Kawhi Leonard scores career-high 45, Raptors beat Jazz 122-116

Kawhi Leonard was so good Tuesday night, Raptors coach Nick Nurse just wanted to enjoy the show.

Leonard scored a career-high 45 points, Pascal Siakam had 28 points with 10 rebounds, and host Toronto beat the Utah Jazz 122-116.

“That’s good, we all got to witness that live and in person,” Nurse said of Leonard’s outburst. “He was phenomenal. I’ve kind of been waiting for one of these nights where he makes them all.”

Norman Powell scored 14 points, and the Raptors won their fourth straight at home despite playing without All-Star guard Kyle Lowry (sore back) and center Jonas Valanciunas (dislocated left thumb).

“The way he’s playing right now is really big for our team with a lot of guys out,” Powell said of Leonard.

Leonard was 16-for-22 overall from the floor and went 13-for-17 at the free-throw line. He wasn’t aware of his scoring achievement until afterward.

“I try to stay in the moment and keep competing every possession and not worry about myself, just try to get a team win,” Leonard said.

It was the third 40-point game of Leonard’s career, including a 43-point effort against Memphis in Game 4 of the first round of the playoffs in April 2017.

Jae Crowder scored 30 points, Derrick Favors added 21 and Donovan Mitchell had 19 as the Jazz dropped to 10-12 on the road, 18-20 overall.

“Jae was hot,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “It’s unfortunate that we didn’t capitalize on the night that he had.”

Utah’s Rudy Gobert scored 16 points, and Ricky Rubio had 14.

Leonard made all seven of his field-goal attempts in the third quarter and added five foul shots. His 19 points were the second most in any quarter by a Raptors player this season.

“He scored in the post, he scored in isolations, he scored going to the rim over Rudy,” Snyder said. “Eventually we started hitting him when he walked across half court. The biggest thing was we put him on the line.”

After making two three-pointers in the first half, the Raptors connected on their first three long-range shots of the third quarter, turning a two-point halftime deficit into a 12-point edge midway through the quarter.

“Those nine quick points really changed the game,” Snyder said. “It gave them a big lift.”

Siakam went 3-for-3 from three-point range in the third and scored 13 points. Toronto outscored Utah 44-32 to take a 95-85 lead into the fourth.

Trail Blazers 113, Kings 108: Damian Lillard shook off a sluggish night shooting to score five of his 25 points in overtime, and visiting Portland rallied after blowing a 14-point halftime lead to beat Sacramento, which got 27 points from Buddy Hield.

76ers 119, Clippers 113: Joel Embiid scored 28 points and added 19 rebounds for visiting Philadelphia, which did not trail in the game. Lou Williams scored 22 points to lead Los Angeles, Danilo Gallinari and Tobias Harris each had 21 and Montrezl Harrell added 20.

Bucks 121, Pistons 98: Brook Lopez had 25 points, Giannis Antetokounmpo threw down a spectacular one-handed dunk and host Milwaukee won its fourth straight, improving to an NBA-best 26-10.

Nuggets 115, Knicks 108: Nikola Jokic had 19 points, 14 rebounds and 15 assists, including a late no-look pass to wrap things up, as Denver won its ninth straight home game.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Kawhi-Leonard-scores-career-high-45-Raptors-beat-13502506.php.

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