Spurs fans rain down boos on Kawhi Leonard during player introductions

Jo Caldwell
January 5, 2019

Here are four takeaways from the game...

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.

Asked about the possibility that Leonard could be booed by Spurs fans, Popovich said he hoped the former NBA Finals MVP would be given an easy ride.

DeRozan became the first Spurs player to record a triple-double at home since 2003, when Tim Duncan accomplished the feat. In the subsequent weeks following the trade, DeRozan said he wanted to gain revenge against the Raptors and that he had circled Thursday's game "twice" on the league schedule.

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Healing is an emotion DeRozan can understand.

While the 10-year veteran didn't explode for a monster scoring night, he made it clear pretty early that he was on a mission. The Raptors are a bottom-third team in assist percentage, defensive rebounding percentage and are just 18th in pace. Leonard is averaging 27 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. The Spurs are No. 1 in the NBA's three-point shooting accuracy, firing at a 39.7% success rate.

Popovich told reporters he "felt badly about" the reception Leonard received.

Through constant boos and jeers, the Raptors superstar remained stoic in his composure - a true testament to his focus and drive as a competitor. In one of his first tweets after the trade to San Antonio, DeRozan might have had this game in mind.

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DeRozan would love to get a win against his old team.

Toronto has faced tough competition all while dealing with various injuries to key players.

In addition to Lowry, the Raptors continue to be without centre Jonas Valanciunas while the Spurs are likely to be without Rudy Gay. The situation was clearly contained and there was never any threat of an altercation, but there's certainly some animosity between the Leonard family and San Antonio at this juncture. It kind of fuels you, kind of gets you going. So, his departure is personal to many fans in San Antonio.

"It's getting to the point now that it seems that every other team we have a former teammate coming in or a former coach".

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That man won a championship for y'all and u boo him?? They take on the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday. February 22 - the day DeRozan returns to Toronto, undoubtedly to a warm welcome - is the day circled on his calendar.

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