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Playoffs 2019

NBA Playoffs 2019: How Magic forward Aaron Gordon has fared guarding Raptors star Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard had one of the best playoff games of his career in the Raptors' Game 2 blowout win over the Magic.

Leonard exploded for 37 points, four rebounds and four assists on 15-for-22 shooting from the field. It was the second-highest point total for Kawhi in the postseason and just six off his playoff career-high 43, set in 2017 in a loss to the Grizzlies.

His Game 1 output of 25 points was almost frowned upon due to the loss and the bar that the 2014 Finals MVP has set.

A lot of credit after Game 1 was given to Magic forward Aaron Gordon, who has the unenviable task of guarding Leonard for the series. Gordon talked about being more physical with Leonard down the stretch of Game 1 and making things difficult for him. He carried that same gameplan over to Game 2 on Tuesday night, but Kawhi was ready.

Leonard had four of Toronto's first five points in Game 2. On his second basket of the game, he showed how ready he was for Gordon's attempts of being more physical with him.

Leonard came off the Marc Gasol screen and received a pass from Kyle Lowry. Gordon, who was trailing behind Kawhi, did a great job of fighting through the Gasol screen and got himself in position to try and stop Leonard's dribble-drive.

Leonard, however, used his off hand to subtly hold Gordon off for a second so he could get to his spot and bury a jumper.

A small detail, but it's one of the things that makes Kawhi as good as he is - he uses every advantage he has possible to find space.

After that Leonard got hot and there wasn't anything Gordon or the Magic could do to stop him.

In the second quarter, Kawhi took Gordon right to the welcome mat of the basket and used his power and strength advantage to muscle it up over the helpless Gordon, again showing that he was ready to be more physical with the Magic in Game 2.

Back to the first quarter, Leonard showed he could get it done in an iso situation against Gordon too, with a simple right-to-left cross over and pull-up from 17-feet. Gordon plays excellent defence here, but it didn't matter.

And finally, Leonard showed that James Harden isn't the only one who can knock down step aside triples. Again great positioning by Gordon, but it didn't matter as No. 2 drills the three.

In the two playoff games so far, Gordon has guarded Kawhi on 84 possessions and given up a total of 36 points. Leonard is shooting 61.5 percent from the field when Gordon is defending him so far in the series.

All things considered, Gordon hasn't been that bad defending Kawhi. He's going to score, and in Game 2 he got hot - there's not much more he could've done on that end of the floor.

On the other end, however, he just simply isn't making Kawhi work. Leonard has defended Gordon on 56 possessions in the first two games and Gordon has scored just four points and only attempted five field goals.

If the Magic want to slow Kawhi down in the slightest, they may want to make him work a little bit harder on defence as the series shifts to Orlando.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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