Kawhi Leonard was challenged by his head coach to indicate some fireplace and when it mattered most, he got here by means of.

Leonard had a game-high 30 factors and hit the profitable shot with 4.2 seconds left because the Toronto Raptors defeated the Brooklyn Nets 127-125 on Monday.

Toronto head coach Nick Nurse mentioned the NBA all-star appeared unmotivated during the last 4 video games.

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“I simply suppose he’s acquired to get just a little bit extra engaged, proper?” Nurse mentioned Monday morning. “I at all times say go on the market and ‘destroy some folks’ or no matter it’s. You realize? You’ve acquired to get motivated.”

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Leonard insisted he wasn’t conscious of Nurse’s feedback earlier than the sport, however welcomed the problem and motivation.

“Even if you’re going on the market and having 20 factors and also you win, you need the coach to encourage you and to inform you what you might be doing adverse on the ground that’s inflicting the crew (points),” Leonard mentioned.

With each groups buying and selling baskets and tied 125-125 within the dying seconds of the fourth quarter, Leonard took a leap shot that went off the backboard and into the basket.

The efficiency drew reward from Nurse.

“He was good. I don’t know if he was dominating, however he was higher than he’d been,” Nurse mentioned. “I favored his aggressiveness to go get it, though he knew they had been collapsing rather a lot.”

It appeared as if Leonard was nonetheless in a funk when the Raptors (42-16) struggled to search out their tempo within the opening quarter. He dedicated three of the crew’s 5 turnovers within the first as they trailed Brooklyn 29-21. Joe Harris scored 15-of-24 factors within the opening quarter for the Nets.

Toronto chipped away at Brooklyn’s lead within the second. Trailing 42-34, the Raptors went on a 10-2 run with their finest gamers subbed again into the courtroom.

Marc Gasol, making his dwelling debut after being acquired for Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, C.J. Miles and a 2024 second-round draft choose final week, made a basket in that run. Leonard, Kyle Lowry and Siakam additionally recorded baskets to assist Toronto preserve it shut.

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Gasol had 16 factors off the bench with 11 of these coming within the fourth quarter. He added a pair of assists and a few key defensive stops within the fourth.

“I had butterflies in my abdomen,” Gasol mentioned when listening to the ovation from the gang as he checked into the sport for the primary time. “It form of made me really feel like a rookie once more.”

D’Angelo Russell had a team-high 28 factors for the Nets (29-29), who made 20 three-point baskets.

The Raptors improved to 14-1 towards the Nets since Jan. 1, 2016. With their 42nd victory, the crew set a franchise excessive for many wins earlier than the NBA All-Star Recreation.

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