Kawhi Leonard misses another prime-time matchup

Kawhi Leonard misses another prime-time matchup

The Los Angeles Lakers' early season struggles are not entirely the fault of LeBron James - far from that, actually.

Leonard is sitting out for the third time in his first 10 games with the Raptors. On Sunday, the Raptors managed to pick up a lopsided win over the Lakers without Leonard available but the task could be more hard on the road in Salt Lake City, as the Jazz are quite formidable within the friendly confines of their home arena.

"There are a lot of things we could have done better". That levels the playing field considerably and, while much of the casual intrigue with this contest is out the window on account of both teams playing short-handed, this is now a battle of two (very) deep basketball teams with the ability to play quality basketball without their stars in the mix.

On the back of 24 points from Kyle Kuzma, the Lakers narrowed Toronto's advantage after the nightmare start.

In the locker room, Bron told reporters it felt like the team got "hit in the mouth" and they didn't have a response.

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"In my experience, unfortunately, most of the time when a player like Kawhi sits out, that team ends up winning", Lakers coach Luke Walton said. "We got off to an unbelievable start". "There's a sense of freedom and joy that comes when a top player like that is out".

Toronto's caution is understandable, given Leonard missed all but nine games with the San Antonio Spurs last season due to tendinopathy in his right quad. He injured his foot late in the Raps' win at Phoenix on Friday night.

There was no word on whether Leonard would potentially be available for Monday night's game in Utah against the Jazz. OG Anunoby took Leonard's spot in the starting lineup and contributed seven points. Denzel Washington, Snoop Dogg, Adam Levine, Kristen Bell and Odell Beckham Jr. were among the celebrities attending the game. Leonard grew up in Southern California's Inland Empire area, one hour east of Los Angeles.

The Lakers' first quarter was shockingly bad.

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