Playoff Kawhi is a problem.
Kawhi Leonard scored 45 points, leading the charge in the Toronto Raptors’ 108-95 Game 1 win over the Philadelphia 76ers to start off the series with a home win. It was a rare series-opening win for the Raptors, just their second Game 1 win in franchise history.
Wait, wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. The Raptors won Game 1.
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) April 28, 2019
Leonard shot 16-of-23 from the field for his 45 — the most he’s scored in a postseason game — in addition to grabbing 11 rebounds.
“My teammates have confidence in me,” Leonard said. “[The shots] just went down tonight.”
Sixers ended the third quarter on a 9-1 run, but could not chip away at an 11-point deficit at the start of the fourth. In the fourth, Leonard striped a corner three and then a turnaround jumper to give the Raptors an 18-point lead, serving as the dagger.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 28, 2019
The Raptors could not miss early on, making 13 straight shots at one point in the first quarter. They shot 57 percent in the first half, and Leonard was on a roll. He was everywhere — that patented midrange turnaround, 3-pointers, driving layups, kicking out for open shots, blocks that led to transition points.
Leonard finished with 27 points in the first half, though the Sixers hung around, trailing by 8 at the end of one and 9 at halftime.
If Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam continue to outscore Philly’s starting five by themselves (74-72), I’d say the Sixers will be in trouble.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) April 28, 2019
What’s funny, though, is that Ben Simmons believed he played good defense on Leonard.
Ben Simmons asked about guarding Kawhi: "Personally, I think I did a good job overall.”
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) April 28, 2019
But Toronto pulled away in the third, using a 10-0 run to bump the lead to 14 points. After the Sixers had clawed within a point in the second quarter, the Raptors built up a comfortable margin.
Kawhi says no
Leonard’s signature moment came late in the third, when he rejected Tobias Harris’ layup attempt, and Siakam dunked on the other end to give the Raptors an 83-70 lead.
— NBA (@NBA) April 28, 2019
And Drake, noted Raptors fan, was actually cheering for the right team this time.
🗣 "Get them the f--k outta here"
Drake is done with the Sixers pic.twitter.com/oHjAzuFiQd
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 28, 2019
Game 2 will be Monday at 8 p.m. ET in Toronto.
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