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NBA: Leonard returns to spark Spurs to win over Blazers

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By EMN Updated: Jan 17, 2015 11:06 pm
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AFP
SAN ANTONIO, JANUARY 17

Reigning playoff MVP Kawhi Leonard made the most of his return to the San Antonio lineup, scoring a team high 20 points as the Spurs beat Portland 110-96 on Friday.
Leonard showed no signs of rust against the Trail Blazers despite missing 15 games because of a torn ligament in his right hand. His last game was on December 15. “I felt good tonight,” said Leonard, who was named MVP of the 2014 NBA finals. “It was fun out there, especially with us getting the win.
“It took me a while to get my legs under me and get some of the excitement out.
“Hopefully I can carry it on.” Leonard said after the game that the hand felt fine and that’s good news for the defending NBA champion Spurs who went 7-8 with him sidelined.
“Right now it feels good. Came out great. We will see how it feels tomorrow,” he said.
Danny Green tallied 19 points and Patty Mills came off the bench to score 18 points for San Antonio, which has won four of its last five contests.
“He’s going to play aggressive and create stuff for us,” Spurs guard Tony Parker said of Leonard.
LaMarcus Aldridge paced the Portland attack with 24 points and eight rebounds while Damian Lillard finished with 23 points and five assists in the loss.
“We didn’t do a good job keeping them off the boards,” said Aldridge. “We didn’t do a good job of finding bodies.
We’ll learn from it.” Mills scored 10 points off the bench in the first quarter to help the Spurs grab a 35-28 lead after the opening quarter.
San Antonio led by as many as a dozen points in the second quarter before taking a 60-52 lead at halftime.
Then it took over in the third and cruised to the win in the fourth.

Westbrook shines as
Thunder roll over Warriors

Russell Westbrook exploded for a triple-double and Kevin Durant scored 36 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder dominated the Golden State Warriors 127-115 on Friday.
Westbrook finished with 17 points, 17 assists and 15 rebounds and Serge Ibaka scored 27 for the Thunder, who bounced back nicely from Thursday’s NBA loss in Houston.
The Thunder led the entire second half in front of a crowd of 18,200 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
“Our mindset was a little different. We didn’t take losing as an option,” said Durant. “We came out with a lot of energy on both ends, our crowd was great, and it was a good win for us.”
Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 32 points in the loss. They were beaten handily on the glass 54-43 en route to having their eight-game winning streak snapped. Golden State played without stars Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala.
“They were great tonight,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr. “We knew they were going to come after us. They needed this win, and they deserved it. They were brilliant.”
Both teams shot over 60 percent in a 68-point opening quarter. Thompson led all scorers with 13, and the Warriors held a 35-33 lead after 12 minutes.

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By EMN Updated: Jan 17, 2015 11:06:42 pm