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Toronto Raptors

Thursday night's Raptors-Warriors game sets TV viewership record

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Kevin Durant guards Kawhi Leonard (NBA Getty Images)

Just over a month after the Toronto Raptors set a viewership record in their season-opening win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team again shattered a viewership record in its win over the Golden State Warriors Thursday night.

According to TSN's Josh Lewenberg, Thursday night's game was the most-watched Raptors regular season game ever on TSN.

In addition to the record-breaking audience in Canada, the game was broadcast nationally in America on TNT - one of the Raptors' 27 games this season that will be broadcast to a national TV audience in the United States.

Viewers witnessed an early candidate for game of the year, as Toronto held off the defending champions despite 51 points from back-to-back NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant. The difference Thursday, as indicated by Lewenberg, is that the Raptors now have a Finals MVP of their own in the fold - 2014 NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.

In the win over Golden State, Leonard led Toronto with 37 points (on 14-for-24 shooting), eight rebounds, three assists and a steal. Although Durant finished with a season-high in points, Leonard's all-league calibre defence made things difficult for the Warriors' All-Star.

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The mystique surrounding Leonard as well as newly-hired head coach Nick Nurse resulted in a wider audience during Oct. 17th's opener, and Leonard's re-emergence as a top-five talent has propelled Toronto's start and drawn even more viewers in.

Through 23 games, the Raptors are off to a franchise-best 19-4 start, not only benefitting from the play of its All-Stars in Leonard and Kyle Lowry but the team as a whole.

As the team continues to jell and improve, more interest should mean more broken records moving forward.

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