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Meyers Leonard offers advice to Blazers for Game 4 vs. Warriors — ‘Have pride’

Meyers Leonard, Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers center Meyers Leonard has hardly been a focal component of head coach Terry Stotts’ rotations this season. The former first-round draft pick averaged just 14.4 minutes per game in 61 appearances for the Blazers this season, and he has been averaging 13.0 minutes these playoffs

Yet Leonard was named a surprise starter in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, and he seized the opportunity. The 26-year-old scored 12 points in the first half that saw the Blazers jump out to a 13-point lead.

Leonard made all three of his shot attempts in the second quarter and converted on a pair of 3-pointers, providing some much-needed offensive firepower as stars Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum continued to struggle from the perimeter.

Now, on the brink of elimination, Leonard was vocal about Portland’s need to give their very best effort in order to prolong the series. He told Dwight Jaynes of NBC Sports Northwest what the approach needs to be for Portland in Game 4.

“Have pride,” he said. “Simple as that. You know, we can easily just say, well, we’re down 0-3, no one else has ever done it, why not just get to the summer?

“That’s not who we are. That’s not, certainly not our mindset. And we have a group of guys that really care and love to win, and so we’re going to come out tomorrow night and we’re going to fight and we’re going to give them a really good effort.”

As unlikely as a comeback would be, the Blazers have shown that they can lay with the Warriors. In fact, Portland led by at least 18 points in both Games 2 and 3 before squandering those leads.

Expect the gritty Blazers to fight tooth and nail right down to the final second.