Kawhi Leonard put the clamps Ben Simmons of Philadelphia 76ers as the Toronto Raptors bounced back from a loss Monday night. The 129-112 victory of Toronto put the team at 7-1 while Philadelphia slid down to 4-4. It was also the fifth consecutive win at home by the Raptors. Toronto has yet to lose at home for the season.
Future all-star and former rookie of the year committed seven turnovers in the first half alone. He ended with 11 turnovers. As a team, Philadelphia had a total of 23 turnovers. The 76ers was limited to 40% in the first half as they fell by 14 points at the Scotiabank Arena.
Simmons said Leonard was “a great defender.” He said the Toronto star has long arms and huge hands. The Toronto star set a club record as he scored 20 or more points for the sixth consecutive game.
By the time the final buzzer sounded, Leonard had 31 points. On the other hand, Jonas Valanciunas contributed 23 points off the bench. Serge Ibaka had 16 points while Pascal Siakam added 15 points and 15 rebounds.
Kyle Lowry dished out at least 10 assists for the sixth consecutive game. It is just one shy of the team record set in 1996 by Damon Stoudamire. Lowry ended with 12 assists along with 20 points.
Lowry praised the contribution of Siakam to the team. He said that Siakam is “doing and the things he can do” on the court. He gives credit to the Cameroonian since he continues to become “better and he’s still young.” Lowry also said the fans may not appreciate Siakam, the team recognizes his contributions. He said Siakam “plays with energy” and the skill work.
The two team played on Monday, the 76ers playing at home against the Hawks and Toronto in Milwaukee. But, Leonard was able to rest on that day. In comparison, Simmons and Joel Embiid played at least 27 minutes. While fatigue may have been a factor in the rout, the smothering defense of Leonard, Valanciunas, and Ibaka may have played a huge role.
Leonard clamped down on Simmons while Valanciunas, and Ibaka defended Embid. Despite this Embid finished with 31 points. But, he did not get much help from anyone else in the Philadelphia lineup.
The Raptors led by as much as 26 points. But, Philadelphia staged a rally in the fourth quarter and they cut the lead down to nine points. A three-pointer from Embid brought the lead down to six points. But, Leonard and Lowry stepped up and started to control the game. They were able to bring the lead up to 13 points.
Delon Wright also returned to the Raptor’s lineup and contributed seven points in the first quarter. Head coach Nick Nurse said Delon Wright may be healthy, but he still needs to get back his rhythm.
Leonard is currently averaging 27.3 points per game since he joined Toronto. It is close to the season record of the franchise of 27.7 points set by Vince Carter. This comes s the Toronto Raptors are about to hit the road with a game in Phoenix on Friday.