SportThe Raptors are rolling and Kawhi Leonard looks like an MVP

18:40  06 december  2018
18:40  06 december  2018 Source:   si.com

Leonard scores 27 points as Raptors rout Wizards 125-107

Leonard scores 27 points as Raptors rout Wizards 125-107 Kawhi Leonard had 27 points and 10 rebounds, Kyle Lowry scored 15 points and the Toronto Raptors won their fourth straight game, beating the Washington Wizards 125-107 on Friday night. OG Anunoby scored 15 points and Fred VanVleet had 13 as Toronto posted its third straight win over the Wizards and improved its NBA-leading record to 16-4. The Raptors are 10-0 this season against teams with losing records. Danny Green, Anunoby and VanVleet each made three 3-pointers as the Raptors made a season-high 17 from long range. Toronto shot 43.6 percent (17 for 39) from behind the arc, its highest percentage of the season.

Kawhi Anthony Leonard (/kəˈwaɪ/, born June 29, 1991) is an American professional basketball player for the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Kawhi Leonard is proud of the Raptors for "executing down the stretch" and talks about what it's like to face Kevin Durant. The Jump crew debates if the Raptors are a good fit for Kawhi Leonard in free agency and what would happen to the team if he leaves.

The Raptors are rolling and Kawhi Leonard looks like an MVP© Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP

The Sixers and Raptors met Wednesday night in Toronto for a game that might have been an Eastern Conference playoff preview. The action was back and forth throughout, but it was sloppy, too. Neither team was hitting on all cylinders. In the end, Wednesday night came down to Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler. The latter finished with 38 points and 10 rebounds on 15-27 shooting. Kawhi finished with 36 and nine, and he got the win.

The difference for Toronto was defense. Leonard had five steals to go with his 36 points and he was wreaking havoc in the passing lanes all night long. The Sixers finished with 21 turnovers, including 11 in the second quarter (when the Raptors turned an eight-point deficit into a four-point halftime lead). Along with the increasingly sensational Pascal Siakam, Kawhi helped make Philly's stars uncomfortable throughout the game. Passes were deflected, ballhandlers were harassed, and the Sixers had no good answers beyond pull-up jumpers from Butler and J.J. Redick. Couple Leonard's defense with his production on offense, and it's games like Wednesday that will eventually help make an MVP case.

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Gregg Popovich Claims Kawhi Leonard Wasn't a Leader for the Spurs ​When he's actually​ in the mood to speak, Gregg Popovich never minces words, even when he's having a bit of fun. 

Jalen Rose likes the Kawhi Leonard trade for DeMar DeRozan because it gives both San Antonio and Toronto a Even if Kawhi Leonard walks next summer, the Raptors can start a full rebuild. He's a more dangerous post-up scorer, which should make him at least as dynamic a pick-and- roll partner

Share. Tweet. Share. Share. Email. It feels wrong to do this. It really does. Less than 72 hours after the Toronto Raptors shipped out DeMar DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard I’m writing a column about what this new Raptors team might look like .

Defense is has always been what makes Leonard special; it won him a Finals MVP. The crazy thing about watching Kawhi today is that even as he's grown as a player and blossomed into the sort of scorer who can carry an offense by himself, his signature hasn't changed. Other players are called two-way stars if they can play defense; that doesn't mean they will actually dominate that end of the floor for an entire game. I'm thinking of players like Butler, Kevin Durant, Paul George; they turn defense on and off as needed. Kawhi is always there, haunting teams, waiting on a mistake, ready. It's not just hype.

Last Thursday, even as Durant was having an out of body experience to carry the Warriors to overtime, Leonard was in his jersey the entire time. 51 points in, when Durant finally got lazy on a crossover in overtime, Leonard poked the ball away and forced a turnover. Durant never scored again. Toronto pulled away and got the win.

Report: Kawhi Leonard signs with New Balance

Report: Kawhi Leonard signs with New Balance Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard has signed a multi-year endorsement deal with New Balance, sources told Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes. 

