Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard showed flashes of brilliance in his debut with the team on Saturday, finishing with 12 points, three assists and one steal in 19 minutes of action.
“I think everybody saw Kawhi, he was shaking off some rust, right?” coach Nick Nurse asked postgame, according to Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. “But you can obviously see the level that he has and I think he looks like we’re all running around really fast and he gets it and everything goes into slow motion. It’s kind of a gift for guys that are as good as him and it’s neat to watch, too.”
Leonard was traded to the Raptors in July after a tumultuous end to his stint with the Spurs. He missed most of last season due to injury, with Saturday’s preseason game marking his first contest since January.
“I think it’s just going to take on-court minutes, getting the experience together, going out there and playing and getting a feel for the overall team, the overall game that he likes to play,” Kyle Lowry said of Leonard. “And the pace. We played at a really good pace tonight. It was a fun game, just good to get out there and compete against another team.”
There’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- Sixers guard Zhaire Smith was admitted to the hospital on Thursday after suffering an allergic reaction, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Smith had a thoracoscopy, with tests returning negative. He did not travel with the team to China.
- The Celtics are opting to bring rookie Robert Williams along slowly, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston details. “You can’t be amazed the whole game,” Williams said. “I had to put that to the side. I saw a couple nice moves by Kemba [Walker], but I want to block that [expletive]. That’s the mentality I’m supposed to have.”
- David Aldridge of The Athletic explains how the Sixers named Elton Brand the new general manager of the team, tasking him with continuing the franchise’s ascension.