Kurt Helin

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) shoots over Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford (11) and forward Jeff Green (8) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 15, 2016, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 108-87. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Associated Press

Kawhi Leonard leads Spurs to 108-87 win over Clippers

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Kawhi Leonard had 20 points and the San Antonio Spurs wore down the short-handed Los Angeles Clippers 108-87 on Tuesday night to match the second-longest home winning streak to open a season in NBA history.

San Antonio won its 33rd straight home game this season, tying Orlando’s start to the 1995-1996 season.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and reserve guards Patty Mills and Manu Ginobili added 15 and 13, respectively, for the Spurs (57-10).

Los Angeles (42-24), still playing without Blake Griffin, lost its second straight.

The Clippers’ reserves, who were without injured Paul Pierce, were outscored 51-20 by the Spurs’ bench.

San Antonio backup David West tipped in missed shots on successive possessions and then delivered a hard screen on Austin Rivers that freed Mills for a jumper from the top of the key for an 82-72 lead with 9 minutes remaining. West finished with eight points.

Data curated by PointAfter

San Antonio needed that production to counter Chris Paul, who continued to confound and frustrate the Spurs on both ends.

Paul had 22 points on 9-for-16 shooting and dished out eight assists.

He opened the game by lobbing a pass to DeAndre Jordan for a dunk and scored 10 points in the opening quarter.

Jordan had 16 points and 14 rebounds, and Jeff Green scored 15.

Paul later drew two successive fouls against Mills in the first quarter, rising up and under when the Australian native placed his left arm near the right shoulder of the Clippers’ savvy veteran.

The Spurs went on a 13-3 run when Paul exited with 1:21 left in the first quarter. Mills and Danny Green each had a 3-pointer during the spurt that turned a one-point deficit into a 31-22 advantage.

Danny Green was 4 for 5 on 3s in scoring 12 points.


Clippers: Pierce missed his third straight game with a sore right big toe. Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he was unsure if the veteran forward will be available to play Wednesday in Houston. . Paul was averaging 19.1 points and 8.7 assists in his career against San Antonio. Paul, Magic Johnson (19.9 points and 10.9 rebounds) and Isiah Thomas (18.2, 8.1 assists) are the only players to average 18 points and eight assists against the Spurs since 1985-86. . The Clippers entered having won three of four regular-season games against the Spurs in addition to defeating them in the first round of last year’s playoffs.

Spurs: Tim Duncan had nine points, raising his career total to 26,399 to surpass John Havlicek for 14th in NBA history. Havlicek finished his Hall of Fame career with 26,395 points, all with the Boston Celtics. . San Antonio has trailed for only 9 minutes, 37 seconds, of the 384 minutes it has played in the fourth quarter at home this season. . The Spurs have won 42 games this season by double digits, a franchise record.


Clippers sign Jeff Ayres as bench big for rest of season

Jeff Ayres
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When Blake Griffin first was going to be out for a while following his hand surgery, the Clippers went out and got Jeff Ayres on a 10-day contract to provide some depth up front. He played a total of 14 minutes in five games, hit a couple of shots but really wasn’t memorable.

Turns out he was memorable to Doc Rivers — Ayres is back with the Clippers for the rest of the season. Via Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Ayres had been with the D-Fenders of the D-League, the Lakers affiliate based in Los Angeles.

The Clippers still do not have Griffin back and are heading out on a five-game road trip that includes games against San Antonio, Houston, and Golden State. The Clippers could still use that depth, so enter Ayres.

Besides, unlike many of his new teammates, Ayres has a championship ring — he was a member of the 2014 Spurs title team.

Kobe Bryant apparently out Tuesday vs. Kings, Metta World Peace to start

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant sits on the bench during the second half of the Lakers' NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Friday, Jan. 22, 2016, in Los Angeles. The Spurs won 108-95. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
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Kobe Bryant has missed more home games than road games during his farewell tour, something that has frustrated many Lakers fans who are paying increasingly large sums to see their hero one more time.

It looks like that will happen again Tuesday when the Lakers host the Sacramento Kings Tuesday night.

