Home » Blog » Kawhi Leonard, Spurs getting back on track

Kawhi Leonard, Spurs getting back on track

Photo Credit: CBSSports.com

Photo Credit: CBSSports.com

As the calendar turned to 2015, the reigning champion San Antonio Spurs didn’t look like the powerhouse we’ve come to expect them to be. Injuries had the team constantly playing short-handed, and after a 95-87 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Dec. 30, the Spurs had a record of just 19-14.

Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker, Tiago Splitter and Marco Belinelli have all missed significant time this season. The bizarre injuries to Leonard were especially frustrating for San Antonio, because everybody thought he was on the verge of a breakout season following last season’s performance in the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, when he earned Finals MVP honors.

But 2015 has looked much more Spurs-y. Leonard, Splitter and Parker are all back in the lineup, and San Antonio is 7-2 in January after a 109-99 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night. Leonard posted a double-double with 17 points and 15 rebounds, and he has played generally well in his three games back. He has averaged 16.3 points and 9.3 rebounds since returning to the floor.

Leonard not only helps the Spurs’ offense, but his great defense is welcome as well. San Antonio’s offense still isn’t on the levels we’re accustomed to seeing, but the defense has been stellar most of the year and is really rounding into form. The Spurs have given up 97.4 points per 100 possessions in January, the fourth-best mark in the month, per NBA.com. Having Leonard’s elite defense on the wing will do nothing but help, and Tim Duncan still anchors the defense in his old age.

San Antonio’s run to start January still has them at No. 7 in the Western Conference, because the top six teams just don’t lose enough consistently. However, the Spurs have crept to just 1½ games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the sixth seed. A date with the Clippers at home closes out January as part of a six-game home stand.

Prior to the six straight games at home, San Antonio visits Chicago to face the struggling Bulls. Chicago has lost six of eight games and has really struggled on the defensive end of late, but this should be no walk in the park. The Bulls still have a lot of talent and could snap out of their funk at any time, so the Spurs will have to bring their “A” game.

While San Antonio has dealt with numerous injuries and some uncharacteristic struggles, Vegas still believes in them as a top championship contender. The Golden State Warriors may currently be the favorite in the Western Conference with 9/2 odds to win the 2015 NBA title, but the Spurs are right there at 13/2, according to VegasInsider.com. If San Antonio continues to find a groove and Golden State slips at all, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Spurs overtake the Warriors for best odds to win it all.




  • 100%