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SPURS GAMEDAY: Kawhi Leonard, surging Clippers next up for slumping Silver and Black

Clippers have third-best record (14-5) in the NBA's Western Conference and have won seven straight.

Los Angeles Clippers (14-5) vs. Spurs (6-13) 

When, where: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., AT&T Center

All-time series record: Spurs lead 128-43

Last season: Tied 2-2

Season series: Clippers lead 1-0

Last meeting: Clippers 103, Spurs 97, Oct. 31, Los Angeles

Clippers' last game: Beat Grizzlies 121-119, Wednesday, Memphis, Tenn.

Spurs' last game: Lost to Minnesota Timberwolves 113-101, Wednesday, AT&T Center

Clippers' last 10 games/streak: 8-2, won seven

Spurs' last 10 games/streak: 1-9, lost two

Clippers' injury/inactive report: Guard/forward Amir Coffey, Amir (G League), out; forward/center Mfiondu Kabengele (G League), out; guard Rodney McGruder (right hamstring; strain), out; forward Johnathan Motley (G League), out; guard Landry Shamet (left ankle; high left ankle sprain), out.

Spurs' injury/inactive report: Guard/forward Keldon Johnson (G League), out; forward Chimezie Metu (left foot; soreness), out; guard Patty Mills (left foot; soreness), available; forward Luka Samanic (G League), out; guard Quindarry Weatherspoon (G League), out.

Notable: Friday night's game against the Clippers is the last of three in a row at home this week for the Spurs, who are 4-6 at the AT&T Center this season. The Silver and Black play the Pistons at 4 p.m. Sunday in Detroit. 


No rest for the weary.

Off to their worst start since the 1996-97 season, when Tim Duncan was a senior at Wake Forest, the Spurs face the unenviable task Friday night of playing Kawhi Leonard and the surging Los Angeles Clippers.

Spurs forward DeMar DeRozan said after Wednesday night's 113-101 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves that the team can't afford to waste time dwelling on defeats.

“Whoever we’re playing, we’ve got to move on to the next one and try to get a win," DeRozan said. "No matter who we're playing against, we’ve got to be ready for it . . . It sucks to lose, but we've just got to keep pushing, keep fighting, continue to get better."

Leonard played seven seasons with the Silver and Black before his relationship with the franchise soured in 2017-18, when a mysterious quad injury limited him to only nine games.

Leonard, an All-NBA forward who was named Finals MVP in 2014 when San Antonio won its last title, pushed for a trade and got it. In a blockbuster deal that included starting Spurs guard Danny Green, Leonard and Green were sent to the Toronto Raptors for DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl in the summer of 2018.

Led by DeRozan, who had his first career triple-double, the Spurs trounced the Raptors 125-107 in Leonard's only visit to the AT&T Center last season. Leonard is expected to get another frosty reception from Spurs fans Saturday night. He was booed and jeered throughout last season's game against the Raptors.

Credit: Photo by Antonio Morano bit.ly/XR79FT / Special to KENS5.com
A disappointed Kawhi Leonard hugs Spurs coach Gregg Popovich after the Silver and Black's 125-107 win over the Raptors on Jan. 3 at the AT&T Center.

In the end, Toronto came up smelling like a rose after Leonard led the Raptors to their first league championship last season. He subsequently signed with the Clippers this summer, and has sparked them to a 14-5 start this season. Los Angeles has won its last seven games.

Meanwhile, the Silver and Black (6-13) have struggled mightily. They have lost 10 of their last 11 games and two straight after breaking an eight-game losing streak last Saturday. The eight-game skid was their longest since 1996-97 season when they finished 20-62. 

The Spurs landed in the 1997 NBA lottery and lucked into the No. 1 pick. The rest, as they say, is history. The Silver and Black selected Duncan, an All-America forward at Wake Forest, in the NBA Draft and went on to win five league titles during his 19-year career with San Antonio.

The Spurs have made the playoffs for 22 straight seasons, tying the NBA record for consecutive postseason appearances. Considering the team's free-fall five weeks into the season, that streak appears to be in serious jeopardy.

With the first quarter of the season almost in the books, DeRozan was asked if the hour is growing late for the Spurs to get themselves together and make a run at another playoff berth.

"Losing kind of heightens everything negatively in a way," DeRozan said. "But the reality of it is it's still November. We haven't hit 2020 yet, so we've still got an opportunity. All it takes is us to play a couple of good weeks of basketball and we'll be right there."