Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam have career nights to lead Raptors past Jazz

Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam have career nights to lead Raptors past Jazz

Fans chanted "M-V-P" loudly and frequently on Tuesday as Kawhi Leonard generated a career-high performance while steering the Toronto Raptors to a 122-116 win over the Utah Jazz. The Raptors have won two straight games and have a 28-11 record.

Pascal Siakam added 28 points as the Raptors survived a very gritty Utah team who got 30 points from Jae Crowder and 21 from Derrick Favors.

But the Raptors came out of half-time with a 9-0 run to get the ball rolling, launching a quarter in which they'd make 79.8 percent of their field goal attempts. His 19 points were the second most in any quarter by a Raptors player this season. Serge Ibaka scored 20 points in the first quarter of a November 4 road win against the Los Angeles Lakers. He went 13 for 17 at the free-throw line.

The Raptors started the second half with three 3-pointers - two by Siakam and another by VanVleet - to take a 60-53 edge.

Siakam went 3 for 3 from 3-point range in the third and scored 13 points.

Powell completed the third-quarter scoring with a 3-point shot, and the Raptors led 95-85. The Raptors announced that the All-Star point guard received pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory injections for lower-back soreness on Friday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in NY. Before the game, the Raptors said Lowry had travelled to NY last Friday to receive anti-inflammatory injections.

Rubio started after sitting out Saturday's win over NY because of a sore left knee and sore lower back, while Crowder was back after missing the victory over the Knicks because of a sore left thumb.

Both teams were looking to start 2019 off right, but during the third quarter is where the Raptors took control with Leonard posting 19 of his 45 points.

Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) drives to the basket past Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) and forward Joe Ingles (2) in the first half at Scotiabank Arena. Utah outscored Toronto 22-5 in second-chance points. And when Gobert left the floor, Favors could rollick in the paint, particularly against Toronto backup centre Greg Monroe. Utah wasn't getting points to match except from small forward Jae Crowder.

Leonard has scored 20-plus points in 14 consecutive games, the longest streak of his National Basketball Association career.

It was a similar story in the first half of Toronto's first game of the new year.

Valanciunas had the sutures removed from his left hand on Friday after having surgery in early December. Valanciunas still has a splint on his hand. Leonard had 10 points in the first, including the pullup jumper that gave the Raptors an eight-point lead. Toronto matched a season-low with 20 3-point attempts.

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