Kawhi Leonard joins Michael Jordan in exclusive club as Clippers advance

NBA schedule: Clippers-Mavericks, Christmas Day
Ashley Landis/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard was apparently saving his best for the playoffs. Given how well he performed en route to earning the NBA Finals MVP award last season with the Toronto Raptors, this is not really a surprise.

In no way does this mean we can’t continue to be in awe over Leonard’s playoff performances. That was taken to a whole new level during the Clippers’ series-clinching win in Game 6 against the Dallas Mavericks Sunday to move on to the Western Conference Semifinals.

Leonard scored 33 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, dished out seven assists and put up five steals in the game. In doing so, he joined GOAT Michael Jordan as the only player in NBA Playoff history to accomplish this feat. Michael Jordan and Kawhi Leonard. That’s the list.

It’s simply astonishing what Leonard has done thus far in the playoffs. He averaged 32.8 points, 10.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 2.3 steals while shooting 54% from the field in the six-game series win over Dallas.

Are the Clippers now NBA title favorites?

Sure the Los Angeles Lakers might have something to say about this after they advanced to the second round with a win over Portland on Saturday. In reality, these two Southern California teams will likely do battle in the Western Conference Finals.

With that said, Leonard’s ability to up his game when it counts the most compares favorably to what we’ve seen from LeBron James throughout his career. It really is something special.

After seeing Dallas tie the series at two through four games, Leonard went into full-scale take over mode. That included him shooting 62% in those final two outings. If he’s able to keep this up, the Clippers are doing to be hard to beat.