RAPTORS’ PLUCKY EFFORT COMES UP SHORT AGAINST CLIPPERS

The Raptors lost OG Anunoby early in the game when he was poked in the eye inadvertently by Kawhi Leonard. Anunoby left the game bleeding and did not return. Raptors coach Nick Nurse was hit with a technical foul when he argued for a foul call.

From the Los Angeles Daily News

-By MIRJAM SWANSON | mswanson@scng.com | Southern California News Group
PUBLISHED: November 11, 2019 at 10:37 pm | UPDATED: November 11, 2019 at 11:30 pm
https://www.dailynews.com/2019/11/11/kawhi-leonard-clippers-beat-raptors-but-lose-landry-shamet-to-injury/

LOS ANGELES — In a knock-down, drag-out defensive test of mettle, Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers took a proud champion’s best shot and withstood it, defeating the Toronto Raptors 98-88 on Monday.

Leonard stepped on the court with Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet and crew for the first time since June 13, when they won an NBA title together.

This time, of course, Leonard was working against the guys with Raptors across their chest, having departed in free agency, ending months of speculation by choosing to come home to Southern California and play for the Clippers rather than run it back with Toronto.

Leonard told the Staples Center crowd, split in its allegiances Monday, that it meant something to face his former teammates: “Definitely. Got to know the guys inside and out, on and off the court. We had fun, it was fun to compete against them tonight.”

His presence in L.A. made the Clippers immediate favorites among oddsmakers and league general managers – but Monday it was the Raptors who played, fittingly, like champions the past two days, splitting a tough Staples Center back to back despite two of their starters being sidelined by injury.

On Sunday, Toronto (7-3) stormed past the Lakers 113-104, disrupting their seven-game winning streak and shutting out former Raptor Danny Green.

On Monday, the Raptors took it to Leonard and his new company, playing swarming, relentless defense and making L.A. work for the win before an enthusiastic crowd split in its allegiances.

Toronto trailed by only four points on Chris Boucher’s putback with 1:42 left, but then Leonard’s ninth assist set up a flying Montrezl Harrell dunk followed by a pair of Leonard makes at the line with 43 seconds to go effectively closed the door.

“They’re a confident team,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said before the game. “I call it the championship rub. You win the title, you can lose five guys … and guys believe they can win because they have won. They know how to win together, so you see them playing that way as a group, you can’t break that.”

The victory was costly for the Clippers (7-3), who lost starting shooting guard Landry Shamet in the third quarter, when the team said he sprained his left ankle while defending Fred VanVleet, his former college teammate, on a drive to the hoop. Shamet, who did not put any weight on his left foot while he was helped to the locker room, left the locker room on crutches after the game and will undergo an MRI in the morning.

Toronto led 78-73 entering the fourth quarter, when Leonard had been hot this season, averaging a league-best 13.5 points per game entering Monday.

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