Leonard plays harder in big games, says Raptors coach Nurse

Annette Crawford
December 8, 2018

The Philadelphia 76ers faced their toughest test since the acquisition of Jimmy Butler, and it came in the form of a road game against Kawhi Leonard and the Eastern Conference-leading Toronto Raptors. "I try to perform every night", he said.

The day before, Brown suggested the game would be a "barometer" for the 76ers. Philly gave the ball away 21 times, which led to 27 points for the Raptors. "We also leave, we feel, a little bit smarter about what it's going to take to beat the best team right now in the National Basketball Association". Lowry recorded a team-high 11 assists; his 14th game with 10 or-more assists this season and the 22nd consecutive time that he has led the team outright in assists, matching Damon Stoudamire's franchise record set in 1996. Valanciunas scored a pair of baskets as Toronto's reserves replied with a 9-0 run, opening a 90-81 advantage at 9:07. Philadelphia is a good, tough opponent, and this wasn't a ideal outing for the Raptors, but it showed how talented this team is that they can fight through those games, even against a good team, and pull out the win.

"May not seem like the best matchup in the world throwing it in to JV against Embiid, but JV had it going and he did a good job", said Nurse. Butler was called for a technical foul in the third quarter and Embiid got one in the fourth.

Leonard answered by scoring the next five points, and Toronto went into the fourth period in front, 78-77.

It was Toronto, however, that emerged from Scotiabank Arena with a 113-102 victory, and based on Butler's comments heading into Wednesday's contest, preventing the Raptors from extending a lengthy home winning streak over the Sixers was really the only thing on his mind. Toronto has won 20 of the past 22 meetings with Philadelphia.

Embiid's 23 double-doubles this season are the most by an National Basketball Association player over the first 25 games of a season since Kevin Garnett also had 23 in 2004-05.

LeBron James' off-season defection from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference has opened a path for teams in the east. Unfortunately, this may have been overshadowed by another turnover-filled game for the Sixers.

Even so, Lowry had a short response when Nichols asked him about his relationship with Raptors president Masai Ujiri. That group included former Raptors All-Star Chris Bosh, former Blue Jays slugger Joe Carter, soccer player Didier Drogba, and comedian Chris Tucker.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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