It’s just preseason, but winning commence for Kawhi Leonard with Raptors

Mike Ashley offering avid gamers a free break if Newcastle avoid relegation is an insult… I’d have advised him to shove it where the solar don’t shine

Vancouver AP — Kawhi Leonard is at last lower back on the courtroom and the Toronto Raptors may still be happy with the consequences.

Leonard scored 12 features in his first game along with his new crew and the Raptors beat the Portland trail Blazers 122-104 on Saturday night in Vancouver, British Columbia, in the preseason opener for both teams.

Leonard performed 19 minutes and didn’t shoot exceptionally smartly, missing all 4 3-pointers and going just 6-of-11 from the free throw line. however he performed aggressively and moved smartly after being limited to simply 9 games last season for San Antonio on account of a thigh injury. The 2014 NBA Finals MVP hadn’t played in a video game in view that January.

Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum every played the first quarter for Portland. Lillard scored 12 points and McCollum had nine.

Danny green, who came from San Antonio with Leonard, changed into 1 for 6 and comprehensive with 5 facets in Toronto’s first game below new teach Nick Nurse.

Meyers Leonard led Portland with 16 elements. Longtime beginning center Jonas Valanciunas came off the bench to guide Toronto with 17 points.

VANCOUVER – It was the first seem on the Raptors, but all eyes have been on one man.

There had been a lot of changes when you consider that that sweep at the hands of LeBron James Cavaliers closing may additionally, but the center of attention with out query in online game 1 was on Kawhi Leonard.

the previous Spur become already the closest to a superstar that the franchise has ever had and that turned into before he took the court docket.

In his first game considering closing Jan. 13 when a hip injury shut him down for the the rest of the yr, Leonard gave no indication that the hip become from now on an argument.

Over 19 minutes, all of them within the first half and all of them alongside the different alpha male on this team, Kyle Lowry, Leonard confirmed a little little bit of everything in a 122-104 Raptors remove before an additional Vancouver sellout of 18.”654.

Leonard become 3-for-eight from the box, had a rebound, three assists and 12 points attending to the line eleven instances and making six. outcomes, although, did not seem like on the forefront of his mind following the video game.

“Yeah, you understand it’s going to rob time to get my rhythm, however I felt tremendous being out there and being capable of compete. just having enjoyable,” he referred to.

“It changed into crucial only for me getting acclimated to the crew. Like i used to be saying, in game play calls, seeing what everybody does on the flooring, so, yeah, it turned into crucial.”

The obvious signs of rust were together with his shot. He was 0-for-4 from three regardless of some glorious first rate appears and 6-for-eleven from the line is nowhere close the eighty five% shooter he’s from the line in his career.

which will include time.

It changed into clear from the outset that the group turned into here to peer Leonard.

They had been cheering his makes in the layup line for the primary short while. Leonard pointed out he turned into too locked in to be aware.

When he neglected his first effort from the field, a hurried conclusion-of-the-shot-clock three, the group reacted like they had been nearly in pain.

The next shuttle down the ground with Lowry leading the destroy, the crowd changed into imploring him to get the ball to Leonard.

It finally found its way into his hands and Leonard didn’t disappoint, pulling down a mid-range jumper for his first bucket as a Raptor, bringing the crowd to its toes.

together with Lowry and Leonard, head educate Nick Nurse, making his personal debut in the head teaching function in this first game of the pre-season, opted to launch veterans CJ Miles, Danny eco-friendly and Serge Ibaka.

Nurse made some extent of stressing the lineups and combos he used ultimate evening can be far and wide. in short, nothing, or in no way too tons, changed into to be study into the rest on this night.

The one chemistry test he did permit himself was a heavy dose of the Lowry-Leonard tandem.

One sequence midway throughout the 2d quarter needed to have Nurse smiling.

A circulate excessive to Lowry at midcourt compelled the Raptors aspect safeguard to show round to haul it in. He re-directed a touch flow to a hard-charging Leonard, who despatched it right returned to Lowry, who drove the lane before giving it lower back to Leonard for the effortless lay-in.

handiest an over-zealous reliable’s name broke the play, but in any other case it changed into dazzling.

“They had been first rate. I think there were a few gorgeous cool sequences where they discovered each and every other in areas and that i suppose that’s neat,” Nurse spoke of.

“I think each person saw Kawhi, he became shaking off some rust, appropriate? but which you could undoubtedly see the stage that he has and i feel he feels like we’re all working round in reality quick and he receives it and every little thing goes into sluggish movement. It’s variety of a present for guys which are pretty much as good as him and it’s neat to monitor, too.”

Lowry changed into chuffed with the level of connection he and Leonard had, but counseled there’s nevertheless plenty or room for boom.

“I think it’s simply going to tackle-court minutes, getting the experience collectively, going available and enjoying and getting a consider for the average crew, the general video game that he likes to play,” Lowry noted. ”

There became one moderate scare when Leonard took a tough tainted halfway in the course of the 2d quarter from Zach Collins that knocked him on his lower back. All different 4 Raptors on the ground sprinted to the chapter and helped Leonard again to his toes. He regarded no worse for the damage after the autumn.

again, Leonard didn’t note the rest out of the common.

“just a standard NBA game for me,” he said.

Nurse obtained to peer all his mainstays apart from OG Anunoby, who left the team to go domestic and attend to a family subject.

Jonas Valanciunas, who didn’t inaugurate the online game, wound up with a crew-high 17 features within the online game on 4-of-8 shooting and brought seven rebounds.

Pascal Siakam, coming off a banner summer, played a Raptors-excessive 21 minutes and led the team with 13 rebounds, however shot simply 3-of-10 for six facets.

The game became slowed down considerably by means of a gentle circulate to the free throw line, because of the the league cracking down on greater grabbing and touch fouls. Toronto went to the road 51 instances in the video game and converted 42 of them. The Blazers, who clearly neglected the memo on that emphasis, got there 25 times and have been referred to as for 44 fouls.

however Leonard received into the video game, confirmed he turned into in shape and regarded at ease together with his new teammates. It became satisfactory to send all and sundry home happy.


VANCOUVER – If there changed into one enviornment Nick Nurse wasn’t chuffed with, however not at all stunned by using, it was his club’s choppy protecting play their first time under the lights.

Nurse knew coming in the defence became behind and a primary quarter in which they gave up 33 facets bore that out.

“We have been blowing loads of coverages on defence,” Nurse observed. ” We put in lots of our foundational shielding stuff, which involves no switching, and this group type of forces you to be a beautiful good switching group. We had been miscommunicating after we stated go forward and change just a few.

“people discuss offensive chemistry all of the time, however shielding chemistry is whatever thing you have to construct, too, and there’s a lot of that work to be accomplished with just communications and suppose of who certain guys play,” Nurse stated.

it’s expected that eventually this might be a really difficult protective side to play. however with the defence as a whole a work in growth and with Kawhi Leonard just getting comfortable with his new group and OG Anunoby, one more key part of the defence, away to deal with the a household difficulty, issues were a little flat on that aspect of the ball.

It won’t be like that for a lot longer in keeping with the personnel this team can throw at opponents.