NBA

Kawhi Leonard with career-high, embarrass Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry on opening night

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NBA Free Agency
Mar 12, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) dribbles the ball as San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) defends during the second half at AT&T Center

The San Antonio Spurs beat “Super Team” and West favorites Golden State Warriors via a 129-100 blowout on Tuesday night. While it’s the first game of the season, the Spurs sent a serious message to their rivals with star forward Kawhi Leonard dropping a career-high of 35 points.

The Spurs took control early, leading 31-20 after the first quarter. They pushed the lead to 64-46 at halftime and the Warriors never threatened in the second half.

Leonard shot 15-of-15 from the free throw line and added 5 steals for the Spurs, which is considered one of the teams that will challenge the Warriors’ dominance this new NBA season.

Leonard’s star counterparts Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry had 27 and 26 points, respectively but the Warriors bench failed to provide any help. San Antonio’s reserves outscored Golden State’s bench, 54-16. Jonathon Simmons proved this is the year he’s going to get a major role and minutes by scoring 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting.

This was Durant’s debut for his new team the Warriors after leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder in free agency.

LaMarcus Aldridge quietly worked his way to a double-double of 26 points and 14 rebounds. Pau Gasol, the Spurs’ top free agent acquisition, had 2 points in 18 minutes in his debut for San Antonio.

Golden State is known for their three-point shooting, especially with the addition of Durant last summer. But the Warriors shot 7-of-33 from the three-point area, or just 21.2%. The Spurs shot 12-of-24 from three in this game.

The Warriors look to bounce back in their next game when they face Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans. Meanwhile, the Spurs take on the lowly Sacramento Kings featuring DeMarcus Cousins.

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