The face-off that the Raptors and Kawhi Leonard fans have anxiously been waiting for ever since he left for the Clippers back in July finally happened Monday night. Toronto put up a formidable effort against Kawhi's new team. However, we ultimately lost out 98-88 during our first run-in with the Boardman since our historic championship run with him last season. However, despite the intensity that both teams brought to the court, it was a totally different vibe on the sidelines.
The Raptors and Kawhi were all smiles during their off-court interactions. It was obvious that there are no hard feelings about the Finals MVP’s decision to move back home to L.A. with his family.
Kawhi was spotted laughing it up with both Kyle Lowry and Stanley Johnson during Monday night's game at the Staples Center.* It was just like old times and in a way, the epitome of good sportsmanship.
Kawhi offered a great deal of praise to his former teammates for giving him all kinds of trouble during the game.
"They did a great job on me tonight, defending, sending extra bodies." Kawhi said about the Raptors defense, "But I'm glad they did. It got me better, and it's going to get my teammates better as well,” he told TSN.
Ties 🏆 https://t.co/6GIbegl54p— Toronto Raptors (@Toronto Raptors) 1573567878.0
Kawhi also mentioned that he was going to shoot OG Anunoby a text after the game after he accidentally poked the 22-year-old in the eye while trying to make a steal.
It was a heartwarming moment of humility that proves that the Klaw still cares about the well being of his brothers in the 6ix.
OG Anunoby is out for the game after getting poked in the eye. https://t.co/frQqm3alnx— Dime (@Dime) 1573531270.0
However, despite his love for his old team, the NBA star made it clear to reporters that he's still looking to the future.
"I can't live in the past or just be so excited that I won the championship." He added, "I'm with a different team, a different unit, and they wanna have that same feeling, and I do as well. I'm a Clipper right now."
Kawhi: "I had a great time (in Toronto), but it's the next chapter now. I can't live in the past or just be so exci… https://t.co/RTJCLSKb5I— Josh Lewenberg (@Josh Lewenberg) 1573541497.0
The Raptors will next face Kawhi on December 11, 2019, in their own stomping ground at the Scotiabank Arena.