(TSX / STATS) -- HOUSTON -- For the San Antonio Spurs, the result was rendered immaterial. Having contested the first 27 games without their best player, the Spurs were so pleased to welcome back forward Kawhi Leonard on Tuesday night that their loss to the Dallas Mavericks was essentially a footnote.
San Antonio (19-9) managed just fine without Leonard, whose quadriceps injury delayed his season debut and remains an impediment at least in terms of a minutes restriction. The Spurs own the third-best record in the Western Conference and their defense did not reflect the absence of a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, with San Antonio ranking third in defensive efficiency. (MORE)