San Antonio Spurs News

Spurs lose Kawhi Leonard’s return vs. Mavs: Recap, highlights and more

By Rob Wolkenbrod
DALLAS, TX - DECEMBER 12: LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Dallas Mavericks on December 12, 2017 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Danny Bollinger/NBAE via Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - DECEMBER 12: LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Dallas Mavericks on December 12, 2017 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Danny Bollinger/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Aside from Kawhi Leonard’s return, there was a game to be played as the San Antonio Spurs faced the Dallas Mavericks.

This game’s obvious storyline surrounded Kawhi Leonard’s return. It was months in the making, as he stepped onto the court and started for the Spurs. This didn’t happen in front of the home crowd but featured enough Silver and Black fans to support him.

In his first stint of action, Leonard scored a quick 6 points in five minutes. He pulled up for a few jumpers and hit a hook shot near the rim, looking like he never missed a beat since the Western Conference Finals.

Otherwise, it was a disappointing start for the Spurs, who allowed the Mavericks to shoot 4-for-8 from 3-point range in the first quarter. It was 30-23, Dallas, after one.

Kawhi knocks down his first points of the season! #GoSpursGo pic.twitter.com/8fDxmN3XtZ

— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 13, 2017

Into the second quarter, the Mavs stayed active on defense. This included strips of both Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge. Shots weren’t falling, either, which kept the home team up by a handful of points for most of the quarter.

The Spurs couldn’t cut into the lead too much, until Bryn Forbes banked a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to make it a two-point deficit at 46-44. Maybe closer than it should have been, but a “victory” nonetheless. Rudy Gay‘s 11 points led the way at the half.

The third quarter saw the Spurs take their second lead of the game, with Danny Green‘s attempt to get started by hitting a 3-pointer. It was part of a 7-0 run, maybe the best of the game at that point. Leonard led the next positive stretch, with two buckets to keep the lead at an arm’s length.

Kawhi joins Rudy and LA in double-figures. #GoSpursGo pic.twitter.com/kVfKaaG71i

— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 13, 2017

Despite the run, Dallas cut it back to two. So the Spurs entered the fourth quarter up 69-67, which disappeared in minutes after an 8-0 run from JJ Barea and company. It ballooned to a nine-point lead, with five minutes to go, as Barea continued his premier play against the Silver and Black.

With just over three minutes to go, the Mavs made it a double-digit game and didn’t look back. The game ended at 95-89 but wasn’t evidence of how the fourth quarter looked.

Final from Dallas.

We're back in action Friday in Houston. #GoSpursGo pic.twitter.com/OoOPI4PahQ

— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 13, 2017

In his spurts, Leonard played well. However, it was a struggle for anyone else to gain in-game momentum. That’s aside from Gay, who finished with 18 points. Aldridge had a quiet 23 points on 9-for-23 shooting as well. The Mavs’ hot shooting didn’t help, though, as they only heated up as the action continued and received a balanced effort

Must Read: 25 forgotten players that were on the Spurs

The Spurs return to the court on Friday, Dec. 15 at the Houston Rockets. Game time is at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, KENS and ATSW.

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