Kawhi Leonard made his highly anticipated return to San Antonio as a member of the Toronto Raptors on Thursday night, and Spurs fans made sure to shower him with boos during pregame introductions. Following the matchup in which Leonard struggled and the Spurs were able to come away with a convincing 125-107 victory, Popovich wasn't happy about the reception his former star player received.
Less than halfway through the opening quarter, DeRozan threw down some absolute fury at the rim to give the Spurs a 10-point cushion - one that would turn out to be one of the slimmest San Antonio leads of the night.
It didn't seem to surprise Leonard.
"[The] media does a great job to stir people's minds and influence them to think a certain way", Leonard added. So, I already knew how that was going to be the way the media was'. "We all make decisions in our lives, what we are going to do with our futures, and he has that same right as any of us".
"I kind of admired his game and told him I'd been watching him and could see he's been getting better and better", Pippen said.
DeRozan became the first Spurs player to record a triple-double at home since 2003, when Tim Duncan accomplished the feat.
The reigning MVP finished with 44 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds, while Clint Capela contributed 29 points and 21 rebounds for Houston. As a result, the Raptors fell to 28-12 this season and 5-5 in their last ten.