Nick Nurse felt the Toronto Raptors did a good job of keeping Kawhi Leonard quiet and outplayed the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday, despite eventually going down to a 98-88 defeat.
Leonard scored 12 points, claimed 11 rebounds and laid on nine assists in his first clash against the Raptors since his departure after playing a huge part in Toronto winning a first NBA title last season.
Nurse had vowed to stay up late and make plans to make life difficult for the NBA Finals MVP after the reigning champions beat the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.
And the Raptors head coach thought his side were effective in limiting the impact made by Leonard at Staples Center, albeit without reward.
Asked if it was strange seeing Leonard on the other side, Nurse replied: “A little bit.
“We obviously went full guns on all the coverages of him to make life difficult for him and we did a good job on him, but he got some good transition buckets in the fourth, made some big shots for them when they needed him, which is what he does.”
Nurse believes the Raptors, who lost OG Anunoby to an eye injury early on, were unfortunate to suffer a loss which leaves them at 7-3 for the season, all three of their defeats coming on the road.
He said of Toronto’s performance: “They were good. Our guys played their guts out, we totally outplayed them I thought.
“We were playing harder, we were executing better, we were creating a lot of problems for them but just not quite enough.”