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SportRaptors’ Kawhi Leonard hopes to shake bitter Oracle memory

15:50  25 may  2019
15:50  25 may  2019 Source:   sfchronicle.com

Last-second shot lifts Raptors over Sixers in Game 7

Last-second shot lifts Raptors over Sixers in Game 7 Last-second shot lifts Raptors over Sixers in Game 7

Kawhi Anthony Leonard (/kəˈwaɪ/, born June 29, 1991) is an American professional basketball player for the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

The Toronto Raptors appear to have improved their odds of re-signing Kawhi Leonard as the season has progressed. Leonard appeared to prefer a trade to either the Los Angeles Clippers or " Kawhi Leonard just felt all along, it was going to take the full year to sell him on Toronto," said Wojnarowski.

Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard hopes to shake bitter Oracle memory
Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard hopes to shake bitter Oracle memory

As each day passes in the NBA’s Eastern Conference finals, Kawhi Leonard gets a bit closer to Oakland. Redemption at Oracle. He can almost taste it now.

Raptors outlast Bucks in 2OT for Game 3 win

Raptors outlast Bucks in 2OT for Game 3 win Raptors outlast Bucks in 2OT for Game 3 win

The Raptors might not have the cachet of the Lakers or the SoCal location of the Clippers, but they have a head start. Toronto has one year to sell Kawhi Leonard on the future of the franchise. Courting Kawhi : Can the Raptors Sell Their Star on a Future in Toronto?

In the blockbuster trade that sent Kawhi Leonard to the Raptors in exchange for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a protected first-round pick, we all Leonard , who hits free agency next summer, reportedly has no interest in playing in Toronto. Even if he is healthy and motivated, the Raptors —still

The last time we saw Leonard at a Warriors home game, it was Game 1 of the 2017 Western Conference finals, the night he injured his left ankle in that incident with Zaza Pachulia and was lost for the remainder of the series — after racking up 26 points and eight rebounds in 24 dominant minutes.

The San Antonio Spurs eventually blew a 25-point lead in that game, and they never recovered. Neither did Leonard, at least not with that franchise. He played just nine games last season, wound up being traded to Toronto after a long and mysteriously contentious episode over the state of his health, and now he’s staking his claim as the best player in the world — today, as we speak. Toronto holds a 3-2 lead over Milwaukee heading into Saturday night’s Game 6 on the Raptors’ floor, and as the Warriors watch this series from afar, they have to be blown away by Leonard’s command of the proceedings.

Raptors roll as Kawhi Leonard limps through Game 4 win over Bucks

Raptors roll as Kawhi Leonard limps through Game 4 win over Bucks Raptors roll as Kawhi Leonard limps through Game 4 win over Bucks

Storyline: Kawhi Leonard to Raptors . 34 rumors in this storyline. Leonard , who is 27 and entering a contract year, should emerge as the best individual player in franchise history if he can fully recover from a quad injury that limited him to nine games last season.

Kawhi Leonard - Career stats, game logs, biographical info, awards, and achievements for the NBA and NCAA. College Basketball at Sports-Reference.com. Compare Kawhi Leonard to other players. 2018-19 Raptors .

(Toronto played one game in Oakland this season, on Dec. 12, and Leonard was inactive.)

In the Eastern Conference playoffs long known for titanic individual showdowns — from Bill Russell-Wilt Chamberlain to Larry Bird-Julius Erving to Isiah Thomas-Bernard King — we’re getting a vintage chapter with Leonard squaring off against the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo. The series seemed effectively over when Milwaukee stormed to a 2-0 lead at home, and Leonard appeared to be the only Toronto player mentally equipped to handle the pressure.

How things have changed. Leonard is hurt once again, limping noticeably on his left leg, to the point where it becomes hard to watch. He seems to be pretending the pain and discomfort do not exist. He will take the big shots (35 points in Game 5). He’ll become a playmaker for teammates gaining confidence each game. He’ll grab vital offensive rebounds with his massive hands. And as the best two-way player in basketball, he’ll take it upon himself to guard Antetokounmpo, always with a lot of help.

Kawhi Leonard free agency rumors: Star may accept short-term deal from Raptors

Kawhi Leonard free agency rumors: Star may accept short-term deal from Raptors Leonard can opt out of his contract and become a free agent after this season's over. Per TrueHoop: "Of course, he's about to become a free agent. And because of that, as the media you might expect to hear sunny things about Kawhi's return from Raptors sources eager to tamp down the impression Kawhi is bound for the Clippers or another team. "But even before the Finals began, we at TrueHoop heard from plugged-in sources associated with players and the league — but not the team — that Kawhi would return to Toronto, at least on a short-term deal.

The Toronto Raptors have emerged in the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes. Kawhi Leonard trade rumors to the Toronto Raptors have heated up thanks, in part, to Vegas. According to OddsShark, the Raptors are now tied with the Spurs as the favorites to have Leonard playing on their team next

Raptors win close Game 4 to even series. 1:36. Kawhi hits clutch 3 in Embiid's face to beat the shot clock. 0:34. Kawhi says consistency is key for Raptors after Game 4 win. 1:04.

