Spurs' star Kawhi Leonard won't be ready to start the season
HOUSTON (AP) -- Kawhi Leonard still isn't ready to play.
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said the All-Star forward needs more time to get his injured thigh muscle right, meaning he won't be out there when the Spurs open their regular season on Wednesday against Minnesota.
"He's still rehabbing and when he's ready, he'll be ready," Popovich told reporters in Houston before San Antonio's preseason finale.
Leonard didn't play at all in camp or preseason, after a year where he averaged 25.5 points -- raising his scoring average for the fifth consecutive season -- and finished behind only Russell Westbrook and James Harden in the MVP race.
The Spurs aren't alone when it comes to injury woes heading into the season.
Many are minor, like Cleveland's LeBron James nursing a sprained ankle and Golden State's Andre Iguodala dealing with a balky back -- issues that might keep them out of their respective opening nights. Kevin Durant (virus) and Draymond Green (back) also missed Golden State's preseason finale on Friday, though neither situation is thought to be serious. Nor is the Rockets' Chris Paul sitting out Friday with a sore knee, after missing a game earlier this week with a sore shoulder.
Some other injuries from training camp and preseason action are far more significant, like the ones endured by Charlotte's Nic Batum (elbow ligament tear), Miami's Rodney McGruder (stress fracture in left leg), Indiana's Glenn Robinson III (high ankle sprain followed by surgery to repair ligaments Friday), Washington's Markieff Morris (sports hernia), New Orleans' Rajon Rondo (sports hernia) and Utah's Dante Exum (shoulder).
They are looking at weeks -- or in many cases, months -- before they'll play again.
So the preseason is over. Some teams will be feeling the effects of it for a while longer.
A look at Friday's preseason finales:
HORNETS 111, MAVERICKS 96
Kemba Walker scored 17 points and Johnny O'Bryant III had all 15 of his points in the fourth quarter for Charlotte.
O'Bryant was 5 for 5 from the field and 3 for 3 from the foul line in the fourth, helping the Hornets (2-3) pull away with a 29-15 spurt.
Harrison Barnes scored 24 for visiting Dallas (4-2).
MAVERICKS: Dennis Smith Jr. closed his preseason with 10 points and nine assists. ... Dirk Nowitzki had 14 points and J.J. Barea added 13.
HORNETS: Dwight Howard grabbed 12 rebounds, helping Charlotte win that battle 50-37. ... Malik Monk and Dwayne Bacon each scored 14.
CAVALIERS 113, MAGIC 106
Playing without LeBron James, Cleveland got 18 points from Jose Calderon and 15 from Dwyane Wade to beat Orlando.
James missed his fourth preseason game with a bad ankle, and Kevin Love also didn't play for the visiting Cavaliers (1-4). Aaron Gordon had 21 points for the Magic (3-3).
CAVALIERS: Kyle Korver took five 2-point attempts, something he did in only six games all last season. ... Wade and Derrick Rose didn't play in the second half. ... JR Smith came off the bench to further acclimate to his new role, now that Wade is the starting shooting guard.
MAGIC: Orlando allowed 36 points in the third quarter. ... Jonathon Simmons started again in place of the injured Terrence Ross (hamstring). ... Simmons had 12 points and Elfrid Payton had 11 on 4-for-4 shooting.
WIZARDS 110, KNICKS 103
Bradley Beal scored 24 points in his best game of the preseason, helping Washington (4-1) send the Knicks to a winless exhibition slate.
Tim Hardaway Jr. had 23 points as the host Knicks finished 0-5.
WIZARDS: All-Star John Wall sat out the finale. ... Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 21 points. ... Former Knicks forward Jason Smith had 17 points.
KNICKS: Kristaps Porzingis (sore right hip) and Frank Ntilikina (bruised right knee) were held out again. Ntilikina, the Knicks' first-round pick, appeared in just one preseason game. He said he expects to fully practice Saturday. ... Doug McDermott scored 21 points off the bench. He had 12 in his first five minutes.
RAPTORS 125, BULLS 104
Toronto outscored Chicago 38-17 in the fourth quarter to turn what was a tie game into a blowout.
CJ Miles scored 27 points for visiting Toronto (3-2), which got 17 from Kyle Lowry and 16 from Norman Powell. Justin Holiday scored 17 for Chicago (3-3).
RAPTORS: Jonas Valanciunas had 11 points and 10 rebounds. ... The Raptors were 19 of 48 from 3-point range.
BULLS: Lauri Markkanen scored 13 and Bobby Portis added 12. ... Chicago had 28 assists on 38 field goals.
SPURS 106, ROCKETS 97
LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points and 10 rebounds for San Antonio (3-2).
Rudy Gay scored 14 points and Kyle Anderson added 13 for the Spurs. Eric Gordon led the host Rockets (4-1) with 27 points, and James Harden added 15 points and 11 assists -- but shot a mere 5 for 17.
SPURS: Danny Green had 11 points and seven assists. ... The Spurs outscored Houston 60-38 in the paint.
ROCKETS: Houston took 53 shots from 3-point range, making 15. ... Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson combined for 27 points, but shot 5 for 20 from behind the arc.
GRIZZLIES 142, PELICANS 101
New Orleans' Tony Allen -- who will have his jersey retired by the Grizzlies when his career ends -- got a huge ovation from fans in Memphis in his first trip back as an opponent. He didn't play, and the Pelicans got routed.
Jarrell Martin scored 20 points and Marc Gasol finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for Memphis (3-2). Jordan Crawford scored 19 for New Orleans (1-3).
PELICANS: Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins both shot 2 for 5, combining for 16 points. ... New Orleans trailed by as many as 49.
GRIZZLIES: Memphis got to the 100-point mark with 4:17 left in the third quarter. ... Mike Conley scored 19.
BUCKS 107, PISTONS 103
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 17 points, grabbed six rebounds and handed out six assists as Milwaukee (1-3) avoided a winless preseason.
Avery Bradley and Andre Drummond were brilliant for visiting Detroit (2-3). Bradley scored 26 points on 11-for-17 shooting, and Drummond finished with 18 points, 22 rebounds and seven assists.
PISTONS: Tobias Harris scored 13 points and Boban Marjanovic added 10. ... Detroit got outscored 48-27 from 3-point range.
BUCKS: Khris Middleton and Mirza Teletovic each scored 14. ... Milwaukee used 14 players -- 13 of them scored (rookie of the year Malcolm Brogdon was the exception) and all 14 got at least one rebound.
76ERS 119, HEAT 95
Ben Simmons and J.J. Redick each scored 19 for Philadelphia (2-3), with Redick going 5 for 6 from 3-point range.
Bam Adebayo, James Johnson and Dion Waiters had 13 apiece for Miami (3-3).
HEAT: Hassan Whiteside picked up three fouls by the midpoint of the first quarter, with Joel Embiid drawing them all. ... Jordan Mickey had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Justise Winslow scored 10.
76ERS: Philadelphia "hosted" the game in Kansas City, Missouri. ... The 76ers shot 14 for 39 from beyond the arc, while holding Miami to a 4 for 30 performance from long range.