Meyers Leonard started Game 4 against the Golden State Warriors Monday night. He started Game 3, too, and had a very solid game, box stats-wise, going for 16 points, three rebounds, and four assists in 31 minutes. The Blazers were roundly outscored during his minutes, but plenty goes into that, and anyway a standout scoring night from Leonard is more than all but the most optimistic Leonard fan could’ve realistically hoped for from this series.
It was assumed, fairly, that this was The Meyers Leonard Game, and that the Trail Blazers had squandered it via bricky and exhausted-looking performances from C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard. That Leonard played good minutes against the Warriors in a playoff game seemed likely to be overshadowed forever by the one-sided nature of the series.
It turns out Game 3 was, in fact, not The Meyers Leonard Game. It was merely the preview of The Meyers Leonard Game, the teaser trailer. Game 4 is The Meyers Leonard Game. Leonard had 16 points in Game 3; in Game 4 he had 25 points at halftime, on blistering 5-of-6 three-point shooting.
Leonard scored more than 19 points exactly zero times during the regular season. The last time he broke 20 points in a game was December 1, 2015. He is a part-time role player for the Blazers, an expensive contract they would’ve been thrilled to offload via trade at any point in the last 12 months. And Monday night he dominated the first half of an elimination playoff game against the Golden State Warriors.
Right now the Blazers are hanging onto a slim lead in the fourth quarter. I am hurrying to get this blog up before the game ends, because if the Warriors lose no one will ever remember the dizzying weirdness of Meyers Leonard raining a heat-check 28-footer in the first half of a Western Conference Finals game. Maybe he’s got three more of these performances in him? Seven more??? Nothing so weird has ever happened, but a man can dream.
UPDATE: Leonard has now ruined Draymond Green forever.