Kawhi Leonard isn't ready to suit up for both nights of a back-to-back just yet.
According to multiple Twitter reports , Raptors' head coach Nick Nurse indicated that the star forward will not play when the Raptors travel to take on the Philadelphia 76ers Saturday night. In addition to Leonard, multiple reports indicate that Serge Ibaka will miss his third consecutive game.
Kawhi Leonard will not play in Philly tomorrow, Nurse says. Will continue to rest half of the back-to-back.- Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) December 22, 2018
Saturday marks the ninth game of the season that Leonard will miss. A big part of the Raptors 7-1 record without Leonard is the savvy veteran backcourt of Kyle Lowry and Danny Green, who will both return to action in Philadelpia, according to ESPN's Tim Bontemps.
Kyle Lowry and Danny Green are playing tonight.- Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) December 22, 2018
In addition to Green and Lowry, Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas missed Friday night's game. In the absence of four crucial components to the roster, Kawhi Leonard took over in the second half against the Cavs, scoring 22 of his 37 points on the night in the final two quarters to push the Raptors to a win.
With the team missing up to three key players, Saturday night will be a game in which plenty of players will be counted upon to step up, including Pascal Siakam, Greg Monroe and Chris Boucher in the frontcourt. The return of Green and Lowry should be a boost for the Raptors' offence, which is inevitably set back without its leading scorer.
After taking on the Sixers at 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday on TSN, the Raptors get a much-needed three-day break before travelling to take on the Heat on Wednesday, Dec. 26.