Leonard scores 45 points, Raptors top 76ers
TORONTO (AP) — Kawhi Leonard scored a career playoff-high 45 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, Pascal Siakam added 29 points and the Toronto Raptors beat the Philadelphia 76ers 108-95 in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series on Saturday night.
Leonard matched his career-best scoring total for any game, set Jan. 1 against Utah. He made 16 of 22 shots, going 3 of 6 from 3-point range, and went 10 for 11 at the free throw line.
Leonard received a standing ovation when he checked out with 3:14 to play and the Raptors up 107-88.
Kyle Lowry had 9 points and eight assists as the Raptors led by as many as 20 en route to their fifth straight postseason victory, extending a franchise record.
Toronto won its 14th consecutive home meeting with Philadelphia and improved to 22-3 against the 76ers since the start of the 2013-14 season. No other opponent has beaten Philadelphia more often over the past five seasons.
Leonard’s previous postseason high was 43, with San Antonio against Memphis on April 22, 2017. He matched that by making a pair of free throws with 4:45 remaining, then topped it by draining a jump shot on Toronto’s next possession.
Tobias Harris had 14 points and 15 rebounds, and JJ Redick scored 17 points for the 76ers, whose four-game playoff winning streak was snapped.
Joel Embiid scored 16 points and Ben Simmons had 14. Jimmy Butler scored 10 points and shot 4 for 12.
Toronto improved to 3-14 in the first game of a playoff series, winning an opener for the first time since a first-round victory against Washington on April 14, 2018.
The only other time Toronto won a playoff series opener was 2001, when Vince Carter’s Raptors won Game 1 of the second round at Philadelphia. Toronto lost that series in seven games.
On Saturday, hot starts from Leonard and Siakam put Toronto in control early, and Lowry fuelled a pivotal 10-0 run in the third quarter that kept the Raptors comfortable.