The Toronto Raptors welcomed former star Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers to town on Wednesday night. This was Leonard’s first time back at Scotiabank Arena since last season when he led the Raptors to their first NBA Championship.
Before tip-off, Leonard was congratulated and awarded with his championship ring. As Leonard was called out to the court the jumbotron read, “Board man gets his ring.” Kyle Lowry was the one to give Leonard his award as the crowd roared with cheers.
The Clippers ultimately defeated the defending NBA Champions, 112-92.
Clippers vs. Raptors Game Recap
From the start of the game, Leonard had trouble scoring as the Raptors did a great job of double-teaming their former teammate. Leonard finally got his first three with 7:47 left in the opening quarter. Initially, he received the ball in the post but was immediately double-teamed. With patience, Leonard kicked the ball back out and re-positioned himself at the three-point line and knocked one down. Leonard ended the first with five points and one rebound while the Clippers trailed the Raptors, 32-27.
The game was tied up with over seven minutes left in the first half, 36-36. Raptors head coach Nick Nurse received a technical resulting in Paul George heading to the line. George made his free throw to gain the lead, 37-36. The Clippers picked up the pace and ended the half ahead by 18, 64-46.
Lou Williams led the team at the half with 15 points, three boards and five assists. He also hit his 335th career three-pointer with the Clippers during the first half. This moved him to No. 9 on the team’s all-time three-pointers list, as Tomer Azarly of ClutchPoints revealed. Patrick Beverley trailed him with 11 points, four rebounds and two assists.
Leonard’s pregame predictions on the fan reactions were right. As he went to the line early in the third quarter, a few boos were heard from the crowd. Later in the period, Beverley ran into a screen made by Marc Gasol and went down. He came out of the game and was seen walking into the locker room. By the end of the third, it was announced that Beverley would be out for the rest of the game as he suffered a concussion. The Clippers kept their lead heading into the fourth, 88-71.
In the final quarter, the Clippers kept the pressure and pushed ahead to grab a game-high lead of 21 points. They continued to dominate and increased their lead to 24 points with just under two minutes left in the game.
The Raptors didn’t only pay tribute to the reigning Finals MVP, they also made a video for Lou Williams who played for the team during the 2014-15 season.
The music that played in the background of the video was “6 Man” by Drake who made the song about Williams. The guard won his first of three sixth man awards with Toronto which made him the first Raptors player to ever win the award. With Toronto, Williams averaged 15.5 points, 2.1 assists and 1.9 boards per game.
Against the Raptors, Williams closed out the night with 18 points, eight assists and six rebounds.
The Clippers play against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday at 6:30 p.m. PST.