Kawhi Leonard is no longer a Spur, but none of the marquee young players tossed around in As reported offers came rolling in, it became clear they wouldn’t. The most obvious buyers on the How the Raptors are risking everything and nothing for Kawhi Leonard . The 76ers didn’t offer Markelle

It could look something like this: Kawhi Leonard + Danny Green OR Patty Mills —> DeMar DeRozan, OG Anunoby, Delon Wright, 2019 protected first-round Unless of course, the rest of the roster is as upset as Lowry reportedly is . The Raptors are deep, and a lack of commitment from Leonard to sign

As for Wednesday, if that was a playoff preview, it's hard to say how much we really learned. Joel Embiid was exhausted and uncharacteristically ineffective, while Ben Simmons was invisible. Only one of those problems figures to factor into any playoff series. Kyle Lowry and the Toronto supporting cast got decent looks all night, but outside of Leonard, Raptors were 3-23 from three-point range. That kind of ice cold night won't happen very often during a playoff series. On the other hand, a supporting cast full of role players of aging stars could be very a real concern when it's time to compete at the highest levels of the league. As much as the Raptors have changed, some of the same questions will have to be answered come May.

For now, Kawhi is the story. The rust is gone. Encouraging signs during the first few weeks have given way to collective dread around the East, and possibly some remorse. Do you think Boston would like to revisit the decision to keep Jaylen Brown off the table with the Spurs last summer? Leonard will be in the MVP conversation all year, but that's become obvious over the past week. Between last Thursday and Wednesday vs. Philly, we've gotten two nationally televised reminders that the Raptors are one of the best teams in the league, and Leonard's impact is undeniable. Giannis is currently the MVP front-runner, but it's also early December. We'll see.

Leonard scores 37, Raptors beat Warriors 131-128 in OT

Leonard scores 37, Raptors beat Warriors 131-128 in OT Leonard scores 37, Raptors beat Warriors 131-128 in OT

Toronto looks like the most complete team outside whatever basketball hedonism Stephen Curry oversees in the Bay. The Raptors have the versatility to Their most frequent starting five -- Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard , Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka -- features two nominal big men

In the blockbuster trade that sent Kawhi Leonard to the Raptors in exchange for DeMar DeRozan There were rumblings about Leonard eyeing a more glamorous market, in part because he—or at It’s hard to say what will happen with the Raptors going forward. But like DeRozan, they—and the

NADKARNI: The Eastern Conference Goes Through Kawhi Leonard

The more interesting question is how many minds Kawhi Leonard can really change this season. Because it's all on the table. This Raptors team is very good, and there's a chance to be great. To get there, Kawhi will have to stake his claim as the most complete superstar in the NBA. For several years now, the three best players in the basketball have been Steph Curry, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant. Maybe that discussion will be more interesting by next summer.

Leonard's defense is better than any superstar in basketball, and offensively, he's a machine. He bullies almost anyone teams put in front of him. As I wrote back in October, "Kawhi is never really settling for tough shots. He's just calmly leveraging his size and footwork into open looks, and then rising up to knock them down. The best version of his game is like Kobe Bryant with the DNA of Tim Duncan." Watch a Raptors game and you can't help but come away baffled by just how good he is. You notice the defense, and how clinical he's become on offense, and you begin to wonder about bigger questions.

I don't know whether Kawhi belongs in the conversation with the best players on earth, but watching the Raptors early on this year, I do know this: He's never had a better opportunity to make his case.

Raptors rout Warriors 113-93 without Kawhi to complete sweep.
Kyle Lowry had 23 points and 12 assists to lead a balanced Toronto offense while leading scorer Kawhi Leonard sat out, Serge Ibaka added 20 points and the Raptors dominated Golden State from the start, beating the Warriors 113-93 to complete a season sweep. Danny Green scored 15 points, Pascal Siakam had 13 and Fred VanVleet added 10 to help the Raptors improve to an NBA-best 23-7, matching the best start in franchise history. BOX SCORE: RAPTORS 113, WARRIORS 93 They did it despite not having Leonard for a second consecutive night. Toronto's star forward has a sore right hip and was questionable before the game before being ruled out less than 30 minutes before tip-off.

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