The Toronto Raptors got other teams learning from the defensive strategy they used to stop their former superstar Kawhi Leonard.

The reigning NBA champs was able to stop the explosiveness of Leonard during their last meeting. While Leonard was clearly happy to see his old friends, he didn’t have a good time on the court, struggling through the evening. The 2-time NBA Finals MVP was guarded by his former teammates in such a way Leonard himself wasn’t familiar with.

Toronto swarmed the elite forward every time he touched the ball, frequently trapping him near the midcourt line and double-teaming on pick-and-rolls. Evidently, the Raptors have devised a blueprint on the defensive end – to force the ball out of Leonard’s hands and make him pass through traffic to his teammates.

It was quite a success as Leonard posted one of his worst offensive games this season and went 2-11 from the floor. Most of Leonard’s points came from the free-throw line and while he played the most part of the game as a playmaker recording an impressive 9 assists, Raptors were able to make him turn the ball over 9 times as well.

Kyle Lowry Raptors Warriors
Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors reacts after Greg Monroe #15 made a basket against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on December 12, 2018 in Oakland, California. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

In the end, Leonard was still able to survive his old team’s scrappy defense. His assists and free-throws significantly helped keep the Clippers defeat the Raptors 98-88. After the game, Leonard admitted that Raptors “made him a better player” by giving him one of his toughest assignments this season, ESPN reported.

“[Toronto made] me better tonight,” Leonard admitted.

“As soon as I walked across half court, they were trying to get the ball out of my hands, sending an extra defender. It’s going to [make] my teammates better. [Opponents are] going to do it at times in the playoffs and regular season, and they are going to knock down the open shot. That’s what wins games: open shots,” Leonard explained.

Prior to the Clippers loss, the Raptors were already able to apply a solid defensive approach against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. Although Anthony Davis managed to score 27 points, Toronto limited the Purple and Gold to just 104 points. The defending champions also recorded 8 blocks to steal a 113-104 victory over the Lakers.

Davis reflected on the loss and said that as much as they learn from their wins, Lakers will also learn from the said loss, Los Angeles Times reported.

“We learn from our wins, we’re going to learn from this loss,” Davis vowed.

Anthony Davis Lakers
Anthony Davis celebrates after scoring a basket in his Lakers debut. Silver Screen and Roll