Toronto – Caoi Leonard was victorious from Sunday's 108-95 win over the Philadelphia 76 with just over three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. To this point, he made 16 out of 23 shots he tried and 10 out of 11 throws free to bring his total score to 45 points.
It was a high career game for Toronto and Raptors superstar tied most he scored every game in his NBA career.
Leonard said he wanted him not to pull out of the game earlier.
"I tried to get out of the game before it reached this point," said Leonard after his team took a 1-0 lead in the series in its semi-finals in the East. "We were 20 points with probably as five minutes left, and I've looked at the bench trying to get them to come and get me out of the game."
In a minute or two, and Leonard could drive a little more of the player's best conversation in the game, away from Kevin Durant, who drew 50 points on Friday for Golden State fighters. A few more shots were made, and he could have joined Vince Carter as only Raptors score 50 in the postseason game; Instead, he settled on being one of the two Raptors to score 40 plus in the playoffs.
Victory, he claimed, was good enough.
"That one thing, it's not great for me," Leonard said. "To reach these goals, it's great when you do it and you can win, but our focus is every game trying to win the football. So we play the game. We do not play so I can score 50 or get 40 points, Trying to say, "Raptors win" at the end of the day. "
Leonard's offensive attack began early when he scored 17 points on 7 for 9 shooting in the first quarter and Toronto headed up to 14 in the opening frame. His outburst – 17 points tied to his best for most points in the playoff quarter – helped drive out the demons playing 1 Raptors' playoffs as the franchise was 2-14 each time the series vents came into the night.
Pascal Seakam, who finished with 29 points on 12 to 15 shooting, was right there with Leonard, equal to his first quarter total of 17 points on 7 for 9 shooting. It was the first time that two team members scored 15 points or more in the first quarter of the game in the last 15 minutes, according to data collected by ESPN Stats and Information.
"Of course, even if Cauchy comes out, you know he'll get some attention and open up the floor," Syakam said.
At one point, the Raptors hit 13 consecutive attempts in the field goal in the first quarter as a team, making it the longest streak in the post-franchise history. Leonard and Syakam combined 11 of them.
"He's a spectacular player, and he had a spectacular night, and he hit some spectacular shots," said Gerry Richie when asked about Leonard. "I'm not going what our game plan was, but I think we can make our game plan a bit better," he said. "I'm not going what our game plan was, but I think we can make our game plan a bit better, Obviously, we need to understand what we are doing with him and with Siakam. "
The reptiles were surprised that Leonard had seen so much coverage against Philadelphia. Butler began the game on him, and when Ben Simmons got the job, Leonard was already rolling.
"Personally, I think I've done a pretty good job, but he's a tough player, he's Cawahi," Simmons said. "He's a physical guy, a long time, he can shoot a ball, so he's a tough guy to suit him."
As a team, though?
"I do not think we've shown enough help," Simmons said of defending the Swords over Leonard.
Philadelphia coach Bert Brown said Simmons could play more on Leonard in game 2 on Monday, but he still wanted to use a combination of Simmons, Butler and Tobias Harris for the Leonard-Syakam match.
"You can see [Simmons] More about Kawhi? Maybe, "Brown said," maybe some of the others we need [be] Better and give him help with the crowd. … Our intention was to protect several players from Kawhi from the team that I just said. "
Meanwhile, Tandem's Toronto Mark Gasol and Serge Ibaka was very effective at Joel Embiid, holding the Philadelphia Big Man 16 points on the 5th of the 18 shooting.
"It's very important that he can go to do a lot of things and he can take over the game, he can go wild on you, it was great," said Raptors coach Nick Nurse on containing the Ambade. "He filmed a little harder, I thought we were taking the ball a little further than maybe he wanted a few times … I thought we were pinching the color a bit, making it look a bit cramped where it was uncomfortable."
And Leonard gave the home team the comfort of a 1-0 lead.
"I guess it's not surprising, but nice enough tonight," the nurse said. "It was a great performance at both ends, I just love the power he plays with him on both ends, but especially when he gets the ball, he pushes him off the floor, he hits the gaps by force, he is determined to reach the expanses.
"I guess I should not have been surprised, but it was pretty cool to see tonight."