EditorsNote: rewords lede; new third graf added; changes Love’s rebound total in fourth graf
Kawhi Leonard scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in his Raptors debut, helping Toronto defeat the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers 116-104 Wednesday night in the season opener for both teams.
Kyle Lowry had 27 points and eight assists for the Raptors. Fred VanVleet added 14 points, Pascal Siakam had 13 points and Danny Green chipped in with 11. Jonas Valanciunas grabbed 12 rebounds.
Leonard and Green were acquired by Toronto from the Spurs in a July trade, with Leonard exiting San Antonio after a contentious and injury-filled season with his longtime team.
Kevin Love scored 21 points and added seven rebounds for the Cavaliers, and Cedi Osman had 17 points and 10 rebounds. George Hill and Jordan Clarkson each added 15 points, and Rodney Hood scored 12.
Tristan Thompson added 13 rebounds for Cleveland.
Toronto took a 15-point lead into the fourth quarter, but the Cavaliers cut it to nine in a 1:21 span on three jumpers by Clarkson.
Serge Ibaka hit a 3-pointer with 7:32 to play in the fourth, and Toronto led by 12.
The Cavaliers trailed by seven with just over three minutes left after an Osman free throw.
A dunk by Norman Powell and a layup by Green closed the scoring in the first quarter and gave Toronto a 28-25 lead.
Osman led Cleveland with seven first-quarter points and Leonard led Toronto with six.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Lowry and Green gave Toronto a 42-36 lead with 6:40 to play in the second quarter.
The Raptors opened a 13-point lead on Leonard’s turnaround fadeaway with 2:42 left in the half.
Lowry finished the half with a layup at the buzzer, giving Toronto a 60-47 lead.
Lowry’s 3-pointer not quite two minutes into the third quarter bumped Toronto’s edge to 15 points. Another Lowry 3-pointer boosted the lead to 20 with 8:33 left in the third.
Kyle Korver’s 3-pointer cut Toronto’s lead to 13 with just over three minutes to play in the third quarter.
The Cavaliers were without JR Smith (right elbow) and Larry Nance Jr. (right ankle).
Toronto’s Delon Wright (adductor strain) was also out.
—Field Level Media