Raptors’ Marc Gasol proud of Kawhi Leonard after star plays career-high 52 minutes in Game win over Bucks
Kawhi Leonard persevered through a leg injury, despite having to trot out the most minutes of his career in a double-overtime showdown victory against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 3. The Toronto Raptors were determined to defend home court after going down 2-0 to the top-seeded team in the league — something that wouldn’t be possible without Leonard’s career-high 52 minutes on the floor, something Marc Gasol knows very well.
“I thought when he needed to make plays he made amazing plays on both ends of the floor. I’m proud of him for pushing through it,” Gasol said of Leonard, according to Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun. “That’s all I can say. Now I want him obviously to get on ice for 48 hours and get ready for Game 4.”
The Raptors will face a quick turnaround in this series, getting back on the proverbial horse less than 48 hours after finishing this exhausting Game 3, hoping to even out the series.
Asked if he’s ever played 52 minutes before, the Raptors star quickly deadpanned.
“I think you know that I haven’t,” said Leonard, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN.
Does it feel like it?
“Definitely,” said Leonard, who had been on a careful load management program all season long. Y”eah, I mean it’s 52 minutes and it’s in the playoffs so you definitely feel it.”
Leonard seemed to be favoring his right leg throughout the game after an early left leg injury in Game 3, but the Raptors star didn’t make much of it moving forward.
“I’m just going to keep fighting, keep playing,” he said.
Toronto has a pivotal Game 4 on Tuesday, one they must win to keep themselves afloat this series and avoid a difficult 3-1 hole heading back to Milwaukee for the back end of this Eastern Conference Finals.