Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard had just completed the type of workday for which he should be entitled to hazard pay, clocking in for 35 minutes of chasing NBA leading scorer Kevin Durant in Monday’s hard-fought 105-93 victory over Oklahoma City.
Rising from the chair in front of his locker at the AT&T Center, Leonard emitted the type of groan that, escaping from his 21-year-old lips, sounded like something reserved for yoga day at the rest home.
“It’s a great sound,” Leonard said, smiling slightly. “It means I played hard.”
The Spurs followed their baby-faced, cornrow-sporting Pied Piper through an early 13-point deficit and to perhaps the best win of their regular season so far.
With the comeback, the Spurs washed away the taste of Friday’s 136-106 loss to Portland and pushed their lead over the Thunder in the Western Conference standings to two games.
Leonard had nine of his 17 points during a game-changing 26-4 run in the second quarter, highlighted by a steal ripped from Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook and taken for a dunk.
Tiago Splitter added 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Danny Green had 16 points and made all four of his 3-point tries, as the Spurs (49-15) won for the third time in four games without All-Star point guard Tony Parker.
“We were coming off that loss, so we just wanted to come out hard and just show everybody we could still be a good team without Tony,” Leonard said. “It was really just buying in and digging deep into ourselves and not wanting to lose by 30 points again.”
Spurs dig deep to down Thunder
San Antonio Express-News | Mar 12