Kawhi Leonard’s Big Boost to San Antonio Spurs

By Ivan Mora
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Now were back in business. Kawhi Leonard turned out to be the slight boost the Spurs needed to get back on track after all.  It couldn’t of come at a perfect time either during their worst Rodeo Road trip in Spurs history. San Antonio has always been a good road team and has never finished below .500 away since the 1996-1997 season, but for a brief moment there it looked like the norm was about to change.

Feb 27, 2015; Sacramento, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich talks to forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during a delay in their NBA basketball game with the Sacramento Kings at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports. Spurs won 107-96

I don’t want to get too greedy here and say the Spurs are in the clear since they’re not, but Leonard has brought some fresh new life in these last 2 games that the Spurs definitely needed  Having finished the rodeo trip 4-5 and now tied at 16-16 on the road for the season, the question now is will coming back at home even the playing field for these beloved champs?

All I can say is it is finally looking up for these Spurs for the time being.  They’re coming back home for the next six games and have to continue looking forward as OKC is surging slowly but steady on their tail.  These last two games were exactly what the doctor ordered as Spurs fans everywhere were losing their minds already.

“When you lose games, people start to panic and want to change everything.  We have to stay steady with it.” – Tim Duncan

They dominated the Kings last Friday night with a 107-96 statement win.  Leonard, along with Tony Parker‘s 19, provided 17 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists to finish the game with a victory.  He continued that hot streak the following night of a back to back to finish off the Suns 101-74 with 22 points and 10 rebounds. He provided that much needed spark that helped his teammates kick off the rust and contribute when Parker and Manu Ginobili were struggling.  Boris Diaw and Aron Baynes both finished that game with 12 points and Baynes added 10 powerful rebounds off the bench.

Now they come back home and are looking to continue that momentum as they prepare for their final 25 games of the season.  Not just that, Kawhi Leonard is the main reason why the Spurs are happy to be back home when they face the Kings tonight.  He has lifted their spirits in these past 2 games and has looked like the former Finals MVP that we know and love.  His defense has been a big boost as well including their last game as they limited the Suns to only 74 points for the game and forced Phoenix to shoot 18.6 percent (8-of-43) in the first half.  All this coming at the perfect time also since these Spurs’ defense hit a snag during their road trip.

“I think that’s been shot for a while, so we’re going to start building it back and start winning some games.” — Tim Duncan.

With Parker trying to get his routine back, both Duncan and Leonard have to continue their sharp shooting as these next home games will be crucial if they want to climb up the rankings to catch up to Dallas.  They are currently four games behind Dallas and three games ahead of OKC with plenty of basketball left to play.

They need to rediscover that championship caliber play that was displayed in last years finals to finish the season on a strong note and prepare themselves for another grueling postseason.  All that needs to happen now rather than later if they don’t want to see themselves slip all the way down to 8th seed for a possible first round match-up versus Stephen Curry and the hot Warriors.

Next: Spurs: What Went Right and Wrong on Rodeo Trip?

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