Tomorrow night the Toronto Raptors play against the Los Angeles Clippers at home. The Clippers currently post a 18-7 record and place second in the West while the Raptors place fifth in the East with a 16-7 record. The last time that the Clippers played against the Raptors they won, 98-88, without one of their star players, Paul George.
This game is particularly special as Clippers’ superstar Kawhi Leonard led the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA Championship just last season before signing with Los Angeles. Though Kawhi has already played against his former team, this will be his first time back at the Scotiabank Arena.
Last game, the Clippers played against PG’s former team, the Indiana Pacers. He didn’t receive a warm welcome as fans booed him when he stepped onto the court. Leonard can expect the exact opposite tomorrow. Today, the Raptors dropped a heartfelt tribute video for the reigning Finals MVP. From Kawhi’s official welcome to Canada to him holding his MVP trophy, the video shows Leonard’s time with the team and the impact he made on the city.
Kawhi Leonard X Toronto Raptors
Kawhi Leonard spent most of his NBA career with the San Antonio Spurs, 2011-2018. In 2018 Leonard requested a trade, as he and the team had issues due to a disagreement over his injury rehabilitation program. In July of 2018, Leonard was traded to the Toronto Raptors along with his teammate Danny Green.
Leonard had a fantastic career with the Raptors as he averaged 26.6 points, 3.3 assists and 7.3 rebounds a game during the regular season. Leonard only played 60 games during the regular season as he load managed his knee in order to peak during the post season. Leonard’s load management schedule seemed to work as he led the Raptors to their first ever NBA Championship. During the post season the Klaw tallied 30.5 points, 3.9 assists and 9.1 boards.
Leonard’s abilities to dominate during the post season gave the Raptors their first championship ring. It also gave Leonard his second NBA Finals MVP award. This past summer, Leonard was a free-agent and signed a three-year contract with the Los Angeles Clippers. Leonard reunited with his former team one month ago on Nov. 11. For the first time, Leonard was able to play against his former protege, Pascal Siakam who is Toronto’s current superstar. During Leonard’s time in Toronto, he made quite the impression on Siakam. In an interview posted by Washington Post’s Ben Golliver, Siakam was asked what he learned from the reigning Finals MVP.
“His poise and how he doesn’t get rattled. I try to add that to my game,” Siakam said.
Siakam is currently averaging 24.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game so far this season. The Klaw is averaging 25.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 5.2 assists a game. Leonard and Siakam will have the opportunity to play against each other once again tomorrow night. Paul George can also be expected to play. Tip-off is at 4 p.m. PST.