SACRAMENTO (AP) – Kawhi Leonard scored 30 points and the San Antonio Spurs spoiled the regular season opener at Sacramento's new downtown arena, beating the Kings 102-94 on Thursday night.
LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 points as the Spurs clamped down on defense in the second half led by Leonard's strong play to win their second straight game to open the season. San Antonio spoiled Kevin Durant's home debut for Golden State on Tuesday before sending Kings fans home unhappy on what began as a celebratory night in Sacramento.
The arena was raucous pregame for its first game that counts as there was plenty of emotion from fans who remembered how close the franchise was to moving to Seattle before Vivek Ranadive bought the team in 2013 and reached a deal to build the arena.
It didn't end as well despite a strong night from DeMarcus Cousins, who led Sacramento with 37 points and 16 rebounds.
The Kings built a nine-point lead midway through the third period before Leonard and the Spurs put it away. San Antonio went on a 16-2 run and held Sacramento without a basket for the final 7:20 of the period to take a 76-71 lead into the fourth.
The Kings missed nine straight shots and Leonard twice ripped the ball away for steals from Ben McLemore. Leonard turned the first into a three-point play and then drew a foul the next time and made both free throws.
The Spurs built the lead to 10 points early in the fourth quarter before Cousins and Arron Afflalo made two baskets each in a 12-2 run that tied the game.
But San Antonio pulled away late for the win.
Spurs: G Tony Parker had no points, rebounds or assists in 16 minutes through three quarters. He finished with four points and two assists. ... Reserves David Lee and Dewayne Dedmon both scored 12 points.
Kings: Rudy Gay had 17 points but shot just 3 for 10. ... Sacramento shot 40 percent for the game. ... The Kings have lost seven straight to the Spurs.
There were many luminaries on hand for the arena opening. Former Kings great Chris Webber sat next to Ranadive at courtside, Commissioner Adam Silver and his predecessor were in attendance, as well as several politicians integral in getting the arena built, most notably Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.
''I think it's a borderline miracle from where we were in 2013 to be here in 2016, a year earlier than they originally pledged to have an arena done,'' Silver said. ''To be done, to be here on opening night with the building completely finished with strong local ownership, it's everything a league could hope for.''
Spurs: Play New Orleans in their home opener on Saturday.
Kings: Host Minnesota on Saturday in a matchup of two of the league's top big men in Cousins and Karl-Anthony Towns.
© 2017 Associated Press