Kawhi Leonard has etched his name in the hearts of Toronto fans as well as the city of Canada after delivering their maiden NBA title last season. He left town after the triumph but made his first return to the city since signing with the Los Angeles Clippers in the offseason.
Leonard was offered a rousing reception when he was introduced as a member of the visiting team. At the end of the match it was Clippers who ended on the winning side with a score of 112-92.
The point guard delivered great performance in the playoff runs last season which included a game-winning buzzer-beater which eliminated the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference semi-finals series. He then helped his team to victory over Milwaukee Bucks led by Giannis Antetokounmpo to win the conference finals. The Raptors then won the NBA Finals 4-2 over the Golden State Warriors to lift the title. Leonard averaged 30.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.7 during the playoffs.
The Raptors welcomed the 2019 NBA Finals MVP with a video tribute to Leonard that concluded with him hugging his former teammates and receive a rousing ovation from an appreciative Toronto crowd. Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry then handed Leonard his championship ring.
Speaking to ESPN, Leonard said it was great. The Raptors had an unbelievable season last year. The team competed throughout the whole season and had a historic run in the playoffs, It was a great feeling.
Leonard led the Clippers with 23 points which included 6 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals. Pascal Siakam led the Raptors with 24 points, but Kyle Lowry was restricted to 6 points and was 1-of-8 from the field.
Toronto shot just 34.5% from the field and 8-of-36 (22.2 %) from 3-point distance against Clippers defensive trio of Leonard, Paul George and Patrick Beverley.