Kawhi Leonard was on fire on Friday night in New Orleans, scoring 31 points as he helped the Toronto Raptors record a 127-104 win over the Pelicans.
This way, the Raptors bounced back from their two consecutive losses against the Pistons and the Rockets.
Pascal Siakam had 19 points, while Kyle Lowry ended the game at Smoothie King Centre with a triple-double, with 13 points, 12 assists, and 11 rebounds! It was an exciting game, and although it didn’t look like the Raptors would cruise to another victory, the team from Toronto managed to pull away in the second half, recording their 47th win of the season.
Speaking after the game, Lowry admitted the team hadn’t been focused on the game as much as they should have in the first half.
Frank Jackson had 20 points for the home team, which lost for the 38th time this season. Julius Randle scored 18 points and had 9 rebounds, while Cheick Diallo had a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
But the man of the match was Leonard, who only scored one three-pointer, missing the other four shots, but was 13/15 for two points. He was the Raptors main driving force throughout the evening.
Toronto scored 66 points in the paint, while 53 was scored on fast breaks, which a season-high for the Raptors.
The Raptors Were Far Better in the Second Half
The Pelican’s best on-the-ball defender and the team’s second-leading scorer, Jrue Holiday, missed the Friday’s match, and his absence was definitely visible on the court. E’Twaun Moore was also ruled out, while Jahlil Okafor had to leave the game after halftime after spraining his ankle.
But the Pelicans were competitive in the first half. They were 2 points up after the first period, 31-29, while Toronto won the second period 35-30, ending the first part of the game with a three-point advantage. The Pelicans held on until late in the third quarter, when Danny Green scored three consecutive three-pointers to extend his teams lead to 88-75.
The Raptors won the third quarter 29-19, and by the time Jeremy Lin and Lowry scored consecutive three-pointers in the middle of the fourth quarter, the Raptors’ lead had increased to 21, while the last quarter was also won by the visitors, 34-24.
The reserves made all the difference for the Raptors in the match on Friday, with Lin and Ibaka being the best on the bench. In total, the Raptors reserves scored 47 points, which represented quite an improvement when compared to the games against Detroit and Houston.
The Raptors will play their next game on Sunday when they take on Miami.