The matchup for Game 3 of the opening round of the playoffs will be between Kawhi Leonard and Metta World Peace.
This has been an interesting matchup to watch in the series so far with both men having entirely different games. Leonard has relied on his balanced overall game using his speed, length, and athleticism while World Peace relies mostly on his strength. Leonard is leading the San Antonio Spurs by playing 37.5mpg this postseason and chipping in 12ppg with 9rpg. Leonard is leading the team in rebounding which is a welcome sight to the Spurs since that's been a position that hasn't done well in this department. Metta World Peace is averaging 9ppg with 5.5rpg in 33.5. Those aren't impressive statistics with a short rotation and the ineffectiveness Steve Nash has brought to the team coupled with injuries to the team. He'll be looking to step up in the first game in the Staples Center this postseason.
What Leonard must do on offense:
One of Kawhi Leonard's strengths series has been his speed against Metta World Peace, especially in transition. Leonard has found that if he keeps moving on offense that he'll likely find an open shot or score close to the basket than waiting for the ball. Kawhi's movement not only helps his scoring, but also his teammates.When Leonard moves, it causes the Lakers' defense to force to either help World Peace or to give Leonard an easy shot somewhere on the court. Leonard has struggled with his 3-point shot where he's only averaging 20% and this could be the game where he finally breaks out of his funk with the multiple injuries to the Lakers.
What Leonard must do on defense:
Kawhi has to anticipate that World Peace will be more aggressive this game in the paint and on the perimeter. Mike D'Antoni has a tendency to go with a 6-7 man rotation for the majority of the minutes and the injuries haven't changed his mindset so far. This will be a huge game for Los Angeles in this series and they'll look to defend their homecourt tonight. World Peace has also struggled with his perimeter shot by averaging only 18% from beyond the arc. With the home crowd behind him this time, he'll likely shoot better at home than in the road which is the norm for role players. Leonard has to keep patient if the shots do fall for Metta and not to play faster than he actually can to limit turnovers and bad shots.With Leonard likely forcing World Peace to score more than he's used to and making him play defense on the other side of the floor, there's a good chance the Spurs take a 3-0 lead tonight.