Nick Nurse felt the Toronto Raptors did a good job of keeping Kawhi Leonard quiet and outplayed the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday, despite eventually going down to a 98-88 defeat.

Leonard scored 12 points, claimed 11 rebounds and laid on nine assists in his first clash against the Raptors since his departure after playing a huge part in Toronto winning a first NBA title last season.

Nurse had vowed to stay up late and make plans to make life difficult for the NBA Finals MVP after the reigning champions beat the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

And the Raptors head coach thought his side were effective in limiting the impact made by Leonard at Staples Center, albeit without reward.

Asked if it was strange seeing Leonard on the other side, Nurse replied: "A little bit.

"We obviously went full guns on all the coverages of him to make life difficult for him and we did a good job on him, but he got some good transition buckets in the fourth, made some big shots for them when they needed him, which is what he does."

Nurse believes the Raptors, who lost OG Anunoby to an eye injury early on, were unfortunate to suffer a loss which leaves them at 7-3 for the season, all three of their defeats coming on the road.

He said of Toronto's performance: "They were good. Our guys played their guts out, we totally outplayed them I thought.

"We were playing harder, we were executing better, we were creating a lot of problems for them but just not quite enough."

 

Nick Nurse vowed to devise a plan to "make life very difficult" for Kawhi Leonard when the Toronto Raptors do battle with the NBA Finals MVP star on Monday.

Leonard left the Raptors to join the Los Angeles Clippers in July after playing a huge part in Toronto's maiden NBA title triumph.

The champions ended the Los Angeles Lakers' seven-match winning streak with a 113-104 victory at Staples Center on Sunday and will come face to face with Leonard for the first time since his departure at the same venue on Monday.

Raptors head coach Nurse is looking forward to catching up with Leonard but is determined to prevent the three-time NBA All-Star from enjoying his evening.

"It's going to great. It was great to see Danny [Green] tonight and it's going to be great to see Kawhi," said Nurse.

"You go [through] something like that where you're all kind of sealed in together, fighting that out for a couple of months – you get a special experience there.

"In saying that, I'm going to stay up late tonight trying to devise some sort of scheme to make life very difficult for him."

Nurse was impressed with the contribution made by players coming off the bench in an impressive defeat of the Lakers, which moved the Raptors to 7-2.

"Those guys did a great job. I think everybody that stepped out there, they didn't only contribute, they played awesome," said Nurse.

"I'll give credit to some of our bench guys. My first unit went out there and was much more solid, I thought we were executing the schemes better.

"We were doubling [Anthony] Davis and doubling LeBron [James], covering up some easy stuff at the rim and then that next crew came in and they really bothered them. 

"I think Rondae [Hollis-Jefferson] bothered them, Chris [Boucher] was protecting the rim, they weren't giving up any second shots. It was a hard-playing group effort."

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