Kawhi Leonard achieved legendary status in Toronto after his buzzer beater broke Sixers’ hearts in their Game 7 clash this week.
<div><p>It saw the Raptors scrape through to the Eastern Conference Finals by the narrowest of margins and capped a fantastic series for the great man. Leonard last won the NBA Championship with San Antonio in 2014, but he is a big game player and he is in devastating form as we approach the business end of the NBA season.</p><p>The 27-year-old poured an astonishing 41 points during the Raps’ Game 7 win and 15 of them came in the fourth quarter as Toronto battled for survival. He cemented his status as the best two-way player in the NBA by restricting the great Jimmy Butler to just 5-of-14 shooting, cutting off Philadelphia’s main offensive threat. He dominates both ends of the court in effortless fashion and some are now claiming that he is the best player in basketball right now.</p><h2>Can Leonard Contain the Greek Freak?</h2><p>If he is to secure the NBA Championship this year, he will have to vanquish another player with a strong claim to that title. Giannis Antetokounmpo is on fire this season and led the Milwaukee Bucks to the top of the Eastern Conference before swatting aside the Celtics in the semi-finals. He is the favourite to be named regular season MVP ahead of James Harden after posting some suitably freakish numbers. It will be fascinating to watch Leonard and Antetokounmpo go head to head, but Toronto’s clash with the 76ers suggested that experience is key at this stage of the season.</p><p>In the series against Philadelphia, Leonard averaged 34.7 points, 9.9 rebounds, four assists and 1.3 steals per game. He shot 53% from the floor, 33% from three-point range and 85.7% from the free-throw line. All the while he played the sort of lockdown defence that you never see from the likes of Antetokounmpo or even LeBron James.</p><h2>NBA Playoffs Betting</h2><p>He will have to be brilliant once more if they are to get past the Bucks, who went 3-1 against the Raps during the regular season. The Raptors are out at 9/4 (+225) with <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=3e56a0bf-7bdf-4fe1-b9a6-d22c7cc3dd2c&f=1" target="_blank" title="Betway">Betway</a> to win the series, while the best price available on Milwaukee is just 2/5 (-250) with <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=3e56a0bf-7bdf-4fe1-b9a6-d22c7cc3dd2c&f=1" target="_blank" title="William Hill">William Hill</a>. However, with Leonard in this sort of form anything is possible and more money is going on Toronto right now.</p><p>If the Raptors can scrape past the Bucks, they will be all but certain to face the Golden State Warriors. The Dubs are best priced at 13/20 (-154) with <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=4fd3c129-b898-4816-9a61-9f7e8f34295a&f=1" title="Unibet">Unibet</a> to win the NBA Championship for the third year running, while the Raptors are as long as 8/1 (+800). Leonard would find himself up against yet another man with a strong claim as the best in the business, as Kevin Durant has been named NBA Finals MVP for the past two years. Yet Leonard was named Finals MVP back in 2014 when the Spurs annihilated LeBron’s Miami team, and it will be intriguing to see if he can conjure up more magic in this gripping postseason.</p></div>