The Associated PressTORONTO (AP) — Kawhi Leonard insisted he doesn’t try to do anything extra in big games. His numbers suggest otherwise.
Leonard had 36 points, Jonas Valanciunas scored 18 of his season-high 26 in the fourth quarter and the Toronto Raptors beat Philadelphia 113-102 on Wednesday night, handing the 76ers their 13th consecutive loss in Canada.
Serge Ibaka added 18 points as the Raptors bounced back from Monday’s loss to Denver to win for the ninth time in 10 games. Toronto, with the best record in the NBA at 21-5, improved to 11-3 at home.
Leonard shot 13 for 24, finishing one point shy of his season high, and set a season best by making five of six attempts from 3-point territory. The rest of the Raptors struggled from long range, combining to shoot 3-for-23.
Leonard’s season high of 37 points came last Thursday in an overtime victory against two-time defending champion Golden State. Leonard has led Toronto in scoring in four straight games.
“He’s an immense talent, he really is,” coach Nick Nurse said. “And when the stakes go up a little bit, he’s going to play his hand a little harder.”
Leonard, who set a season best with five steals, said he doesn’t let the opponent or circumstances dictate his effort.
“I try to perform every night,” he explained. “If you try to turn it on against the good teams, it’s really hard to do that. You’ve got to do it on a nightly basis.”
Leonard has never lost in 12 career meetings with the 76ers, including two victories this season.
“That’s what you’re going to get out of big-time players,” Philadelphia’s Jimmy Butler said. “He had a great game.”
Butler scored a season-high 38 points and added 10 rebounds. Joel Embiid had 10 points and 12 rebounds for Philadelphia, whose last win in Toronto was 93-83 on Nov. 10, 2012.
“Jimmy showed why he’s an All-Star,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said. “He came in and gave us some tremendous things.”
George drops 47, caps OKC rally
NEW YORK (AP) — Once Paul George got going, he didn’t slow down until he carried the Oklahoma City Thunder to their biggest comeback victory ever.
George scored 25 of his 47 points in a sensational fourth quarter, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 3.1 seconds left that gave the Thunder a 114-112 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.
George rallied the Thunder from a 23-point deficit and finished a point shy of his career high, leading them to a fourth straight victory in a game they trailed big for much of the way.
But they got close and then got the ball to George on their last possession, and there was no surprise he nailed the shot.
“Yeah, it felt good,” George said. “I had the hot hand, I knew I had the hot hand. I just felt good all game.”