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Spurs 109, Nets 97: Who shined and who didn't?

Gregg Popovich (AP Photo)

The San Antonio Spurs were able to pick up the win against the Brooklyn Nets, 109-97. It was an all around team effort with six Spurs scoring double figures after starting off slow out of the gates scoring 19 points in the first period.

The win also marked the Spurs 15th-straight win over the Nets in San Antonio and the team now moves to 24-11 on the season.

Now let’s see who shined and who didn’t for the Spurs in the win.

Kawhi Leonard:

Leonard is still taking it slow with his comeback, but in the win over Brooklyn, we the NBA All-Star in full display.

He played the most minutes he has all season tonight with 26 and during his time on the floor he was able to deliver 21 points, two rebounds, and two assists.

We saw Leonard score in a variety of ways tonight like we have during his career. He looked very comfortable taking the ball to the hole or shaking his defender for the jump shot.

We even saw him take flight as he slammed home a dunk in the second quarter.

Tonight’s performance from Leonard was great to see. Mostly because it showed he is starting to come back to form, which is what the Spurs need.

Rudy Gay:

Unfortunately Gay had another slow night during the contest. He finished the game with only four points, one rebound, and one assist.

But what really stood out were his shots attempted - Gay only took five shots from the field.

For example, Danny Green was able to steal the ball with a great defensive effort in transition. Gay receives the pass for the wide open three and he airballed it.

This is just one example of Gay’s lack of presence on offense. If he wants to see his minutes stay high, he needs to figure it out quickly.

Twitter: @TylerClerkin

Leonard, Aldridge lead healthy Spurs past Nets, 109-97

By RAUL DOMINGUEZ, Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The Spurs' first game with every player healthy and available went as the team expected.

There was some hesitation and a rash of early turnovers, but they grew comfortable as the game progressed.

Kawhi Leonard scored 21 points, LaMarcus Aldridge added 20 and San Antonio beat Brooklyn 109-97 on Tuesday night, its 15th straight win at home over the Nets.

"(The rash of injuries is) very unusual for us, but we still have a month and a half until the rodeo (road trip) starts," Spurs veteran Manu Ginobili said. "This is a good time to get everybody playing, everybody feeling good. Get Kawhi and Tony (Parker) back to their usual selves, back to their rhythm, feeling good and I think we are accomplishing that. Slowly, because they haven't been back for so long, but they are really showing progress."

San Antonio is third in the Western Conference at 24-11 despite being without Leonard and/or Parker for 30 games this season.

Aldridge has led the team during the duo's absence and his resurgent season has not slowed with their return. The 6-foot-11 forward was 7 for 15 from the field and had nine rebounds against Brooklyn.

"You know, obviously, watching (Aldridge and Pau Gasol) play and see them do the things they do for our team is great, and it inspires everyone on the bench, me, even guys playing," Leonard said. "But just with me, just taking it slow and trying not to skip any steps, like I said before, so I can be healthy down the road."

Playing in just his fifth game, Leonard was 8 for 17 from the field in scoring a season high. He made his first appearance in the fourth quarter, scoring four points in three minutes.

"When Kawhi checked into the game in the fourth quarter, that wasn't a welcome sign," Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. "It just changes the game. He makes such a difference. Defensively, it's just unbelievable. I felt like he was guarding our whole team at times."

Playing with a full roster for the first time led to some indecision, as the Spurs scored just 19 points in the opening quarter while trying to involve all their scoring options.

"We went to being too careful," said reserve guard Patty Mills, who scored 11 points. "That caused us to turn the ball over."

San Antonio had nine of their 12 turnovers in the first half, but offset that by holding Brooklyn to 36 percent shooting.

Gasol added 15 points, Parker had 14 and Ginobili had 11.

The Nets kept pace early despite injuries to their top two point guards, D'Angelo Russell and Jeremy Lin.

Caris LeVert led Brooklyn with 18 points and Allen Crabbe added 15.

"I like the process. The results weren't great offensively but we did some good things," Atkinson said.

TIP-INS

Nets: Russell has not played since Nov. 11, missing his 20th straight game. He is expected to be back in the first half of January after undergoing left knee surgery Nov. 17. ... The Nets are 4-41 on the road against the Spurs in franchise history. Their last win in San Antonio in the regular season was a 92-86 victory on Jan. 22, 2002, at the Alamodome. ... Atkinson was assessed a technical foul with 6:45 left in the third quarter after bolting from his seat and running to midcourt to protest an offensive foul call on Crabbe.

Spurs: San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich has 1,174 career victories, placing him one shy of tying George Karl for fifth all-time. ... Gasol collected his 10,817th rebound, moving him past Jack Sikma for 30th in league history. ... Aldridge has led the Spurs in scoring 28 times in 33 games after doing so a combined 37 times in his first two seasons with the team. ... The Spurs are 16-2 at home, the league's best home record.

NOT ROCKET SCIENCE

Popovich shrugged off any difficulties he could face while trying to decide on rotations and minutes now that the Spurs roster is fully available.

"It's basketball, it's not the Middle East peace process," Popovich said. "It's not figuring out why our democracy is being eroded. It's pick-and-roll. Big deal."?

TIME WILL TELL

Ginobili said the team hopes to gel completely during the team's annual rodeo road trip, a monthlong excursion in February while the AT&T Center is hosting the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo.

"That's when we usually start getting the shape that we want in the playoffs," Ginobili said. "So, that's when it starts and hopefully this year we are in the same mode and from there we keep building until April comes."

WELCOME HOME

Former Spurs star Tim Duncan was in attendance for the second time this season. Duncan's only appearance last season came during his retirement ceremony.

UP NEXT

Nets: Visit New Orleans on Wednesday.

Spurs: Host New York on Thursday.


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