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Playoffs 2019

NBA Playoffs 2019: Kawhi Leonard talks keys to Bucks series, postseason success

It's a quick turnaround for the Toronto Raptors, who have just two days to prepare for their Eastern Conference Finals series with the top-seeded Bucks after earning a thrilling Game 7 victory over the 76ers Sunday night.

Series Preview: Raptors vs. Bucks

Kawhi Leonard, who knocked down the walk-off game-winner to send the Raptors to the next round, spoke with the media following the team's practice and ahead of their trip to Milwaukee.

The eight-year veteran and one-time champ knows a thing or two about postseason success and was asked about a wide range of topics including moving past the emotions of Sunday night, the matchup with Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks as well as some keys to the Raptors advancing past the Eastern Conference Finals.

MORE: Is Kawhi or Giannis the best in the East?

Here's a recap on some of what Leonard had to say…

On whether or not it's difficult to get past the emotions of winning Game 7 in dramatic fashion:

"Not really… when you have your mind focused on one thing and that's winning the game, then it's just time to shift over from there. That's why you've got to stay even-keeled in this league; you don't get too low or too high until it's all done. That's what I try to pride myself on - just staying levelheaded going into the next game."

On what makes Milwaukee a good team:

"[They're] just very active. They play together on both ends, long team, coached well and they want to play defence. That's what you want out of players and they're out there doing it.

On opening this series on the road:

"I think you just gotta go out like it's another road game like Game 3 or 4 (in the first two rounds). These first two games are on the road so we just have to go out there and play basketball…"

On Toronto's keys to the series:

"Come in, be focused, make sure we know our game plan. Show length, compete every possession and try to limit them to one shot."

On his matchup with Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo:

"It's not about us going head to head it's about us trying to win a game. You can't get caught up in people's expectations, you've got to worry about yourself, self-expectations and team expectations and that's winning. That's what we have to focus on, it doesn't matter about a one-on-one matchup. This game isn't a one-on-one basketball game.

On the specific challenges Milwaukee's defence presents:

"They help each other well. I feel like they're a good defensive team in helping, showing length, showing bodies on whoever gets to the paint. That's what helps them - they're on the same page… Just try to go into the game, play our game and be aggressive and see what the challenges are and see what their gameplan is and go from there."

On whether or not facing Orlando's defence in Round 1 will help him against Milwaukee:

"Every experience helps you. Each game you go into - regular season, playoffs. It's different personnel so it's different tendencies of how they help. Are they a strip guy, block shot guy or a charge guy. Those are things you've got to take [into account] when you're playing a new team or a new system."

On how his expectations for the team have evolved this season:

"They were a good team last year, so with the addition of me and Danny coming over, I feel like they didn't take a step back and the sky was the limit. As the season went on, I started seeing how guys roles were, what guys liked to do on the floor and how it was contributing to wins, and just went from there.

I really didn't think about [expectations], I know that we all had a goal to get to The Finals and win it and that's what we did - take it game-by-game and day-by-day."

On the keys for Toronto to continue its playoff run:

"Everybody being on the same page. Being locked in, everybody wanting to win. Everybody playing with each other on both ends of the floor and like I said, just not getting so up or down on yourself, you gotta stay even-keeled because the game isn't going to go how you want it to go, at all. So you've just got to be ready for the moments when there are highs and lows. And just working hard - keep competing, possession after possession.

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