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. No, not at all.
The Spurs greeted Leonard and Green with a tribute video highlighting their big moments from their multiple runs to the NBA Finals including that 2014 championship. Following the matchup in which Leonard struggled and the Spurs were able to come away with a convincing 125-107 victory, Popovich wasn't happy about the reception his former star player received.
Leonard played 7 seasons with the Spurs before forcing his way out of San Antonio in a trade that brought DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl from Toronto. DeRozan is the second player in National Basketball Association history with a 20-point triple-double in his first game against a former team, according to Elias, joining Guy Rodgers on October 18, 1966, against the Golden State Warriors.
Once the game got under way, Leonard put together a solid performance with 21 points and five assists.
San Antonio Spurs have a 21-17 record (22-15-1 against the spread) so far this season and are now tied with the Lakers in the 7 place of the West.
"I had no idea he was that good of a passer, but he's been one of our better guys playing downhill, attracting a crowd and finding teammates", Popovich said.
"While I'm sure it wasn't easy for Kawhi or anyone, we wish him well with the future of his career".
The Raptors are 28-11 and a half-game behind Milwaukee for first in the league, while the Spurs are 21-17 and eighth in a jam-packed Western Conference. "We'll see tonight, I don't know".
"I don't speak for other people, but I hope that they treat everybody with kindness and respect", Popovich said.
Although Leonard was booed and once criticized by Spurs fans before his departure for abandoning the team, Denver Nuggets point guard Isaiah Thomas-who has yet to play in a game this season due to injury-defended him on Twitter.
DeRozan, meanwhile, told reporters Wednesday he hadn't thought much of Thursday's reunion. "Just go out there and have fun".
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