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June 4, 2021

Kawhi Leonard

Los Angeles, California, USA

Postgame Press Conference

Los Angeles Clippers 104, Dallas Mavericks 97

Q. You mentioned in the postgame walk-off that the defensive mindset is what you prioritize more than the points. How did you have success guarding Luka and with all those minutes only having one foul for the entire game?

KAWHI LEONARD: We still played a pretty good game. 29-11-8, but like I say, he's a very dominant player, very skilled. You know, plays at his own pace. All I could do is try to stay in front of him as much as possible, contest his shots and just try not to put him in -- you know he's good at getting to the free throw line as well. Obviously the players are playing with -- they are showing the crowd, they are switching up to him, as well, and just a good team defense tonight.

Q. What things did you draw from your championship and playoff experiences that you think helped with your game tonight?

KAWHI LEONARD: Nothing really. It's just based on the mentality. You definitely don't want to go home. Just something that I had, you know, always wanted to win the game, try to exert my will on the floor, and my teammates had the same mentality.

So that's what I tried to install with them now to make sure that we keep fighting, don't give up, and you never know what could happen. Just have faith and then you know, play hard, have fun. That's all you can do.

Q. This looked and felt like a Game 7 and personally by the way you played, it looked that way. From your experience, what is Sunday going to be like and what are you going to say to your teammates about playing in another Game 7?

KAWHI LEONARD: Just basketball game. If we don't want to go home, pay attention to details. You know, have faith. Shoot the ball like you're going to make it, with confidence. And if you do that, you can live with the results. Just want to make sure we don't have mistakes or people being indecisive. Just go out there and leave it all on the floor.

Q. I know you've played in a Game 7 in an NBA Finals, but what do you think of your past Game 7s?

KAWHI LEONARD: I don't live in the past. I don't think about stuff like that. It's about tomorrow. That's all it's about, taking what I see from tonight's game and try to bring it into the next one, but I don't think like that.

Q. Is there anything in particular from tonight's game you want to take into Sunday?

KAWHI LEONARD: Just the urgency we have pretty much, you know, this was an elimination game for us and just try to have that same mindset.

Q. This ties your playoff career high, regular season high in scoring, but you got off to a slow start. At what point did you know this was going to be your game and you're going to have to keep making those shots? At what point did you realize it was going to be on you to carry the offensive load?

KAWHI LEONARD: Just throughout the game, I just, you know, just trusting my teammates, trusting in myself, and you know, as the game went on, I got to some spots, made some shots. Teammates found me in spots, and you know, just from there, just tried to go with the rhythm and staying locked in in the mindset I had. Like I said, I didn't want to go home. And you know, I just kept that momentum and I just had faith all night.

Q. Ty noticed that Luka was worn down and wanted you and PG to attack him in the fourth quarter. Did you notice that and want to attack him like that?

KAWHI LEONARD: I want to attack everybody on the floor, whoever is in front of me, whatever the matchup is. You know, I can't have an indecisive mind out there. If I feel like I have an angle or they are giving me something, then I've got to attack it.

You know, that's on the coach to figure out the chess pieces like that. I mean, obviously having a basketball IQ, you just see things and you know if guys have two fouls, three fouls, you want to attack them.

But like I said, it's just about having the same mentality throughout the whole 48 minutes.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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