rain.png
Thursday February 20th, 2020 11:50AM

Leonard scores 45 points, Raptors top 76ers 108-95 in Game 1

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

TORONTO (AP) — Kawhi Leonard wasn't interested in putting up a career-high point total against the Philadelphia 76ers. Even as history beckoned, Toronto's understated star was hoping he could take a seat on the bench.

Leonard scored a career playoff-high 45 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, Pascal Siakam added 29 points and the Raptors beat the 76ers 108-95 in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series on Saturday night.

Leonard's previous postseason high was 43, with San Antonio against Memphis on April 22, 2017. He matched that by making a pair of free throws with 4:45 remaining, then topped it by draining a jump shot on Toronto's next possession.

Although he appeared focused on reaching the mark, the opposite was actually true.

"I was trying to get out of the game before it got to that point," Leonard said. "We were up 20 points with probably like five minutes left and I was already looking at the bench, trying to get them to take me out of the game."

Leonard matched his career-best scoring total for any game, set Jan. 1 against Utah. He made 16 of 22 shots, going 3 of 6 from 3-point range, and went 10 for 11 at the free throw line.

Raptors coach Nick Nurse said Leonard was "fun to watch."

"A big-time performance at both ends," Nurse said. "I just like the force he's playing with at both ends."

Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said Leonard is "leaps and bounds" ahead of the player he once coached as an assistant with San Antonio.

"The variety of ways that he scored and could get his shot off on some pretty good defensive players and big athletes was incredibly impressive," Brown said.

Leonard received a standing ovation when he checked out with 3:14 to play and the Raptors up 107-88. He's just the second player in Raptors history to eclipse 40 points in a playoff game. The other was Vnce Carter, who scored 50 against Philadelphia in Game 3 of the second round on May 11, 2001.

"Kawhi was just in the zone," Toronto's Kyle Lowry said. "He probably could've had more, but he facilitated some and made some shots."

Philadelphia's JJ Redick called Leonard "a spectacular player."

"He's as good as there is in the NBA at generating his own shot, and then making tough shots," Redick said. "Clearly we need to figure out what we're doing with him and Siakam."

Lowry had nine points and eight assists as the Raptors led by as many as 20 en route to their fifth straight postseason victory, extending a franchise record.

Toronto won its 14th consecutive home meeting with Philadelphia and improved to 22-3 against the 76ers since the start of the 2013-14 season. No other opponent has beaten Philadelphia more often over the past five seasons.

Tobias Harris had 14 points and 15 rebounds, and Redick scored 17 points for the 76ers, whose four-game playoff winning streak was snapped.

"We're not going home, we're not going away," Brown said. "We will dig in and come back better in Game 2."

Joel Embiid scored 16 points and Ben Simmons had 14. Jimmy Butler scored 10 points and shot 4 for 12.

Embiid missed nine of his 13 shots in the first half. He finished 5 for 18.

Toronto improved to 3-14 in the first game of a playoff series, winning an opener for the first time since a first-round victory against Washington on April 14, 2018.

The only other time Toronto won a playoff series opener was 2001, when Carter's Raptors won Game 1 of the second round at Philadelphia. Toronto lost that series in seven games.

On Saturday, hot starts from Leonard and Siakam put Toronto in control early, and Lowry fuelled a pivotal 10-0 run in the third quarter that kept the Raptors comfortable.

Toronto's first bench points came on Serge Ibaka's jump shot with 1:57 left in the third, a basket that put Toronto up 89-70. The Raptors finished with 10 bench points, seven from Ibaka and three from Fred VanVleet.

Leonard and Siakam both shot 7 of 9 and scored 17 points as Toronto jumped out to a 14-point lead in the first quarter. Down 7-2 early, the Raptors immediately reclaimed the lead with a 9-0 run and went almost eight minutes without missing a shot, hitting on 13 straight from the field. Toronto was up 39-31 after one.

"It was big to have those two guys step up and jump-start us," Nurse said.

Leonard scored 10 more in the second and the Raptors led 61-52 at halftime.

Redick's 3-pointer at 8:48 of the third cut it to 68-64, but Lowry scored four points in a 10-0 Toronto run over the next two minutes. The Raptors took a 92-81 lead to the fourth.

TIP-INS

76ers: The 76ers made 16 turnovers, leading to 22 points for Toronto. ... Philadelphia went 0 for 7 from 3-point range in the second quarter. ... The 76ers had 13 offensive rebounds to Toronto's two.

Raptors: Leonard has never played on the losing team in 14 career games against Philadelphia, including four this season. ... Siakam scored a career playoff-high 30 points against Orlando in Game 3 of the first round.

STAR STUDDED

Celebrities in the crowd included rapper Drake, Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman, Canadian-born Duke basketball star R.J. Barrett, singer Shawn Mendes and actress Elisabeth Moss. No visitor got a bigger welcome, however, than new Blue Jays star Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who received a loud ovation when he was shown on the big screen late in the third.

GETTING DEFENSIVE

Toronto has held its opponent below 100 points in each of the past five games.

