The Portland Trail Blazers are out of the playoffs but they did get to the Western Conference Finals, and one of the reasons they were so competitive and Games 3 and 4 against the Golden State Warriors was Meyers Leonard. He pretty much could not be stopped in the first half, and Leonard finished with 30 points and 12 rebounds, smashing home five 3-pointers.
Leonard got it going early thanks to the Blazers offense sharing the ball and making the right read. Cutters reacted to help defenders properly, and hockey assists put Leonard on the board early.
It helped that Leonard wasn’t shy about pulling the trigger, which is always a question of concern for him. Golden State dared Moe Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu to shoot all series long, but when they did the same thing against Leonard, it backfired on them.
Leonard petered out in the second half, partly due to his defenders staying higher and tighter on him and partly because Portland’s wing players made poorer decisions with the ball when he was open.
When Leonard was above the 3-point line in the second half, his defender no longer sagged into the lane, instead staying tight on him so he couldn’t get any space for 3-point buckets.
Eventually the Warriors began to fully switch the 1-5 pick-and-roll with Leonard and Damian Lillard, putting Kevon Looney onto the Blazers PG and Klay Thompson on Leonard. That stalled his progress a little bit as well.
Leonard's Game 4 might not be remembered the way it would have had Portland won, but it's an example of what he can bring to the table and why management has been willing to stick with him for so long.
Watch the full video breakdown above to re-live the best game of Meyers Leonard's career.
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