Kawhi Leonard was not at his best against his former team. His new comrades knocked over big shots and won anyway.
Leonard fought the 2-by-11 pitch and had nine turnovers, but Lou Williams led a great 21-point bank effort and the Los Angeles Clippers beat current NBA Champion Toronto Raptors 98-88 on Monday night. .
Leonard finished with 12 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in the nine turnovers, prompting Rivers coach Doc Rivers to joke about "almost double the quadruple."
Throughout the game, Leonard faced a lot of double coverage.
"As soon as I passed the half court, they tried to get the ball out of my hands," he said. "They did a great job defending and sending an extra body. It made me better and will improve my teammates."
Watch: Raptors drop first game against Leonard in LA:
Last season, Leonard led the Raptors to their first championship, averaging 30.5 points and 9.1 rebounds in 24 postseason games to win their second MVP prize in the finals.
"I had a great time there. It's the next chapter now. I can't live in the past," he said. "I have a different team and they want to have the same feeling."
Clippers threw only 37%, but dominated the boards 66 to 38, led by 12 by Patrick Beverley and JaMychal Green.
Clippers' bank dominates
The Los Angeles bank beat Toronto's reserves by 56 to 35, with Montrezl Harrell totaling 14 points and 11 rebounds and Green with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Leonard's first five points were in free throws, including two coaches. He missed his first six fielding attempts and finally scored on a back-to-back pan in the middle of the third quarter to raise the Clippers by 62 to 55.
From then on, the Raptors surpassed Los Angles by 23 to 11 in the remainder of the period. Pascal Siakam scored seven points and Fred VanVleet added five in the spurt, as no team led by more than two, until Matt Thomas, with three points and basket, led the Raptors to the fourth lead by 78-73.
"It's fun, just being able to compete with guys you've been with last year," said Leonard. "It's a little more competitive because you talk to them."
Not much, however.
"Maybe I whispered a little to him here or there about losing a free throw," said Fred VanVleet, "but it didn't work out."
Siakam scored 16 points and 10 rebounds, Norman Powell scored 15 points and VanVleet scored 14 points for the injured Raptors, who had three straight wins in the second consecutive game after defeating the Lakers. Sunday.
"It's a very bad team to play with a consecutive short hand," said VanVleet. "We kind of ran into the mud and to give these guys credit they shut it down."
VanVleet was 1 by 7 in the fourth after scoring three doubles in the previous five games.
Toronto was 4 out of 24 off the ground in the fourth quarter, with a series of crazy strokes and bodies piled in the paint at both ends.
The Raptors tied the game for the last time at 82, with three points from Chris Boucher. They only got three field goals the rest of the way.
"Our guys threw them away. We totally beat them," said Raptors coach Nick Nurse. "We were playing more, doing better, creating a lot of problems for them, but not enough."
The Raptors, who started striker OG Anunoby, were shot in the right eye by Leonard while trying to recover for two minutes in the game and did not return. Anunoby's eyes were patched after the game and he will see a doctor on Tuesday. The nurse was asked about Anunoby being called for a fault in the play. "The guy lost both contacts and opened his eyes with blood," he said. "Are you kidding me?" Leonard said he would text Anunoby to see how he is.
He said that
"I could complain about officiating if you want to get in the pool." – VanVleet for reporters.
Kidnappers: They were missing G Kyle Lowry (broken left thumb) and F / C Serge Ibaka (sprained right ankle), who injured themselves on Friday in New Orleans. Lowry will be reevaluated in two weeks, while Ibaka will be out indefinitely.
Clippers: G Landry Shamet's start fell close to the baseline at the end of the third and had to be helped off the court after spraining his ankle. He was on crutches later. … Los Angeles improved to 6-1 at home.
Paul George had his # 24 shirt retired in Fresno State, where Steve Ballmer, owner of Clippers, and some of his current teammates surprised him.
George was honored at halftime on Sunday's 77-74 win over Winthrop in front of 8,529 fans. He and former Bulldog coach Jerry Tarkanian are the only basketball shirts to be retired by the school, where George played from 2008 to 2010 before leaving early for the NBA draft.
"We went in and he was shocked to see us," Rivers said. "A very nice thing. It was great for Paul."
Beverley, Shamet, Jerome Robinson and Ivica Zubac were on board the short flight organized by Ballmer.
"My plane was broken," joked Rivers.
Kidnappers: Visit the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday in the fourth of five road games, drawing the biggest trip of the season.
Clippers: At the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, begin a quick two-game trip that ends in New Orleans.