Kawhi Leonard is back. In his season debut, he had 13 points in 15 minutes, playing the first five of each quarter, but the Spurs shot poorly all night (from the field, the stripe and the arc) and couldn’t score enough to defeat a very beatable Mavericks team.
Leonard looked fresh to start the game, with 3 straight baskets for 6 of the Spurs first 8. He only played 5 minutes in the first quarter, which was no surprise as Pop stated that he’d be on a minutes restriction. The Mavs were hot in the first, shooting almost 50% on their way to the 30-23 lead after one. The Spurs were flat for the majority of the half, even with the 43% shooting, including 3-12 from 3 until Forbes hit another buzzer beating 3 over Dirk off the glass. Kawhi played 10 minutes in the first half, looking like the old Kawhi we know and love. Rudy Gay finished the first half leading the Spurs with 11, while Aldridge and Kawhi each had 9. Harrison Barnes and Yogi Ferrell led the Mavs with 11 each, taking a 46-44 lead into halftime.
Kawhi played the first 5.5 minutes of the third, giving himself another 7 points before being sat for the game. That’s 13 points in 15 minutes, along with 6 boards, a steal, an assist, and a block. Pretty good player. After nursing a 7 point lead throughout the third, the Spurs only took a 69-67 lead into the final period. Aldridge had 8 in the quarter to lead all scorers with 17 for the game. Dwight Powell went on a 6-0 run to give the Mavs the 4 point lead two minutes into the fourth. Aldridge finally scored the first basket for the Spurs over 4 minutes into the quarter, and then the Spurs went on a 7-0 run of their own. Dallas then stretched out to their largest lead of 11, and seemingly couldn’t miss in the fourth. The perimeter players were the difference for the Mavs, with JJ Berea, Wesley Matthews, and Ferrell had 16 each, and Harrison Barnes had 17. Aldridge led all players with 23, and Rudy Gay had 21, but it wasn’t enough.
Overall, the Spurs looked pretty flat throughout the game, maybe due to the emotion of having your best player back. Moving on, the Spurs are in Houston Friday at 830.