LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kawhi Leonard wasn’t at his best against his former team. His new teammates knocked down big shots and won anyway.
Leonard struggled on 2-for-11 shooting and had nine turnovers, but Lou Williams led a big effort from the bench with 21 points and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors 98-88 on Monday night.
Leonard finished with 12 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists to go with those nine turnovers, prompting Clippers coach Doc Rivers to joke about “almost a quadruple-double.”
Throughout the game, Leonard faced plenty of double coverage.
“As soon as I walked across half-court they tried to get the ball out of my hands,” he said. “They did a great job on me defending and sending an extra body. It got me better and it’s going to get my teammates better.”
Last season, Leonard led the Raptors to their first championship, averaging 30.5 points and 9.1 rebounds in 24 postseason games to earn his second Finals MVP award.
“I had a great time there. It’s the next chapter now. I can’t live in the past,” he said. “I’m with a different team and they want to have that same feeling.”
The Clippers shot just 37% but dominated the boards 66-38, led by 12 each from Patrick Beverley and JaMychal Green.
Los Angeles’ bench outscored Toronto’s reserves 56-35, with Montrezl Harrell adding 14 points and 11 rebounds and Green posting 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Leonard’s first five points all came on free throws, including two technicals. He missed his first six field goal attempts and finally scored on a coast-to-coast layup midway through the third quarter to put the Clippers up 62-55.
From there, the Raptors outscored Los Angles 23-11 the rest of the period. Pascal Siakam had seven points and Fred VanVleet added five in the spurt as…