Kawhi Leonard says he still has a ways to go to get back to form

New York Knicks forward Lance Thomas (42) puts up a shot against San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard got the start against the New York Knicks and finished with a season-high of 25 points in 30 minutes. He also showcased his defensive prowess with four steals, and eight rebounds against the Knicks.

But even with those impressive numbers, it was just one game and for Leonard, he still has a ways to go.

"It felt good," said Leonard after the Spurs' win. "I am still got a little bit of a ways to go as far as my conditioning, legs and the whole rhythm of the game."

Kawhi has been on a strict minute restriction coming off a nagging thigh injury that held him out longer than expected to start the season. But slowly, the Spurs' coaching staff is increasing his time on the court.

Leading up to the Knicks game, in Leonard's first game back he played 15 minutes against Dallas, 27 minutes against Detroit and 30 versus New York.

Said Tony Parker on Head Coach Gregg Popovich managing minutes this season, "Pop is still managing. He doesn't want to go over certain minutes for certain guys and I am one of them. It's going to be like that for another month."

Slow and steady with a dash of caution will be in order when it comes to Leonard's time on the floor as the season rolls along. He is the center-piece of San Antonio on both ends of the court and a healthy Kawhi come the stretch-run is more important than now.

"It is not about one game," said Parker on Kawhi's play versus the Knicks. "He is on his way."

Said Leonard, "It is a slow process."

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