Fred VanVleet says Kawhi Leonard hitting two ‘F— you’ shots is what changed their second half
Although the Toronto Raptors came away with a Game 4 victory last night in the NBA Finals, they entered halftime down to the Golden State Warriors. A huge third-quarter run, however, helped them pull away and bring the Warriors to the brink of elimination. According to Fred VanVleet, it was two Kawhi Leonard shots that helped kick things off.
What changed in the second half? VanVleet: "Kawhi Leonard came out and hit two eff-you shots."
— (((Eric Koreen))) (@ekoreen) June 8, 2019
“There’s no defense for that, there’s no scheme for that,” he continued, per Eric Koreen of The Athletic. “Just two big boy shots, two back-to-back threes that just kind of let you know how we were going to approach the third quarter and the rest of the half.”
The two shots that VanVleet is referring to were consecutive threes that Leonard hit in the opening seconds of the third. At the time, the Raptors were trailing Golden State 46-42, but Leonard’s two threes – both pull-ups in transition – gave the team a 48-46 lead, and while the Warriors were able to make a run and keep things evenly matched, it was that initial spark by Leonard that helped the Raptors throughout the game.
As the Raptors are now one win away from their first NBA Championship in franchise history, it was multiple moments like Leonard’s threes that kept them afloat. During various times in the game, the Warriors looked primed to begin their typical onslaught of points. However, the Raptors never panicked, and always managed to keep their cool and hit a shot.
It is this level of calmness that Leonard brings to the team, and it’s clearly rubbed off on everyone, as they now look poised to finally deliver a championship to one of the most rabid and loyal fanbases in the NBA.