DeRozan tallies triple-double, Leonard hears boos in return
DeMar DeRozan delivered his first career triple double as the San Antonio Spurs routed the Toronto Raptors 125-107 on Thursday to spoil the return of Kawhi Leonard to the Alamo City.
DeRozan finished with 21 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists as he dominated the battle against Leonard, who was making his first trip back since being traded to Toronto in the off-season.
“I just wanted to go out and have fun,” said DeRozan. “I didn’t want to put too much pressure on it. It was a great game.
“My teammates always find openings, they knock it down and they make me look good.”
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 23 points for San Antonio, Bryn Forbes added 20 and Derrick White 19 for the Spurs who led by as many as 28 points and snapped the Raptors’ three-game win streak.
But DeRozan stole the thunder, becoming the first Spurs player since Tim Duncan in 2003 to record a triple double at home.
Leonard scored 21 points on eight-of-13 shooting, but was showered with boos and jeers throughout the contest.
At one stage Leonard had to take a step back from the foul line as chants of “Traitor! Traitor!” and “Quitter! Quitter!” rained down from the sold out crowd of 18,500 at the AT&T Center arena.
Leonard played seven seasons with the Spurs before forcing his way out of San Antonio in a trade that brought DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl from Toronto.
The boos from the San Antonio fans continued during a video tribute that the Spurs had put together to honour Leonard.
At the end of the game, Leonard hugged former coach Gregg Popovich, then walked over to the Spurs’ bench to say hello to assistant coach Ettore Messina.
“I felt badly about it. Kawhi is a high-character guy. We all make decisions in our lives, what we are going to do with our futures, and he has that same right as any of us. So I felt badly, honestly,” Popovich said of the booing.
Toronto was without Kyle Lowry, who missed his fourth straight game due to lower back pain. The Raptors lost for the first time in that stretch.
After leading by as many as 26 points in the first half, San Antonio opened the second half on a 12-0 run to take a 79-51 lead.