Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers visit the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night on ESPN. This will be the first time that Leonard goes up against his old team in Toronto. The teams did play in Los Angeles last month and it was the Clippers winning 98-88. The reception in Toronto for Leonard should be a positive one, as he led the team to an NBA title last season. Let’s look at the matchup for Wednesday and NBA picks.
This NBA regular season game between the Los Angeles Clippers and Toronto Raptors will be held at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada at 7:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, December 11, 2019. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN.
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The Clippers won 98-88 at home last month against the Clippers but Leonard didn’t have a great scoring game. He had 12 points but he did pull down 11 rebounds and had nine assists. The Clippers covered as a 9.5-point favorite. Leonard said he is past his feelings for last year’s team. "It's over now," Leonard said to the media, “We won. Like I said before, I had a great time there. But it's the next chapter now. I can't live in the past or just be so excited that I still won [a championship]. I'm with a different team and a different unit, and they want to have that same feeling, and I do as well. I'm a Clipper right now."
Player To Watch
Is there any question that the player to watch on Wednesday will be Leonard? He is still on this ridiculous load management thing that NBA teams are doing with some of their stars, but since the Clippers didn’t play on Tuesday he will play in this game on Wednesday. Leonard has not been as good as he was a year ago, but he still leads the Clippers in scoring. Los Angeles has played well for the most part this season, but they are still going through growing pains with Leonard and George in the lineup. Leonard is averaging 24.5 points per game and pulling down 7.7 rebounds per contest. He is also averaging 5.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game.
Toronto has done well in this series against the spread, going 7-3 ATS. The Raptors have also done really well at home against the Clippers, winning 8 of the last 10 both straight up and against the spread. Five of the last nine meetings in Toronto have gone under, with four going over, with one push.
There is no question that the public will be backing the Clippers with Leonard making his return to Toronto. The problem with backing Los Angeles is that they have become a public team. They are not yet to the level of the Lakers in terms of public support, but they are not far behind. The Clippers have a high profile team that is one of the favorites in NBA odds to win the NBA title. The Clippers have not yet looked like an NBA title contender. They have had their moments, but so far the combination of Leonard and Paul George has not really lived up to expectations. I don’t know that things will change on this road trip and there is no doubt it won’t be easy in Toronto. The Raptors have been very good at home this season and they have been playing solid defense. I will take Toronto and also play the game under the total.
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