Kawhi Leonard leads Toronto Raptors to 11th win
Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points as the Toronto Raptors beat the Sacramento Kings to improve their record to a league-best 11-1.
Kawhi Leonard, who missed the two previous games with a jammed foot, scored 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as the visiting Toronto Raptors defeated the Sacramento Kings 114-105 on Wednesday night.
Serge Ibaka added 14 points and 14 rebounds, and Jonas Valanciunas had 11 points and 10 rebounds as the Raptors completed a four-game sweep of a Western Conference road trip for the first time in team history to go to 11-1 in their best start in franchise history.
Pascal Siakam had 21 points for Toronto, Kyle Lowry had 16 points and eight assists, and OG Anunoby chipped in with 11 points. Buddy Hield and Willie Cauley-Stein each scored for 24 for the Kings. De’Aaron Fox added 20 while Marvin Bagley III had 13.
The Raptors took a 16-point lead into the fourth quarter, but the Kings went on an 8-2 run, cutting the deficit to seven when Fox hit an 11-foot jumper with 4:52 to play.
But they would get no closer. Ibaka boosted Toronto’s lead with a three-pointer before Siakam’s dunk extended it to 13 with 2:43 to go.
Speaking after the win, Leonard said: “This isn’t our ceiling. With me not even knowing some of the offense, we have Kyle in the game most of the time. Once I start learning the offense, I can give him a little break and let him get some easier shots. I don’t really know the offense in and out yet.”
Nurse was overjoyed with Leonard’s performance, he said: “He was a little rusty at the start but he made some really big baskets late. They sent lots of bodies to him, which was good for us to see.”
Toronto has won five straight games since their lone loss this season at Milwaukee on Oct. 29.
The Raptors pulled away against the Kings despite 23 turnovers.
Danny Greene said: “We were lucky to come out with this one. You look up and down the line, the only thing we beat them in was rebounding. That’s a good sign for us, to show how good this team can be.”
The Kings are one of the fastest teams in the NBA this season and several Toronto players felt that Sacramento controlled the tempo of the game. Lowry disagreed.
“They were picking us up, tried to pressure us to try to speed us up but we didn’t allow them to,” Lowry said. “We did a good job of staying locked in into what we were doing.”
However, it isn’t all good news for Raptors as guard Norman Powell is out ‘indefinitely’ after sustaining a left shoulder subluxation on Monday.
The team said there was no timeline for Powell’s return, although some reports suggested he could be out for up to six weeks.
Powell was hurt in the second quarter of Monday’s game against the Utah Jazz, leaving shortly after he entered. He went down after trying to take the ball from Jazz center Rudy Gobert and appeared to be in significant pain.
Powell has averaged 5.0 points and 2.0 rebounds in 14.9 minutes per game for the Raptors, who are tied with the Golden State Warriors with the NBA’s best record at 10-1.
Next up for the Raptors is a mid-afternoon tilt against New York Knicks on Saturday, in Toronto.