About Last Night
About Last Night: Kawhi receives anti-hero's welcome
Leonard upstaged by DeRozan; Harden's historic run gets somehow more impressive
Lonny Krasnow, NBA.com
Back in San Antonio for the first time since being traded to the Raptors, Kawhi Leonard was heckled relentlessly from the moment he stepped on the court.
Leonard was booed every time he touched the ball during warmups. By contrast, Danny Green was cheered as if he were never dealt to Toronto along with Leonard.
The Spurs showed a tribute video for Leonard and Green before introductions, highlighting big moments from their runs to the NBA Finals. Again, cheers for Green, jeers for Leonard.
The same thing happened during introductions, as Spurs fans gave Green a standing ovation and then ramped up the boos for Leonard.
The hostility toward Leonard continued after tip-off and seemed to impact the MVP candidate at times during the game. At one point, Leonard had to take a step back at the free-throw line and compose himself amid chants of “Traitor! Traitor!” from the crowd that adored him during his seven seasons in San Antonio.
Leonard finished with 21 points on 8-for-13 shooting, as the Raptors rolled past the Spurs 125-107.
Despite the toxic atmosphere at the AT&T Center, Leonard and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich were able to share a nice moment at the end of the game.
It was also an emotional night for DeMar DeRozan, who never wanted to be traded by the Raptors.
Playing against his former team, DeRozan collected 21 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists for his first career triple-double. He’s just the fifth player in NBA history to post a triple-double in his first game against a former team.
Maybe we should have seen this coming. In one of his first tweets after the trade to San Antonio, DeRozan might have had this game in mind.
Revenge is a dish best served cold…
— DeMar DeRozan (@DeMar_DeRozan) September 20, 2018
There’s no stopping James Harden right now. Just ask the Warriors.
After another mesmerizing performance — which included a game-winning 3-pointer in overtime — Harden is averaging 40.1 points, 9.0 assists and 6.6 rebounds over his last 12 games. The Rockets are 11-1 during that span.
Considering how the Warriors were able to take the lead before the final possession, Harden’s game-winner was poetic justice.
With 30 seconds left in overtime, Kevin Durant lost control of the ball in the paint and chased it into the corner. Taking three full steps out-of-bounds, Durant flung the ball back in play to Klay Thompson, who dished to an open Stephen Curry, who knocked down the 18-footer.
Joel Embiid and Chris Paul were among the masses on Twitter reacting to the non-call:
Lmao how do you miss that??????😂😂😂😂😂😂
— Joel “Troel” Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) January 4, 2019
So we doin the #BirdBoxChallenge during NBA games now huh 🤔
— Chris Paul (@CP3) January 4, 2019
Quote of the night
“I felt badly about it. Kawhi’s a high-character guy. We all make decisions in our lives with what we’re going to do with our futures, and he has that same right as any of us. So I felt badly, in all honesty.”
– Gregg Popovich, on the way Kawhi Leonard was treated by Spurs fans
Stat of the night
James Harden is the only player in NBA history to make five or more 3-pointers in eight consecutive games