Blazers video: Meyers Leonard explodes for career-high 25 points in first half of Game 4
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Blazers’ Meyers Leonard explodes for career-high 25 points in first half of Game 4

Meyers Leonard

Meyers Leonard is probably anonymous to all casual NBA fans, and even some more ardent followers of the league may not be all that familiar with his game. After the first half of Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, though, the Portland Trail Blazers big man was the talk of the basketball world for a performance that made him seem like an unstoppable offensive force.

Leonard, who also started and played well in Game 3, poured in 25 points during the first half of Monday’s contest – a career-high not just in his seven-year professional career, but also dating back to his days at the University of Illinois. He went 10-of-12 from the field overall, shooting over the top of smaller players on switches in the paint, and connected on 5-of-6 from beyond the arc, taking full advantage of the wholesale attention Golden State paid to Damian Lillard and, a to a lesser extent, C.J. McCollum.

The hulking seven-footer wasn’t just a standstill marksman in the first half, though. He also pulled out a step-back three-pointer from the right wing as the second-quarter game clocked ticked toward zero, putting an exclamation point on what it’s safe to say is the best half of basketball he’s ever played in his life.

Unfortunately for Meyers Leonard, Portland wasn’t able to keep Golden State in enough check on the other end for his performance to spark a big lead. The Blazers lead the Warriors 69-65 at halftime, as Steph Curry matched Leonard with 25 points of his own.

If Portland, trailing 3-0 in the Western Conference Finals, wants to keep its season alive, the team may need Leonard to sustain this performance after halftime. We’ll find out soon if he’s up to the challenge.