie [Jackson] makes massive pictures. I favored how we regarded in that approach; that different guys contributed.”

Leonard had his fifth consecutive recreation with 30-plus factors for the Clippers, who will face the Jazz or Nuggets within the subsequent spherical.

He additionally recorded seven assists and 5 steals because the Clippers eradicated Luka Doncic and the Mavericks, and he turned the primary participant in franchise historical past to publish a minimum of 30 factors and 5 steals in a playoff conflict.

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“You possibly can inform he was the one man that shoots to shut out a collection. He [Leonard] was calm. He bought us in place,” Rivers mentioned. “You already know, throughout video games you fall on a set and we fell on that low elbow set for him. We simply took what was there. They did not come; he scored. In the event that they got here, he made the precise go.

“I mentioned it earlier than the sport, I feel I used to be speaking to [ESPN analyst] P.J. Carlesimo and I used to be telling him, the one factor I did not know — I knew he might go and I knew he could also be a very good passer. I did not know he was an elite passer, and that is one thing you do not know till you coach a man.”

The Clippers managed to see off the Mavericks regardless of a game-high 38 factors, 9 rebounds and 9 assists from Doncic.

“That is playoff basketball and the whole lot just isn’t going to go your approach,” Leonard mentioned. “You are going to have downs and ups. Simply bought to maintain enjoying.”

Trying forward within the postseason, Leonard added: “Simply bought to focus. That is what we bought to do. Much less errors for positive, and extra execution.”

“It is one step nearer to the place we wish to get to, so it is a good accomplishment that we bought by the primary spherical, now we take pleasure in it tonight and we prepare for the subsequent factor [Monday],” he mentioned.

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