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June 9, 2019

Kawhi Leonard

Toronto, Ontario - Practice Day

Q. There's been a lot of talk about staying focused in the moment, locking in game to game. But as human beings, it's incredibly difficult to not think about the future. How do you personally stay present? What's your process?
KAWHI LEONARD: Just stay in the same routine and just focus what's in front of me. Obviously, as you said, human beings, we do think in the future. Been thinking in the future since the beginning of the season, just trying to get to this point. You just got to stay current and stay in your routine, be patient and not rush anything.

Q. Is there anything different about a Finals closeout game than trying to close one out in the first three rounds?
KAWHI LEONARD: Obviously you're playing against a better team, a championship team. That's pretty much the only difference. Other than a regular playoff game, you're just playing against a better team at that point in time.

Q. Canada's getting crazy about the Raptors and you're one win away from doing something historic. Do you guys embrace this frenzy around you or are you keeping them out just to stay focused on the game?
KAWHI LEONARD: I think we have been embracing it this whole time. Just enjoying the support and the energy that they're bringing to the team. With that being said, they help us stay focused in the moment. You just got to be patient. Don't rush anything. Stay focused on what we're doing. Just take it a minute at a time.

Q. There were some speculation earlier this week that you had purchased property in the city. I'm just curious if you wanted to clarify if, in fact, that actually occurred.
KAWHI LEONARD: No, it didn't. It didn't happen yet, no.

Q. You guys have an opportunity to close out at home, Game 5, without going back to Oakland. Do you guys feel as a unit any kind of internal pressure to get it done here? Or is that more of a kind of an external thing that the conversation about pressure is something that doesn't really get into the room, if you will?
KAWHI LEONARD: It is pressure with any game. I don't think it's any added pressure to it. We still have to go out there and play a basketball game. Whatever game or significance of the game or time, you always want to play great defense and make a shot. It's pretty much just a title over it right now. Just go out and play. Play it, enjoy it and whatever happens we'll see the results.

Q. You played so few games last year. The fact that you're now in The Finals and been part of this run, does that personally make that sweeter for you?
KAWHI LEONARD: Yeah, the year I had last year and then just being able to play in The Finals this year has been great. But I've been happy just being able to return to basketball at the beginning of the regular season. It's pretty much something that I look back on of not being able to play and now I'm able to play. So just enjoy it. It's why you're here. You never know when those times will come when you're not going to be able to play or you get injured.

That's what my mindset really comes from and what made me grow as a player, because those are the worst times in basketball. It's not losing games or missing shots; it's about you being able to play or not on the floor. I grew up my whole life wanting to play in the NBA. And when that's taken away, it's terrible.

Q. You've talked a lot in the playoffs about not caring about individual stats and more about team wins. I'm wondering after a game when you're looking at a box score in this series, what are the stats you're looking at that jump out to you to tell you that the team has played a good game?
KAWHI LEONARD: Looking at rebounds, turnovers and field goal percentage for each team. Obviously, points in the paint and just seeing what were the runs. That's pretty much it. But the big three things that I look at are turnovers and rebounds and field goal percentage.

Q. Were you always able to stay present or was that sort of a skill you've developed over your career and maybe what did you do, what were your role models, if that was the case?
KAWHI LEONARD: Just growing up playing basketball, pretty much. Like I always said, just learning from past experience, past games that I lost, games that I won. Seeing what I felt like or what I was thinking at those specific times and just bringing it back to current-day reality, the moment that I'm in. Making sure I can use the things that were good and delete the things that were bad to help me be more successful.

Q. When did you feel like you had really kind of reached a good level at that? When did you kind of feel like mentally you had sort of reached a high level in that ability?
KAWHI LEONARD: I'm still trying to get better every day today with it. Either with basketball or off the floor. It's an everyday battle.

Q. You can't blame players when they get excited and celebrate in the middle of a big victory and you guys had two epic wins in Oracle. But after Game 4 you all marched off and anyone who watched that would have thought you guys had been defeated. How is it possible that all 15 of you could all have that same expression that looked like maybe you lost the game instead of won it?
KAWHI LEONARD: I think it's just we're focused. We know that it doesn't mean anything until someone has four wins. You never know what could happen and you got to take advantage of it and don't get overly hyped and excited. Still a great basketball team on the other side. I think that was our mindset. We had a goal going out there, and we accomplished it. Now in a possible three games, we have to win one.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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