You have to consult the Urban Dictionary to truly appreciate the respect Tim Duncan heaped on Kawhi Leonard after he helped the Spurs score a 105-83 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in Sunday's first game of the Western Conference finals at the AT&T Center. After Leonard made 4 of 5 of his 3-pointers, 7 of 10 overall and scored 18 points while playing typical lock-down defense, the Spurs' captain all but acknowledged him as an adjunct member of the Big Three. “Kawhi's been awesome,” Duncan said. “He's been unbelievable, especially the last series and the start of this one. He's playing a little hurt but finding a way to play through that, just showing great character in that respect and doing what he's asked to do. “Pop (Coach Gregg Popovich), as usual, used the entire season to teach and teach and teach, and Kawhi has caught on, and he's bossing right now.” This is where the Urban Dictionary, the Internet's guide to modern slang, is helpful. Its first definition for “bossing” fits Leonard's play Sunday and through much of this season's playoffs: “If you are bossing the situation, you are running it. You are in control of what's going on. You do not follow, you lead the herd.” Leonard isn't quite leading the Spurs in scoring but has become their top shooter, his percentage at 56.9 after Sunday's 7-for-10 showing. He has emerged as the No. 3 scorer at 14.1 points per game. Only Danny Green, at 45.1 percent, has a higher playoff 3-point percentage than his 42.8 percent. Tony Parker, who scored 20 points, got the first of his nine assists on the Spurs' first possession of the game, driving past Grizzlies guard Mike Conley and kicking the ball to Leonard in the right corner. Unguarded, Leonard nailed the first of his four 3-pointers. “Knocking down that first shot always can build some confidence for the game,” he said. “Tony was just creating and found me in the corner.” Leonard also tossed in a jump hook over Grizzlies forward Tayshaun Prince, a solid defender, showing off more of the offensive moves he has worked on so diligently all season.
Leonard growing into main cog for Spurs
San Antonio Express-News | May 20