TORONTO (AP) – 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 a career-best 28 points with 10 rebounds, and 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 a season-high 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 shot 16 for 22 overall, missing all three attempts from 3-point range, and went 13 for 17 at the free-throw line. He said he wasn’t aware of his scoring achievement until after the game.
“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 in April 2017.
Leonard has scored 20 or more points in a career-best 14 straight games.
Jae Crowder scored a career-high 30 points, Derrick Favors had 21 and Donovan Mitchell scored 19 as the Jazz dropped to 10-12 on the road and 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.”