Lou Williams scored 21 points off the bench to help the Los Angeles Clippers post a 98-88 victory over the visiting Toronto Raptors on Monday night.
Kawhi Leonard, who led the Raptors to their first NBA title last June, scored just 12 points on 2-of-11 shooting in his first game against his former club since leaving as a free agent. Leonard also had 11 rebounds, nine assists and three steals but committed nine of Los Angeles’ 22 turnovers.
Montrezl Harrell contributed 14 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots for the Clippers. Patrick Patterson scored 12 points, and JaMychal Green had 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Pascal Siakam recorded 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Raptors. Norman Powell scored 15 points, Fred VanVleet had 14 points and eight assists, and Chris Boucher added 13 points.
Leonard was constantly doubled-teamed as Toronto’s defense was intent on corralling him. The strong effort came after Raptors coach Nick Nurse said following his team’s Sunday win over the Los Angeles Lakers that he was hoping to “make like very difficult” on Leonard.
“We had a long run last year. I got to know the guy inside and out, on and off the court,” Leonard said in a postgame interview on NBA TV after greeting most of his former teammates and coaches. “We had fun. It was fun to compete against them tonight.
The Raptors again played without Kyle Lowry (fractured left thumb) and Serge Ibaka (sprained right ankle).
Toronto’s OG Anunoby left 1:47 into the game when he was inadvertently poked in the eye by Leonard. He didn’t return.
The Raptors shot 40 percent from the field and were just 4 of 24 in the fourth quarter while scoring just 10 points. Toronto was 11 of 30 from 3-point range overall and committed 15 turnovers.
Los Angeles won despite shooting just 37 percent from the field, including a porous 8 of 36 (22.2 percent) from 3-point range.
The Raptors trailed by five at halftime before outscoring the Clippers 32-22 in the third quarter.
Leonard recorded his first field goal with 6:29 left in the third to give Los Angeles a 62-55 lead. The Raptors rattled off the next eight points to take a one-point lead.
Toronto took a 78-73 advantage into the final stanza.
Leonard made his second field goal with 6:07 left to give Los Angeles an 89-84 advantage.
Toronto was within 92-88 after Boucher’s put-back with 1:42 left. However, Leonard fed Harrell for a dunk with 58.1 seconds left, and Leonard made two free throws with 43.5 seconds remaining to give the Clippers an eight-point lead.
Green’s layup with 18 seconds left sealed it for Los Angeles.
Williams scored 14 first-half points to help the Clippers take a 51-46 lead.
Leonard missed all five of his shots and had four points and five assists at the break.
—Field Level Media