Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo may take pointers from the Los Angeles Clippers‘ Kawhi Leonard when it comes to rallying a team from a significant series deficit.
In 2019, when Leonard was still playing for the Toronto Raptors, his squad found themselves in an 0-2 hole against Giannis and the Bucks. Milwaukee was the league’s best regular-season team at the time while Leonard was only in his first and only year with Toronto.
Those circumstances weren’t enough to derail Leonard’s confidence, though. Appearing in an episode of the “All The Smoke” podcast, Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Phil Handy, who was on the Raptors’ bench in 2019, recalled a moment where Leonard’s voice turned out to be the series-altering factor.
Nick Nurse: We'll make some adjustments in Toronto
Kawhi: Coach, I AM in the adjustment 😤
Phil Handy went on 'All The Smoke' and detailed a locker room exchange after Game 2 vs. Milwaukee in 2019 pic.twitter.com/KkXg0xnfwd
— Yahoo Sports Canada (@YahooCASports) June 17, 2021
Kawhi Leonard is a man of few words. He lets his play do all the talking. So when he decided to take it upon himself to stop Antetokounmpo, who was also the MVP at the time, one can only imagine the effect it had on his Raptors teammates. Those six words from the Klaw eventually led to an NBA title for Toronto.
Leonard, as of this writing, is deemed unlikely to play in the Clippers’ remaining games against the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference semifinals due to an ACL injury. They’ll rely heavily on Paul George and his Playoff P persona to reach the next stage where Leonard could see the court again.
It’s difficult for Leonard to be relegated to the background in this type of situation. But with the Clippers’ roster being depleted, the team could use a few extra words from the fun guy.