Kawhi Leonard returned to Toronto on Wednesday night to play the Raptors for the first time since he left in free agency for the Los Angeles Clippers. Kawhi received one of the warmest receptions any player has ever gotten, or will ever get from his former team.
Kawhi got a huge ovation. Greeted all his former coaches and teammates. Got a championship ring. And the tribute? What a tribute.
Kawhi spent one season in Toronto. He appeared in 84 total games between the regular season and playoffs. His year in Toronto was so perfect that the team thanked him by inventing a new way to relive a play. The lights recreating his footsteps on the series-winner against the Sixers was an awesome touch. Even Kawhi must have felt... something.
And then he immediately went about the business of killing the Raptors. 23 points on 14 shots in a 20 point win. The Clippers are now 19-7 and have won 12 of their last 14 games.
After the game, he admitted that last season was good. The Clippers next game is on Friday against the Timberwolves on ESPN. Since Minnesota has no reason to give Kawhi any gifts, they stand no chance.