Leonard's 39 points, defense tow Spurs past Rockets

Associated Press
Leonard's 39 points, defense tow Spurs past Rockets
San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) is fouled by Houston Rockets guard James Harden during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, March 6, 2017, in San Antonio.
AP Photo / Darren Abate

SAN ANTONIO — Kawhi Leonard scored 39 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter, and made big plays on both ends in the final 30 seconds as the San Antonio Spurs rallied for a 112-110 victory over the Houston Rockets on Monday night (Tuesday Manila time).

Leonard outscored James Harden 17-4 in the final quarter of a matchup between two leading MVP candidates as the Spurs won their eighth straight.

Harden finished with 39 points and 12 assists in the final matchup of the season between the intrastate rivals.

Harden hit one of two free throws to give Houston a 108-107 lead, but Leonard followed with a 3-pointer over Nene for a 110-108 advantage. Leonard than blocked Harden's layup attempt from behind, pinning the attempt on the glass before being fouled. Leonard then made a pair of free throws with "MVP!" chants raining down from sell-out crowd at the AT&T Center.

Leonard was the primary defender on Harden in the final quarter, holding the All-Star to 1-for-5 shooting in the period.

San Antonio (49-13) won three of four from Houston (44-20) and extended its lead over the Rockets in the Southwest Division to six games with 20 games remaining.

Tony Parker added 19 points for San Antonio, shooting 3 for 6 on 3-pointers.

Houston, which had won eight of 10, got 13 points from Trevor Ariza.

The Rockets shot 67 percent and scored 39 points in the first quarter while opening a 16-point lead.

San Antonio went on a 20-4 run to take a 73-71 lead with 3:30 remaining in the third. The Spurs forced five turnovers and hit four 3-pointers in the run, three by Parker.





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