SAN ANTONIO – Kawhi Leonard doesn't like to miss basketball games and the San Antonio Spurs are glad he's back on the floor as they enter Friday's road contest against the Detroit Pistons.
Leonard returned from a one-game absence due to a quadriceps injury to score 32 points and lead the Spurs to a 111-103 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.
Leonard reached 30 points for the 16th time this season and has scored in double digits in 81 consecutive games, the longest streak by a San Antonio player since Tim Duncan had a 91-game stretch over 2002-03.
"He's got the whole package," backup guard Manu Ginobili told reporters. "He's the main reason we're getting all these wins when we're not playing well."
Detroit is playing terrific at home with seven victories in its last eight games at The Palace of Auburn Hills and rolled to a 121-102 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday. Center Andre Drummond posted his 34th double-double of season with a superb all-around game of 24 points, 17 rebounds, four blocked shots and three steals.
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ABOUT THE SPURS (40-12): Leonard is one of a handful of players mentioned as an MVP candidate and the last two-game sequence is a good example of his importance. San Antonio was awful on Monday when he sat out against the Memphis Grizzlies, establishing season lows for points and assists (11) in an 89-74 loss, before the All-Star small forward dictated the flow of play and led the Spurs to 37 more points two nights later.
"I think we were playing a little hesitant at times on the floor," said Leonard to reporters, "just not being aggressive and being direct enough in what we wanted to do."
ABOUT THE PISTONS (25-28): Drummond reached 20 points for the 11th time this season while doing his usual stellar job on the boards and the defensive end.
"I don't think the league has an answer when he starts to play like that," Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson said afterward. "It's all on him each and every night. He can be the most dominant player in the league."
Drummond had a stellar performance with 20 points and 17 rebounds when Detroit lost to San Antonio earlier this season.
1. The Spurs limited the Pistons to 34 second-half points while recording a 96-86 victory on Nov. 11 for their fourth straight win in the series.
2. San Antonio PG Tony Parker scored 18 points in two of the past three games -- and is 18-of-27 shooting during the stretch.
3. Detroit SF Jon Leuer scored 20 points against the Lakers and is averaging 17.5 over the past four contests.