Spurs' Kawhi Leonard Sets Career High for Points in Game 3 of Finals

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Spurs' Kawhi Leonard Sets Career High for Points in Game 3 of Finals
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard set a career high with 29 points during his team's blowout victory over the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday.

Leonard's total was the most for a player his age or younger in an NBA Finals game since a 22-year-old Kobe Bryant topped 30 points twice during the 2001 Finals, per NBA.com/Stats.

Leonard's performance was particularly surprising considering he scored just nine points in both of the series' first two contests. Additionally, Tuesday's outing took place in Miami, where the Heat had yet to lose a playoff game this postseason.

Nonetheless, Leonard started Tuesday's encounter aggressively. He began with two points at the free-throw line and then converted another freebie following an impressive and-1 layup.

From there, Leonard caught fire from outside, draining four consecutive jumpers—including three straight three-pointers—to finish the first quarter with 16 points. He converted all five of his field-goal attempts in the quarter and also sunk each of his three shots from the line.

Over the second and third quarters, Leonard was relatively quiet, scoring just four points. He closed the game with nine points in the fourth interval, thus surpassing his previous career-best mark of 26 points.

In fact, according to The Washington Post, Leonard's Game 3 outburst was his best single-game point total in high school, college or the NBA. 

However, the 22-year-old was hardly a one-trick pony Tuesday night, as he also led the Spurs with two blocks and even claimed two steals while helping to force Heat star LeBron James into committing seven turnovers.

On the whole, Leonard played a huge part in the Spurs' convincing Game 3 victory and enters Thursday's Game 4 coming off the best offensive night of his three-year professional career.

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