The San Antonio Spurs secured a win in Game 3 on Friday night after crushing the Los Angeles Clippers behind 32 points from Kawhi Leonard.
Leonard won the Defensive Player of the Year award earlier this week, but he showed on Friday that he isn’t a one-dimensional player as he led the offense for his team impressively.
Point guard Tony Parker spoke earlier in the season about how the team is making the transition to the 23-year-old, and on the basis of this performance, they are undoubtedly in safe hands.
It was a post-season career-high for Leonard as the Spurs never trailed to go 2-1 up in the series, while the Clippers scored a franchise post-season low as they were forced to shoot just 34 percent from the field.
Elsewhere, both the Houston Rockets and the Washington Wizards are now just one game away from making the Conference semi-finals after defeating the Dallas Mavericks and Toronto Raptors respectively.
John Wall put up 19 points and 15 assists on the night while Paul Pierce hit a dagger 3-pointer with 16.3 seconds remaining and repeated his talk from last year by insisting, “That’s why I’m here”, as he crushed the Raptors’ hopes for a second consecutive season.
Now trailing 3-0, Toronto will need to pull something special out the bag in order to avoid a series sweep with Game 4 taking place on Sunday.
Meanwhile, James Harden scored a playoff career-high 42 points while Dwight Howard had a post-season best of 26 rebounds to lead the Rockets to a sensational win over the Mavs in a high-scoring affair.
Monta Ellis had a playoff career-high 34 points to match Dirk Nowitzki, but it still wasn’t enough for the hosts who are now staring a first-round exit in the face with a loss in Game 4 ending their post-season campaign.
Houston Rockets 130-128 Dallas Mavericks
Toronto Raptors 99-106 Washington Wizards
Los Angeles Clippers 73-100 San Antonio Spurs