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Leonard prepares for emotional night in return to San Antonio

05 January, 2019, 01:56 | Author: Rachael Silva
  • DeMar DeRozan Gregg Popovich

Emotions will be a little high for this one with Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green returning and DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl taking on their former team for the first time, but the edge has to go to a mostly healthy Spurs team, particularly if the Raptors' Kyle Lowry doesn't play.

Here are four takeaways from the game...

Leonard sat out all but nine games last season with a right quadriceps injury that first flared up prior to training camp. He is averaging 22.9 points, 6.3 assists and 5.9 rebounds per game so far this season.

DeRozan finished the game with 21 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists, according to ESPN. During the Raptors pregame player introductions, Spurs fans certainly didn't hold back as they rained down a healthy dose of roaring boos when Leonard's name was announced. DeRozan, who has said he felt betrayed by a Raptors team that had committed to him before dealing him, had plenty of motivation heading into this game.

Leonard was booed throughout the game, culminating with Spurs fans chanting "traitor" as Leonard shot free-throws in the second quarter.

Green, meanwhile, expressed optimism that both he and Leonard experience a positive reception in their returns to the AT&T Center.

While the parties involved may have moved on, many Spurs fans have not.

The Spurs are humming after a sluggish start to the National Basketball Association season. He harnessed that energy for a career milestone in a dominant team win.

While other reserves have stepped up, the absence of the aforementioned two has impacted the team's ability to execute as well as its overall sharpness. It kind of fuels you, kind of gets you going. Since 2005, San Antonio is 31-15-1 (67%) ATS when listed as a small favorite (less than three points) or an underdog at home in the regular season.

Conversely, the Spurs were sharp throughout the night, shooting 47-for-85 (55.3 percent) from the field and 13-for-27 (48.1 percent) from deep. But for us, it's about just trying to get better, create better habits on both ends of the floor.

The Toronto Raptors never stood a chance in this one.



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