Kawhi Leonard and Gregg Popovich shared a special moment after final whistle

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This has been billed as one of the biggest National Basketball Association games of the season since the schedules were released, but until recently the Spurs hadn't been holding up their end of the bargain.

The Spurs organization tried to diffuse the tension with a classy tribute video, but Spurs fans were having none of it, as they let Leonard hear it from pre-game introductions throughout the entire game, including every time he touched the ball.

The Spurs traded Leonard in July after the forward requested the team move him, as the sides couldn't find resolution to issues arising throughout a season-long saga that involved the team and player disagreeing on aspects of his rehabilitation from a quadriceps injury.

"And one of the reasons is you guys will interpret it any way you want anyway".

DeRozan is just the 13th player in Spurs history to produce a triple-double, and it marked the 43rd time that milestone had been reached in San Antonio franchise history.

Asked whether he expected a negative reaction when Leonard is introduced, Mill expressed optimism.

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- Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) January 4, 2019Let us come to your job and BOO you for 2hrs for you looking out for YOURSELF when teams time after time do what's best for THEM! So it doesn't matter what we say. "That's what I hope, that's what I expect". "I'm sure they're going to be on Kawhi a little bit, they're going to show a lot of emotions, hopefully a lot of love to both of us".

The Spurs' suffocating defense, scoring runs and fans' unrelenting contempt for the opposing team's star player have often overwhelmed the opposition. "But I embraced it and enjoyed the moment, and it's only going to make me better".

The injured Denver Nuggets guard took to Twitter to rip into the fans who went to the game to spew venom at Leonard.

"I've seen how he's changed his years, and now he's become more of a complete player".

DeRozan, meanwhile, told reporters Wednesday he hadn't thought much of Thursday's reunion. "I wasn't on the end kind of how (DeRozan's trade) went down". I guess in the bigger picture, it really is just another game. At 27 and just entering his prime, it's reasonable to think his ceiling is even higher than what we've seen.

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