Antetokounmpo doesn’t have any kind of go-to shot — he’ll need to work on that — but once he gets a step on somebody with an intent to drive, it’s over. He’ll dunk it in your face and have you wondering how he covered 17 feet in just two steps. In traffic, it’s the spin move (to his left) that triggers his invincibility. But the Raptors have taken away that move by double-teaming him — usually with Leonard and Pascal Siakam — and sometimes a third defender joins in. They’re also getting back quickly on defense, slowing the Bucks’ feared transition game to a halt. That leaves it up to Eric Bledsoe, Malcolm Brogdon, Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton to knock down shots, with lamentable results over the past two games.

Video by CBS Sports

“I’m not afraid of the moment,” Leonard said after the Raptors’ Game 5 win. “... I’ve been here before. I’ve been to the Finals, and it’s pretty much nothing new that I’m seeing out there. You’ve just got to have fun with it and enjoy it.”

For Raptors, a bad 6-minute stretch proved very costly

For Raptors, a bad 6-minute stretch proved very costly It all came apart in about six minutes for the Toronto Raptors.They went scoreless over their first 12 possessions of the second half, a stretch during which what had been a double-digit lead late in the second quarter became a double-digit deficit to the Golden State Warriors. With that, the lead was gone for good. And so, too, is the Raptors' home-court advantage in the NBA Finals. The Warriors never gave up the lead again, going on to beat the Raptors 109-104 in Game 2 to even the title series. Game 3 is Wednesday night on the Warriors' home floor, Oracle Arena.

The Toronto Raptors are taking a chance by acquiring Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs Sean Deveney of Sporting News reported in the immediate aftermath of the trade that Leonard had Of course, the Raptors could be hoping that they are able to duplicate the Oklahoma City Thunder's

The Raptors traded for Kawhi Leonard knowing newcomers always fall in love with Toronto. While Gordon Hayward worked himself back from a broken leg that sidelined him last year and Kyrie Irving shook off the rust from March knee surgery, an equally rusty Leonard was a cut above the rest.

One should be wary of counting out Antetokounmpo, who spent the season matching MVP credentials with James Harden. “We’re not going to fold,” he promised. “Come on, man. Best team in the league, man. ... We’re going to come back to Milwaukee being pissed.”

Undoubtedly. But as this series goes on, and the Bucks and Raptors expose their vulnerability, you get the feeling that nothing has changed as far as the league’s best team. It’s the one getting all that rest leading up to the Finals.

A new man — just in time

Toronto guard Fred Van-Vleet comes from Rockford, Ill., a tough town. His biological father was murdered in the street when he was 5. His mom and stepfather took care of him, and he grew up into “a hell of an individual,” former teammate DeMar DeRozan told Toronto’s sportsnet.ca. “A little firecracker. Just his toughness, the way he carries himself, it shows in big moments.” A standout at Wichita State but undrafted (the Raptors signed him as a free agent in 2016), VanVleet was mired in a 3-for-25 playoff shooting slump from 3-point range when he left for Rockford to be with his newborn son between Games 3 and 4. Since returning, he’s 10-for-12. “That’s the formula,” he told reporters. “Zero sleep, have a lot of babies, go out there and let loose.” ... With Harden, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving filling the guard spots on the first and second All-NBA teams, there was no room for Klay Thompson. Russell Westbrook deserved that third-team slot, as well. But Thompson definitely has an argument against Kemba Walker, a tremendous offensive player who had little chance for significant impact in Charlotte. Disappointed but trying to sort it all out, Thompson best explained his NBA status with a single word: “Rings.” ... So it’s back to Toronto and another tedious courtside round of Drake, who seems to think he’s on the Raptors’ roster and is constantly in touch with players from both teams, even putting his hands on Toronto coach Nick Nurse’s shoulders in a reassuring gesture. Drake is a talented cat with some class, but for heaven’s sake, siddown! Maybe Charles Barkley had the right idea on TNT, saying if he was playing in Toronto, “I’d have you throw the ball out of bounds (near the Toronto bench) and I’d knock the hell out of Drake.” Added Shaquille O’Neal: “Me, too. That’s how you do it.” ... Interesting to hear that Harden and Chris Paul are at odds in Houston. The Athletic reported the two having “tense moments with one another throughout Game 6 (against the Warriors), culminating in a verbal back-and-forth postgame that went into the locker room.” It seems Paul has grown weary of the Rockets’ heavy-isolation offense and would like to see more ball movement. He’s absolutely right, too.

Bruce Jenkins is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @Bruce_Jenkins1

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Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard hopes to shake bitter Oracle memory

Knicks could prefer Kawhi Leonard over Kevin Durant in free agency.
The Toronto Raptors and forward Kawhi Leonard are two victories away from an NBA championship. Meanwhile, Leonard's star counterpart for Golden State remains sidelined. These are the two biggest stories heading into Game 4 of the NBA Finals Friday night. While Leonard’s team is coming off an impressive Game 3 victory in Oakland, Kevin Durant remains sidelined with a calf injury. Within the next month, both players will become free agents. Linked more to the New York Knicks than any other team, it was previously a near certainty that Durant would be heading to the Big Apple. We’re not sure where that stands at this point.

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