UP NEXT

Game 2 is Monday night in Toronto.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Baseball , AP Online Basketball, AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Sports - Major League Baseball, AP Sports - NBA
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Journalist: Term 'fake news' is not presidential
The leader of a Washington journalists' group says calling the media 'fake news' or 'enemy of the people' doesn't make the words 'pet names, punchlines or presidential.'
10:29PM ( 4 minutes ago )
IS claims 3 militants who blew selves up in Sri Lanka raid
Sri Lanka's Catholics awoke preparing to celebrate Mass in their homes by a televised broadcast as churches across the island nation shut over fears of militant attacks, a week after the Islamic State-claimed Easter suicide bombings killed over 250 people
10:13PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Leonard scores 45 points, Raptors top 76ers 108-95 in Game 1
Kawhi Leonard sets career-playoff high with 45 points, Raptors beat 76ers 108-95 in Game 1 of second round
10:11PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Minjee Lee overcomes triple bogey at LA Open
Minjee Lee overcame a triple bogey to take the lead into the final round of the Hugel-Air Premia LA Open. Lee shot a 4-under 67 at Wilshire Country Club to reach 11-under 202, a stroke ahead of Nanna Koerstz Madsen
9:14PM ( 1 hour ago )
Rahm-Palmer, Stallings-Mullinax share Zurich Classic lead
Jon Rahm and Ryan Palmer shared the lead with Scott Stallings and Trey Mullinax as the Zurich Classic finally got back on schedule
9:00PM ( 1 hour ago )
Let's talk quarterbacks. As in potential backup QBs
Let's talk quarterbacks. As in potential backup QBs
8:12PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
LEADING OFF: Rays, Red Sox begin series after rainout
LEADING OFF: Rays visit Red Sox, Thor faces Yelich in New York
3:02AM ( 19 hours ago )
Cain helps Brewers beat deGrom, Mets 10-2
Lorenzo Cain drives in 3 runs as Milwaukee Brewers roll past Jacob deGrom, New York Mets 10-2
2:38AM ( 19 hours ago )
Dodgers homer in record 33 straight home games, beat Pirates
Dodgers homer in MLB-record 33 straight home games, beat Pirates 6-2
2:17AM ( 20 hours ago )
AP Online Baseball
Durant has 50, Warriors beat Clippers 129-110; Rockets next
Kevin Durant scored 38 of his playoff career-high 50 points in the first half, Draymond Green had a triple-double, and the Golden State Warriors dominated in closing out the Los Angeles Clippers 129-110 to win their first-round series 4-2
3:28AM ( 19 hours ago )
DeRozan, Spurs prepared for pressure of Game 7 in Denver
DeMar DeRozan and the San Antonio Spurs are prepared for the pressure of Game 7 in Denver against the Nuggets
3:17AM ( 19 hours ago )
Warriors prepare for rested Harden, Houston in West rematch
After outlasting the no-name Los Angeles Clippers in six games, the Golden State Warriors have a big name on their hands next
3:04AM ( 19 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
Guerrero wears Expos jersey before debut to honor father
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. paid tribute to his Hall of Fame father before his major league debut for Toronto against Oakland, arriving at Rogers Centre dressed in a replica of his dad's Montreal Expos jersey
5:07PM ( 1 day ago )
LEADING OFF: Vladdy Jr. debuts, La Tortuga gets his night
LEADING OFF: Vladdy Jr. debuts, La Tortuga gets his night, deGrom returns to Mets
2:12AM ( 1 day ago )
Clint Frazier becomes 15th Yankee to go on injured list
Clint Frazier becomes Yankees' 15th player to go on injured list in 1st month of season, sidelined because of sprained left ankle; New York acquires Cameron Maybin from Cleveland
10:10PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Sports - Major League Baseball
Spurs seeking a Game 7; Nuggets look to advance
Spurs return home, looking to force a Game 7 _ while Nuggets look for trip to the second round
1:10AM ( 2 days ago )
Harden helps Rockets eliminate Jazz with 100-93 win
James Harden scored 26 points and the Houston Rockets outlasted the Utah Jazz for a 100-93 win on Wednesday night to take their first-round playoff series 4-1
12:01AM ( 2 days ago )
76ers season has gone south with each visit to Toronto
The 76ers have gone south in Toronto, losing 13 straight since 2012
10:40AM ( 3 days ago )
AP Sports - NBA
IS claims 3 militants who blew selves up in Sri Lanka raid
Sri Lanka's Catholics awoke preparing to celebrate Mass in their homes by a televised broadcast as churches across the island nation shut over fears of militant attacks, a week after the Islamic State-claimed Easter suicide bombings killed over 250 people
10:13PM ( 21 minutes ago )
4 die after construction crane crushes cars in Seattle
A construction crane has collapsed in downtown Seattle, killing 4
10:11PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Pittsburgh synagogue: Violence 'must end. Enough is enough!'
Pittsburgh's Tree of Life, site of deadly October attack, holds vigil after California synagogue shooting
10:04PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Oliver North out as NRA president after leadership dispute
Oliver North says he won't serve a second term as National Rifle Association president, makes clear he's been forced out by the group's leadership
10:03PM ( 30 minutes ago )
The Latest: Trump gives shout-out to Sanders at rally
President Donald Trump praised his press secretary Sarah Sanders at his Wisconsin rally after the two of them skipped a Washington journalism dinner
9:59PM ( 35 minutes ago )