The Claw was out early on Tuesday, first with his patented grab-away from Ben Simmons on the game’s first possession, then with a deflection on the next trip down the court that resulted in a Philadelphia 76ers turnover. The Claw grabbed 10 rebounds in the first half, and he even sent one of his teammates to the locker room for stitches after knocking him in the forehead with an elbow.
But as much as Kawhi Leonard added Tuesday to one of the most impressive individual postseason résumés in NBA history, the Toronto Raptors’ resounding 125-89 Game 5 victory over Philadelphia was a collective statement by the Raptors. A supporting cast that has been promising to help its transcendent superstar delivered in a multitude of ways.
“The way we played tonight — I’d love to play like this every night,” Leonard told ESPN.com. “I’m pretty sure everyone else feels the same way. They all want to contribute. There are not guys on this team who just want to sit back and relax and watch either me or Kyle [Lowry] or Pascal [Siakam] just being great. Everyone wants to play great.”nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap
Leonard’s exceptional play in the postseason might be an unfair standard to which to hold his teammates. Prior to suffering a right calf contusion in Game 3, Siakam’s athletic stylings and range from the corners had provided consistent offense for Toronto. Furthermore, the Raptors feature a core of heady veterans such as Lowry, Marc Gasol and Danny Green, whose contributions aren’t always easily quantified in stat lines. By nature, these are cerebral players who have mastered the art of contributing without scoring, and what often looks like a dud in the box score is an exercise in winning on the game’s margins.
Still, the disparity between Leonard’s production and the rest of the team was profound. Coming into Game 5, Leonard had scored 38.8 percent of the Raptors’ points in this series — far and away a larger share than any other individual player in the conference semifinals (Kevin Durant and James Harden are next, at 32 percent). After the Raptors were embarrassed in Game 3, Lowry told ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, “We’ve got to help him.”
Help came early and often Tuesday, and every member of the team was, in some form or fashion, the best version of himself.
“We needed this type of game where everyone played well,” Lowry said. “I don’t think we had a game like this in a while. We’ve still got another level that I think we can play at offensively and defensively. But it was a good team win.”
From the outset, the Raptors were treated to vintage Lowry: He scored 19 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out five assists, but more importantly, he was driving hard to the hole, drawing contact, gobbling loose balls in traffic and contributing grunt work, such as a back screen on Joel Embiid that gave Leonard the runway for his emphatic driving dunk just before halftime.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping
Less than three days after being listed as doubtful for Game 4 as he nursed a right calf contusion, Siakam led all scorers with 25 points. Although he didn’t have his normal propulsion when elevating, Siakam unleashed his off-the-dribble exploits, worked his way to the line for 10 attempts against a Sixers defense that was a step slow and converted two of seven from long range.