Officially, Kobe is a game-time decision due to his sore shoulder. But then this leaked, via Mark Medina of the LA Daily News.

It sounds like the Lakers are giving Kobe the option to change his mind — because he’s Kobe and the Lakers are still his show — but they are planning to take on the struggling Kings without him.

I’d say adjust your fantasy hoops lineups accordingly, but if you have Kobe on your fantasy team this season you have some bigger issues to sort through.

Kawhi Leonard doesn’t care about trappings of stardom, but does love Wingstop

SAN ANTONIO,TX - MARCH 12: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs talks with head coach Gregg Popovich at AT&T Center on March 12, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that , by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
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Kawhi Leonard was the Finals MVP in 2014, but if you wanted to interview him one-on-one during media availabilities on off days, it wasn’t that hard. At the start of the session media members from around the world would crowd around his podium, but after 10 minutes of one word or short answers, and nothing insightful, they’d move on to Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili or even Matt Bonner — someone who would give them good soundbites.

By the end, it was just Leonard and a guy or two, not that he would loosen up and give detailed answers about Xs and Os, himself, or anything else. The most interesting thing I got out of him was he thought the tacos in San Diego (where he went to college) were better than San Antonio.

Leonard doesn’t care about being an NBA star or his brand — he is the perfect Gregg Popovich player that way. The Brilliant Lee Jenkins lays it out perfectly over at Sports Illustrated in a story you should just read all of right now.

And learn Leonard loves Wingstop.

He is the only star still rocking cornrows, an outdated tribute to Carmelo Anthony, and he shrugs when friends claim he’d expand his endorsement portfolio if he shaved the braids. He is happy to sponsor Wingstop, which sends him coupons for free wings, so he can feed his Mango Habanero addiction. This winter, after his $94 million contract kicked in, he panicked when he lost his coupons. Wingstop generously replenished his supply.

“You’d think we were talking about a starving journeyman in the D-League,” says Randy Shelton, San Diego State’s strength and conditioning coach, who trains Leonard every off-season. But the player’s hunger is real. He is the rare professional athlete who distinguishes between greatness and stardom. “He wants the greatness badly,” Popovich says. “He doesn’t give a damn about the stardom.” You won’t find him on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. You probably won’t catch him in a photo shoot, on a red carpet or at an awards ceremony, even if he is the guest of honor. Check that—especially if he is the guest of honor. “He loves the game,” Popovich continues. “He ignores the rest of it.”

Read the entire story; it ‘s fantastic writing and reporting.

Spurs GM R.C. Buford admits Leonard gave this franchise a second chance, that there would be a chance to send Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili out on a high note, while helping set the table for the time when they are gone. Do you think LaMarcus Aldridge is a Spur without Leonard there?

The Spurs were hesitant to trade George Hill for Leonard on draft night — Popovich liked Hill a lot, and as Indiana has finally discovered if you use him in the right settings Hill is a quality NBA player. But the Spurs saw what Leonard could be before anyone else, and that’s why they’re the Spurs. They take calculated gambles, but in this case it paid off with a Top 5 NBA player.

And another shot at a ring. They need to get by Golden State, of course, but Leonard makes that more possible for them than any of the other 28 teams in the league.

Pistons owner to match up to $1M in Flint telethon donations

AUBURN HILLS, MI - OCTOBER 28:  at the Palace of Auburn Hills on October 28, 2015 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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FLINT, Mich. (AP) —  A telethon underway to help Flint residents amid the Michigan city’s crisis with lead-tainted water features a major financial commitment from Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores.

The Flint native says he’ll match up to $1 million in donations made during Tuesday’s telethon hosted by Detroit television station WDIV-TV. More than $40,000 had been raised as of Tuesday morning.

The telethon, called “Flint Water Crisis: 4 Our Families ((hash)FlintKids),” benefits the Community Foundation of Greater Flint and its Flint Child Health and Development Fund. Localized versions are airing on other stations.

If consumed, lead can cause developmental delays and learning disabilities. There are a number of efforts taking place to boost Flint education, health and support programs.

Gores earlier pledged to raise $10 million to help the city.