Leonard lifts Spurs past Mavericks

Thu Nov 26, 2015 12:35am EST
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(The Sports Xchange) - Kawhi Leonard is getting more secure with the ball in his hands and the game on the line and his success in that role has been an important part of the San Antonio Spurs hot start.

Leonard poured in 26 points, including the clinching three-pointer with 15 seconds remaining, as the Spurs beat the Dallas Mavericks for an 88-83 victory on Wednesday.

Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki hit a jumper with 2:15 to play, cutting San Antonio's lead to 82-80 and Dallas had a chance to tie on their next possession but Deron Williams badly missed a jumper.

Leonard hit a 12-foot jumper with 51 seconds to play, but Mavericks guard Devin Harris nailed a three-pointer to cut the margin to one with 33 seconds left.

Leonard then poured in a three-pointer over stout defense by Dallas guard Wesley Matthews to seal the win and help the Spurs improve to 8-0 at home.

"Our type of offense puts everybody in a good situation and tonight I got the chance to make some shots for my team to win the game," Leonard said. "I was just excited the ball went in."

It was the 10th time this season that Leonard led the Spurs in scoring.

"Kawhi is coming into his own," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "He's feeling comfortable being the guy to take shots and we put him in those positions. He's performing wonderfully."

LaMarcus Aldridge, back in the lineup after missing two games with an ankle injury, added 18 points for San Antonio (12-3). Tony Parker scored 16 points.   Continued...

San Antonio Spurs power forward David West (30) puts up a shot over Dallas Mavericks point guard Devin Harris (34) during the second half at AT&T Center. Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports