Wednesday, 20 March, 2019

Raptors expecting hostile reception for Leonard in San Antonio

Getty Image Getty Image
Isaac Mcdaniel | 05 January, 2019, 01:57

After the game Leonard speaks with Gregg Popovich.

Leonard and Danny Green were then dealt from the Spurs to the Raptors for a package centered around DeMar DeRozan in mid-July.

Two squads from opposing conferences coming off victories in their latest matchups are clashing, when the San Antonio Spurs (21-17), are hosting the Toronto Raptors (28-11), with both teams having lost only once in their last four games and looking to continue on the winning ways.

Without Leonard, the Spurs would not have won their championship in 2014.

Prior to halftime, DeRozan did a ton of damage, scoring 19 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out five assists. People have treated him well - the community, fans and people here in San Antonio. "You're in a zone of just trying to focus on what you're going to do". "So I felt badly, honestly", Popovich said of the booing.

Green, also making his San Antonio return after he was packaged with Leonard for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a draft pick, has been through enough with Leonard over the years that nothing that happens will be new or unusual.

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"He was in high gear tonight", Toronto coach Nick Nurse said.

Popovich told reporters in late November he thought Leonard was a "great player, but he wasn't a leader or anything" during his seven seasons in San Antonio.

Leonard returns to San Antonio playing his best basketball as a Raptor, and arguably the best basketball of his career. That possession was followed by Leonard being unable to corral an alley-oop pass, which led to DeRozan tossing in a runner and being fouled by Serge Ibaka. He was booed during a tribute video the organization played to honor his and Danny Green's accomplishments with the franchise.

On an emotional night, the fans had their say even if Leonard may never publicly utter a word about the ordeal or take some blame for his exit.

"We didn't do a good job in transition, defense", Leonard said.

DeRozan became the first Spurs player to record a triple-double at home since 2003, when Tim Duncan accomplished the feat.

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