DeRozan, Spurs Blow Out Raptors in Leonard’s Return to San Antonio
As anticipated, Kawhi Leonard was heavily boo-ed in his return to San Antonio.
Unfortunately for the Toronto Raptors, that wasn’t the worst part of their night as the Leonard’s former team made things look easy from the start, en route to a 125-107 victory over the Eastern Conference powerhouse. Leonard poured in 21 points in his homecoming, but was outperformed by the All-Star he was traded for. DeMar DeRozan logged in his first career triple-double against his former team, matching Leonard with 21 points, while dishing out 11 assists and pulling down 14 rebounds.
“It was fun. It was really fun,” said DeRozan his first game against his former squad. “[Playing the Raptors] wasn’t hard at all. I wasn’t nervous, it was really fun. Going out there, messing around with old teammates, messing around with them, it was definitely fun.”
Playing undermanned yet again, the Raptors are hoping to see both Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas back on the court in the very near future, but what last night outlined more so than anything else, on national television might I add, is the Raptors desperate need for shooting. Currently, ranked in the bottom third in the league in three point percentage, the Raptors had their opportunities to claw back, pun intended, into last night’s blow out, but consistently kept missing good looks from the perimeter. As their offense continued to self-implode, their willingness to focus on the other end continued to falter as well.
“It’s frustrating just because [of the way] we are playing,” said Leonard. “It’s [like] any other game. We want to be better. We want the next game to be able to do the same thing every night that we step on this floor. We want to be a better team. We didn’t do a good job at all.
“I feel good except for losing the game. I’m glad I walked off the floor healthy. We got some things as a team to look at and get better at. But the past is the past and I’m still playing.I really won’t reflect on what has happened until I retire. I just try to keep moving and get better on what we are doing,” added Leonard.
Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich briefly shared a moment with Leonard after the game – quick chat that left Kawhi all smiles after what definitely appeared to be an emotional game.
“I felt badly about it,” said Popovich, referring to the rain of boos Leonard faced throughout the contest. “Kawhi’s a high-character guy. We all make decisions in our lives with what we’re going to do with our futures, and he has that same right as any of us. So I felt badly, in all honesty.”
Despite the loss, the Raptors will have their chance to draw even with DeMar when the Spurs visit the Scotiabank Arena in February.