Toronto Raptors

Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers earn wire-to-wire victory over shorthanded Toronto Raptors

Kawhi Leonard [NBA Getty Images]

The LA Clippers never trailed in this contest, picking up a wire-to-wire victory over the Toronto Raptors.

Behind 20 points from Kawhi Leonard and 20 points on a perfect 7-for-7 shooting from the field from Terrence Mann off the bench, the Clippers never quivered as they had more than enough firepower to take care of the Raptors.

If you missed any of the action, we have you covered with some thoughts below.

1. Kawhi Leonard gets it going

The Raptors have done a great job defending their former Finals MVP since he left for the Clippers but tonight, the star forward finally broke through.

Going for 16 points on an efficient 5-for-7 shooting in the first half, you could tell it was one of those nights for Leonard. He was surgical the entire night, scoring efficiently with ease.

Leonard would go for 20 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals while shooting 6-for-10 from the field and 8-for-8 from the free throw line.

His efforts gave the Clippers a comfortable enough lead that he was able to rest for the entire fourth quarter, only playing 30 minutes on the night.

2. Chris Boucher's return

Boucher missed the Raptors' last nine games after suffering a sprained MCL back on April 24 but the Canadian big man made his return to the lineup in this one.

He was rusty, as you'd expect, struggling to find his shooting touch. Boucher would finish with a team-high 16 points to go with seven rebounds, a steal and a block, but he shot 5-for-15 from the field and 2-for-9 from 3-point range.

Even with that inefficiency, it was an encouraging sign that the 28-year-old was able to get back on the floor, playing hard even in an exhibition-like contest.

3. Rough shooting night for Gary Trent Jr.

Without Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby, the Raptors desperately needed a big scoring night from Trent, but the 23-year-old just did not have the touch.

He would have his second-worst shooting performance as a Raptor, going 3-for-16 from the field and 1-for-7 from beyond the arc for a total of just nine points.

With Trent failing to reach double figures in scoring, Toronto didn't have anywhere near the firepower needed to keep up with the Clippers.

4. Freddie Gillespie's block party

First, it was DeMarcus Cousins that tried the Raptors reserve centre at the rim before quickly realized Gillespie's got some toughness and an attitude to him.

Next, Ivica Zubac tried to avenge his teammate's casualty and got the same result.

Gillespie had one of the better performances of the night with 10 points, seven rebounds, three blocks, one assist and one steal in 25 minutes off the bench.

5. Another game, another starting lineup

When the Raptors rolled out a starting five of Malachi Flynn, Gary Trent Jr., Stanley Johnson, Chris Boucher and Khem Birch, it marked the 35th (!) different starting lineup this season - a franchise record by far.

Nothing represents this chaotic season of injuries and health and safety protocols like 35 different starting lineups in 69 games.

6. What this result means for the Clippers

With the win, the Clippers maintain a one-game lead over the Denver Nuggets for the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. The win comes in a timely manner, as the Nuggets had defeated the Charlotte Hornets earlier in the night, putting some pressure on LA.

It's worth noting that in the event the Clippers and Nuggets finish the season with the same record, the Nuggets hold the tiebreaker to claim the higher seed.

7. What's next?

The Raptors have one day off before taking on the Chicago Bulls on Thursday. The Clippers will also have one day off before continuing their road trip against the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday.

The views on this page do not necessarily represent the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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