Leonard Scores Career-High 45 To Lead Raptors Past Jazz
Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard scored a career-high 45 points, Pascal Siakam had a career-best 28 points with 10 rebounds, as Toronto beat the Utah Jazz 122-116.
Norman Powell scored a season-high 14 points, and the Raptors won their fourth straight at home despite playing without All-Star guard Kyle Lowry (sore back) and center Jonas Valanciunas (dislocated left thumb).
Leonard shot 16 for 22 overall, missing all three attempts from 3-point range, and went 13 for 17 at the free-throw line. He said he wasn’t aware of his scoring achievement until after the game.
It was the third 40-point game of Leonard’s career, including a 43-point effort against Memphis in Game 4 of the first round in April 2017. Leonard has scored 20 or more points in a career-best 14 straight games.
Jae Crowder, who went 5 for 7 from 3-point range, scored a career-high 30 points, Derrick Favors had 21 and Donovan Mitchell scored 19 as the Jazz dropped to 10-12 on the road and 18-20 overall.
Leonard made all seven of his field-goal attempts in the third quarter and added five foul shots. His 19 points were the second most in any quarter by a Raptors player this season. Furthermore, all those points allowed the Raptors to set a franchise record with 44 points in the third quarter.
After making two 3-pointers in the first half, the Raptors connected on their first three long-range shots of the third quarter, turning a two-point halftime deficit into a 12-point edge midway through the quarter. Siakam went 3 for 3 from 3-point range in the third and scored 13 points. Toronto outscored Utah 44-32 to take a 95-85 lead into the fourth.
Utah’s Rudy Gobert scored 16 points, and Ricky Rubio had 14. Rubio started after sitting out Saturday’s win over New York because of a sore left knee and sore lower back, while Crowder was back after missing the victory over the Knicks because of a sore left thumb.
With this result, the Jazz has lost five of six on the road and nine of 12 meetings against Toronto. The win improved the Raptors to 5-2 on New Year’s Day, including a 4-0 mark at home.
The Raptors now travel to San Antonio to take on the Spurs on Thursday, while the Jazz will visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night.