Kawhi on Spurs fans booing: ‘Felt like normal away game;’ Paul George doesn’t ‘understand’ reception
SAN ANTONIO – Any doubt about Spurs’ fans feelings toward Kawhi Leonard was put to rest during pregame introductions Friday night at the AT&T Center.
Leonard received a loud chorus of boos when he was announced as a starter and whenever he touched the ball.
The level of vitriol increased throughout the game, especially with the Spurs having by far their best game of the season, en route to a 107-97 victory over one of the best teams in the league.
“Umm, didn’t make nothing of it,” Leonard said of the fan reception. “Felt like a normal away game.”
Leonard is now 0-2 as a visitor after he spent seven seasons with the Spurs and won a championship in San Antonio in 2014.
Both contests, one last season as a member of the Toronto Raptors, had a similar feel.
Leonard’s initial return to San Antonio on Jan. 24 resulted in thunderous boos and a 125-107 loss for the Raptors.
In Friday night’s game, Leonard struggled again. He was bottled up defensively and shot 8-23 from the field.
Leonard finished with 19 points, well below his season average of 25.4 points per game. He was visibly frustrated with the officials throughout the game.
“Definitely, but that happens every night," Leonard said. "We just have to get through that and play hard.”
Leonard’s new running mate in Los Angeles, Paul George, said after the game he did not believe Leonard was affected by the fans.
“I don’t understand it. There was more booing than cheering. It doesn’t affect us. We’re locked in. We come in here to play and win games,” said George.
Both all-star forwards added they could have done more to change the outcome, but Leonard gave San Antonio credit, especially on defense, an end of the court he made a living on while with the Spurs.
“They were getting into the ball a little bit, just playing harder than us tonight I felt like,” Leonard said. “They deserved to win.”
VIDEO BELOW: 3 TAKEAWAYS FROM SPURS BIG WIN OVER CLIPPERS AND FANS BOOING KAWHI LEONARD. (ALL PHOTOS VIA THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
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