January 3, 2019 5:19 pm
Updated: January 3, 2019 5:21 pm

Toronto Raptors expecting hostile reception for Leonard’s San Antonio return

Toronto Raptors superstar Kawhi Leonard played it close to the vest with reporters in San Antonio Thursday, saying he felt similar pressure to other games despite making his return to play his old team.


TORONTO – Two days after being serenaded by chants of “M-V-P!” in Toronto, Raptors star Kawhi Leonard is about to return to an arena where fans won’t be nearly so kind.

San Antonio’s AT&T Center is the stage Thursday for the Raptors’ most anticipated game so far this season. A chorus of boos, the expected soundtrack.

“Give me some popcorn, I just want to watch it,” Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge joked with a San Antonio TV station this week.

WATCH: Former Raptor DeMar DeRozan excited to be facing his old team

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Leonard spent seven seasons with San Antonio, but the relationship soured in a bizarre last season that saw him play just nine games due to a quadriceps injury. He arrived in Toronto with Danny Green in the off-season’s blockbuster deal that sent DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl to the Spurs.

The 27-year-old Leonard returns on the heels of a career-high 45 points in Tuesday’s win over the Utah Jazz. He’s scored 20-plus points for a career-best 14 straight games. The two-time NBA defensive player of the year is also averaging career highs of 27.3 points and 8.2 rebounds a night.

READ MORE: Kawhi Leonard makes 1st public comments since trade to Toronto Raptors

The Raptors are 28-11 and a half-game behind Milwaukee for first in the league, while the Spurs are 21-17 and eighth in a jam-packed Western Conference.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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