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Kawhi Leonard’s effortless playoff domination continues

He’s crushing the postseason without breaking a sweat — or at least that’s what it looks like.

Kawhi Leonard has done it again, and again, and again. After putting up 37- and 35-point games in the first round against the Magic, then 45-, 35-, 33-, and 39-point outings in the first three games against the 76ers, Leonard shut the series down in Game 7 in signature fashion.

Those final two points were Nos. 40 and 41 on the night and capped off a series in which he averaged 34.7 points per game on 53 percent shooting, against a vicious 76ers defense that made every shot difficult.

Leonard’s 41-point performance gave him seven 30-point games in the playoffs — the most ever by a Toronto player in a single postseason. (DeMar DeRozan, Vince Carter, Chris Bosh — WTA?) 137

But what sets Leonard apart from the pack is the remarkable efficiency he’s competed with in the playoffs. Toronto’s all-star is averaging 31.9 points on legendary efficiency: 54 percent from the field, 41 percent from three, and 87 percent from the foul line. The only other players in NBA history to have 50-40-90 club numbers in the playoffs are Kevin Durant, who was the most efficient scorer in NBA Finals history last season, Reggie Miller in 1993, and Rolando Blackman in 1985.

But Durant is able to have such numbers in part because he plays alongside three other all-stars, including one two-time league MVP. Leonard has no such luxuries.

The Raptors had an impressive regular-season record in games he did not play, but in the playoffs, Leonard is everything. Through four games against Philadelphia, the Raptors outscored the Sixers by 26 in minutes he played, but were outscored by 34 in a fraction of the time when he was on the bench.

Again, what makes Leonard so dangerous on the offensive end is his remarkable efficiency. Just take a look at his shot chart. It’s literally been money everywhere on the court except for the right wing.

His performance looked so effortless, a reporter even asked him after Game 4 whether he broke a sweat against the Sixers. He responded with the most Leonard response possible: “That’s not fair to the Sixers. I’m definitely breaking a sweat.”

Again, this is the gamble Masai Ujiri took when he traded DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl for Leonard, an all-world talent coming off an injury who can (and some argue will) leave in free agency this summer. He wanted a dominant two-way talent capable of putting Toronto on his back in the playoffs.

The Raptors got just that. If the rest of the East didn’t know, they surely do now.