The Toronto Raptors keep rolling along, despite missing a couple key players because of injuries.
Having Kawhi Leonard on the court certainly helps.
Leonard matched his season high with 37 points, helping the Raptors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 126-110 on Friday night.
OG Anunoby equalled his career high with 21 points as Toronto improved its NBA-leading record to 25-9. Pascal Siakam had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Fred VanVleet scored 14 points.
WATCH: Kawhi Leonard finishes with 37 points, 6 rebounds in Raptors win over Cavaliers
The short-handed Raptors won their second straight despite injuries to three starters. Guard Kyle Lowry missed his fourth straight game because of a sore left thigh, and centre Serge Ibaka was sidelined by a sore right knee for the second straight game. Guard Danny Green was shelved by a sore left knee after starting Toronto’s first 33 games.
Raptors coach Nick Nurse said he has been impressed with the way his team has responded to the rash of injuries.
“I think we’re handling it really well,” Nurse said. “We’re having to do a lot of different things, play a lot of different lineups, a little bit different style here and there.”
Siakam said the Raptors are trying to stay positive.
“All of us are waiting for opportunities to be on the floor,” he said. “It’s tough to have three starters out but, at the same time, it’s another day in the NBA, it’s another game so we’ve got to go out there and play it.”
Jordan Clarkson scored 20 points for Cleveland, and Larry Nance Jr. had 16 points and 12 rebounds. Collin Sexton scored 17 points, and Cedi Osman finished with 12.
The Cavaliers lost for the fourth time in five games. They also dropped to 3-13 on the road.
Cleveland had injury problems of its own. Rodney Hood was limited to 17 minutes because of a sore left foot, and David Nwaba turned his left ankle in the second quarter, playing only 14 minutes.
“Both guys are obviously a big part of what we do; they’re starters,” coach Larry Drew said. “We had to kind of switch some things up.”
Leonard shot 12 for 16 from the field and went 11 for 12 at the free-throw line. He was working out after the game and did not speak to the media.
Toronto had a 102-97 lead with 7:36 remaining when Anunoby drove for a powerful one-handed dunk. After VanVleet stole the ball from Sexton, Siakam converted a layup to put the Raptors up by nine points.
Clarkson made a pair of free throws and Nance dunked to cut the gap to five again, but Leonard replied with a three-point play and then teamed with VanVleet to hit back-to-back threes.
“I thought our guys put up a good fight,” Drew said. “For three-and-a-half quarters we did some good things. We just couldn’t overcome them.”