Kawhi Leonard sharp in season debut, but San Antonio Spurs lose

Lynette Rowe
December 13, 2017

In an interview before their December 8 game against the Celtics, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich reiterated that he did not want to worry much about when Leonard was coming back to play and was instead focused on working with the players that he has.

A quadriceps tendinopathy injury has kept Leonard off the court since his last game during the National Basketball Association 2016-17 conference finals against the Golden State Warriors. But coach Gregg Popovich and the players have been eagerly awaiting the return of Leonard, who averaged a career-best 25.5 points last season while supplying his usual lockdown defense.

numberFire's models project Kawhi to score 32.1 FanDuel points at a cost of $7,000 in tonight's debut.

The Spurs, as well as Leonard, have been avoiding giving a timeframe for the player's return. Leonard's lone offensive rebound was a tip-out to himself that led to a bucket for a 55-50 San Antonio lead, and Popovich pulled him for good soon after.

Joel Embiid had 28 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists as the 76ers overcame Jimmy Butler's 38 points. He then scored seven points in the extra session.

It would be silly to draw conclusions from Leonard's first game back. Despite playing at home, Detroit turned the ball over eight times in the first nine minutes.

Kawhi Leonard sharp in season debut, but San Antonio Spurs lose

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope paced the Lakers with 24 points.

Through 27 games the Spurs have managed to win 19 of them and they are now poised to see their leader return.

Once the talk of the Eastern Conference, the Pistons are in danger of dropping below.500 and out of playoff contention after losing their seventh straight game Tuesday against the Nuggets.

Setting a season high with 20 3-pointers, Cleveland topped Atlanta. The Pistons started the season 14-6. Karl-Anthony Towns had his league-leading 22nd double-double with 19 points and 16 rebounds, and Andrew Wiggins scored 20 points for Minnesota. Mason Plumlee had 10 points and 13 rebounds for Denver.

Bradley Beal led Washington with 28 points but only scored three points in the fourth quarter.

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