Kawhi Leonard continues hot streak as Raptors thump 76ers
TORONTO — Kawhi Leonard turned in another strong effort at both ends of the floor, and the Raptors responded well after their first loss of the season.
Leonard scored 31 points, Pascal Siakam had 15 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, and the Raptors rolled past Philadelphia 129-112 on Tuesday night, handing the 76ers their 12th consecutive defeat north of the border.
Kyle Lowry had 20 points and 13 assists, extending his streak of double-digit assist games to a career-best six.
“Nice bounce back,” Lowry said. “Good win.”
Jonas Valanciunas scored a season-high 23 points and Serge Ibaka had 16 as the Raptors set a season high in points and broke a franchise record with their sixth straight home win to begin the year.
Leonard led Toronto with four steals and the Raptors had 13 in all, hounding Philadelphia into a season-worst 23 turnovers.
“It’s just his natural instinct for getting his hands on stuff,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said of Leonard. “The ball is popping around and boom, he comes out of there with it.”
Ben Simmons narrowly missed a triple-double, finishing with 11 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds, but also committed 11 turnovers. Asked afterward about Leonard’s defensive abilities, Simmons called the Toronto star “a freak.”
“His hands are huge, he’s got long arms,” Simmons said. “He’s a great defender.”
Leonard returned to Toronto’s lineup after sitting out Monday’s loss at Milwaukee, the second time this season he has been rested in one half of a back-to-back. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year was limited to nine games with San Antonio last season because of a quadriceps injury.
Leonard did not speak to reporters after the game because he was lifting weights.
Philadelphia coach Brett Brown, who spent more than a decade on San Antonio’s staff, said he’s not shocked by Leonard’s return from the injury.
“To see Kawhi playing basketball at the level that he’s playing, it does not surprise me,” Brown said.
Leonard has scored at least 20 in all six games he’s played this season. He shot 10-for-19 against Philadelphia and went 9-for-10 at the free throw line.
Joel Embiid scored 31 points, Robert Covington had 15 and JJ Redick scored 13 as the 76ers lost for the first time in three games. Philadelphia is 0-4 on the road.
“We just need to get one,” Simmons said.
Philadelphia trailed by as many as 26 in the third quarter before fighting back. Embiid cut the deficit to six, 117-111, on a 3-pointer with 3:29 remaining. After a timeout, Toronto responded with a 7-0 run that was capped by a 3 from Leonard with 1:56 left.
Toronto’s home winning streak against the Sixers is the second-longest against a single opponent in franchise history, eclipsed only by an active 15-game streak against Minnesota.
76ers: Embiid had 11 rebounds. … Philadelphia had eight turnovers in the first quarter and 14 in the opening half, including seven by Simmons. “It’s borderline impossible to win when you have that many,” Brown said. … The Sixers have not won in Toronto since a 93-83 victory on Nov. 10, 2012.
Raptors: G Fred VanVleet (sprained left big toe) missed his fourth straight game. … F OG Anunoby (personal reason) was inactive for the third straight game. … Toronto outscored Philadelphia 27-12 on the fast break. … Siakam scored a career-best 22 points at Milwaukee on Monday.
TOUCH OF GRAY
Earlier Tuesday, the 76ers unveiled their new City Edition uniforms for the season. In a release, the team said the gray sweatsuit-textured jersey and shorts were inspired by the training scenes from the Philadelphia-set “Rocky” and “Creed” movies.
Damon Stoudamire owns the Raptors franchise record with seven consecutive games of 10 or more assists, a mark that Lowry could match in Toronto’s next game.
PACK YOUR BAGS
After playing six of their first eight games at home, Toronto is on the road for its next four and eight of its next 11.
76ers: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night.
Raptors: At Phoenix on Friday night.
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