SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Kawhi Leonard captured his first victory in San Antonio since his exodus from the franchise, collecting 26 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in three quarters as the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Spurs 134-109 Saturday night.
Leonard was roundly booed during pregame introductions and each time he touched the ball, just as he was in two previous visits. The reigning Finals MVP gave the sellout crowd plenty to jeer about during an active 27 minutes.
Leonard was 11 for 16 from the field with four steals and only two turnovers in setting a hurried pace the Spurs were unable to match.
Leonard demanded a trade after playing just nine games for the Spurs in 2018 due to a right thigh injury. San Antonio relented and traded him the next summer to Toronto, where he led the Raptors to their first NBA championship last season.
Spurs fans have remained bitter about his forced departure, making the team’s blowout victories over Leonard and the Raptors last season and the Clippers on Nov. 29 that much sweeter.
Leonard turned the tables in his fifth overall matchup with San Antonio, spending the entire fourth quarter on the bench as Los Angeles stretched its lead to 33.
The Clippers went on a 12-2 run for a 52-44 lead with 7 minutes left in the first half as Leonard and Paul George remained on the bench.
Leonard returned shortly thereafter, making all three of his attempts in the second quarter to push the Clippers to a 64-52 lead.
The Clippers outscored the Spurs 41-21 bridging the second and third quarters.
Los Angeles had six players in double figures, including 21 by Montrezl Harrell and 20 by Lou Williams. George finished with 11 points.
DeMar DeRozan, who had 13 points on 6-for-7 shooting in the first quarter, finished with 24 points to lead San Antonio. Marco Belinelli added 17 points.
Clippers: Former Spurs F JaMychal Green missed the game with a bruised tailbone. … Landry Shamat had three points in 14 minutes in his third game off the bench after 13 starts.
Spurs: F Rudy Gay had seven points in 20 minutes after being listed as questionable due to an undisclosed illness. … C Jakob Poeltl had four blocked shots, raising his season total to 41 in 28 games. … San Antonio is 73-15 against the Clippers at home in franchise history.
Clippers: At Oklahoma City on Sunday night.
Spurs: At Memphis on Monday night.