What a night it was for the Toronto Raptors.
Highlighted by Kawhi Leonard's Toronto debut, the Raptors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 116-104. Kyle Lowry had a great night as well, and new Head Coach Nick Nurse picked up the first win of his head coaching career.
If you missed any of the action, we had you covered with score updates, highlights and more. As for key takeaways from the game, look no further than here...
Kawhi is back
Kawhi Leonard's Raptors debut was nothing short of what was expected. The former Finals MVP notched a double-double in 37 minutes with 24 points and 12 rebounds, adding a pair of assists as well. It might not have been the most efficient scoring night for Leonard, who shot 9-for-22 from the field, but he was not forcing shots by any means. Leonard finished well around the rim and knocked down one of his three 3-point attempts, with the majority of his misses coming from mid-range.
Leonard's mid-range jumper is a staple of his game and despite the misses, it still opened up the offence for the players on the wing around him because of the attention he commands from the defence when he has the ball inside the arc.
Ideally, you'd like to see him get to the free throw line more than six times (5-for-6), but that was a repercussion of the 14 jump shots he took. Overall, the Raptors were a better team when Leonard was on the floor (plus-15) and in his first regular season game since January 13th, he looked back to his old form through 37 minutes of play.
Do not forget about Kyle Lowry
With the debut of Leonard, the spotlight was taken off Lowry momentarily but it didn't take long for it to be shared.
Lowry was red hot all night long - he had a game-high 27 points while shooting 10-for-12 from the field and 5-for-6 from beyond the arc. It seemed like any time that the Cavaliers made a run, Lowry was there to keep things in control for Toronto, and he also did a great job distributing the ball dishing out a team-high eight assists.
Lowry took advantage of the defence from the Cavaliers guards, making them pay every time he was left open. He also gave the defence fits by forcing them to choose whether or not step in and help on the drive knowing he has shooters all around him to kick out to.
Of Lowry's 10 makes, it was a perfect five-five split between layups and threes. He attacked the Cavs' defence from both inside and out and remained the motor of the Raptors' offence.
Nick Nurse will utilize the Raptors' depth
Going into the game, it was known that the Raptors were one of the deepest teams in the NBA.
Nurse put the team's depth on full display tonight, playing 10 guys consistently throughout the game. The Raptors' new coach rolled out Lowry, Leonard, Danny Green, Pascal Siakam and Jonas Valanciunas as a starting lineup, then went five guys deep into his bench, utilizing Fred VanVleet (25 minutes) and Serge Ibaka (27 minutes) the most. Both C.J. Miles and Norman Powell both saw over 10 minutes of action. OG Anunoby played 17 minutes before leaving the game in the third quarter with a bruise on his right eye.
Delon Wright was out due to a strained left adductor but will be an 11th guy who can add valuable minutes off the bench for Nurse, too. This Raptors team is a legitimate 11-to-12 players deep, which will give Nurse plenty of freedom to try out a ton of different lineups throughout the season.
This team can and will shoot
Nurse wanted to play space-and-pace basketball and shoot more threes and you saw just that on Wednesday.
The Raptors connected on 42.4 percent of their threes, shooting 14-for-33 on the night. Of the 10 players that received significant playing time, only two did not make a three (Anunoby and Valanciunas), but all 10 players attempted at least one 3-pointer.
The team's 3-point shooting was the difference maker tonight, as they won by 12 and doubled the number of threes the Cavaliers made (seven). You can anticipate that with the number of shooters this team has and their head coach's willingness to give everyone the green light, 3-point shooting will be the difference in a number of games this season.