The San Antonio Spurs defeated Los Angeles Clippers, 107-97 and posted their seventh win of the season. However, this one is worth a little bit more than usual, as they beat their former player, Kawhi Leonard. According to the majority of Spurs’ fans, Leonard committed treason when he requested a trade and left Texas.
Kawhi’s Bad Night
The fans at AT&T Center welcomed Kahwi with loud booes when he entered the arena for a warmup, and it was even louder during the introduction. During the game, each time he touched the ball, the crowd went wild, and his misses were celebrated like they were Spurs’ baskets.
Kawhi’s hostile reception in San Antonio was something expected, and the player, like many others, wasn’t surprised at all. The Claw stated after the game that he sees contests against San Antonio as just an ordinary game like with any other team. But it really wasn’t like that.
The reigning NBA Finals MVP, was for sure affected with the environment, as he scored just 19 points, with an awful shooting percentage, 8 for 23. The Claw also had 7 assists and 7 rebounds. His pale performance was not the only reason why his Clippers lost this contest. Another All-Star and the All-NBA, Paul George ended the night with lousy 5 points, making 2 of his 11 shots towards the basket.
The bench was bad too, as there wasn’t any of the usual productivity coming from Lou Williams and Montrez Harrell. The latter one did score 12 points, but Williams failed to perform at needed level, delivering just 7 points and shooting 2 for 10.
On the other side, the Spurs had several players who were hurting the guests from all positions. LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Derrick White had the same number of points. DeMar DeRozan added 15 with 9 rebounds and 5 dimes.
Patty Mills had 13 and Bryn Forbes 12.
Spurs have 7 wins and 13 losses. They are meeting with the Detroit Pistons this Saturday. On the other side, the Clippers are 14-6 and host the Washington Wizards on the same night.
Leonard and the Spurs – From Love to Hate
Kawhi came to the league from San Diego State and was picked as the 15th choice at the 2011 NBA draft. Back then, the Indiana Pacers selected the Claw, but on the night of the draft, he was sent to San Antonio along with the rights to Davis Bertans and Erazem Lorbek in exchange for George Hill.
He as slowly starting to become one of the key pieces in the Spurs championship puzzle, upgrading an experienced team that already won four NBA titles. Coach Gregg Popovich used him at first as a defensive specialist, but along the way he improved Kawhi’s offensive capabilities, making him the best two way player in the league by the time he left San Antonio.
In 2014, when Spurs defeated Miami Heat and LeBron in the NBA Finals, Leonard won his first NBA Finals MVP award. He was the Defensive Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016, before picking up an injury in the playoffs of 2017 against the Warriors when Zaza Pachulia deliberately hurt him.
During the next season, he requested a trade and forced the Spurs to give up on him, although Popovich didn’t want that. Ever since, the fans in San Antonio consider him a traitor.