SAN ANTONIO – The Spurs beat the Clippers on Monday night to improve to 21-10, but the postgame discussion centered around the progress of All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard.
Leonard returned to the lineup last week and made his home debut against the Clippers, but remains on a minutes restriction.
Leonard scored seven points, ending his streak of 110 straight games scoring in double figures. He did not play in the second half of the Spurs 109-91 win.
LaMarcus Aldridge once again led the team in scoring with 19 points. Tony Parker added 16 points and seven assists.
Parker, similar to Leonard, remains on a minutes restriction. However, the Spurs point guard appears to be getting his legs under him. The point and assist totals were season-highs for Parker.
“I’m fine, I just have to be patient, it’s going to come slowly but surely,” Parker said. “I’m just happy to be out there and just play.”
Five Spurs players scored in double figures and 11 played at least 12 minutes.
The depth is a good problem to have, but the team is still searching for a bit of chemistry with Leonard back in the fold. Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker preached patience.
"I think it’s a work in progress, but we know we are getting closer to having him full steam,” Manu Ginobili said. “The same with Tony today, he’s playing more minutes and better. So good signs, but still a way to go.”
“It’s going to take some time for him to get back his rhythm and make sure everybody finds a role in the team,” Parker said.
The Spurs led by as many 15 points in the second quarter with Leonard playing the majority of the first half. The Clippers cut the lead to three in the third quarter before the Spurs closed on a 22-10 run.
Dejounte Murray scored seven of his nine points in the second half to spark the Spurs. Murray received praise during and after the game from head coach Gregg Popovich.
Murray is an example of the mix-and-match rotation the Spurs have employed this season.
“He’s been a real pro. He’s ready whenever we call on him,” Popovich said.
Despite the win, the Spurs continue to work to put the pieces in place, the biggest being Leonard’s return.
“We’re definitely going to need Kawhi Leonard at his best if we want to do anything this year,” Parker said.