Leonard praises James, but is ready for the challenge in the NBA Finals.
San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard has had a significant break since his last bit of action on a basketball court, after his team swept the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference Finals.
The 21-year-old watched on Monday night, as the Miami Heat dominated the Indiana Pacers to clinch a 4-3 series win and set up a Finals date with the Spurs beginning on Thursday.
While some players would be nervous at the prospect of having to defend the reigning NBA Finals MVP and two-time league MVP who is averaging 26.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.4 assists in the playoffs, Leonard can’t wait to get started.
“It’s just a great challenge for me to try to help my team by playing good defense on him [LeBron James]. I just accept the challenge and am ready to play,” he told the media as reported by ESPN.
The Spurs have done an impressive job of limiting their opponents in the postseason thus far, with the likes of Stephen Curry and Zach Randolph falling way below their regular season averages in their respective series with San Antonio.
However, coach Gregg Popovich will appreciate the danger posed by Miami, who have scoring options across the roster and as a result will require close attention from all concerned.
Intense defensive work coupled with execution on the offensive end has ensured the Spurs return to the Finals in a strong position to reclaim their crown. It will take a huge effort for them to deny the defending champions consecutive championships, but Leonard is certainly ready to do his part.