Former Aztec Kawhi Leonard heads to NBA Finals

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SAN DIEGO – Former San Diego State men’s basketball standout forward Kawhi Leonard will play in the NBA Finals for the second straight season.

Leonard’s team, the San Antonio Spurs, will host the Miami Heat starting Thursday at 6 p.m.

It’s the second time the Spurs will face the Heat in the league’s finals. The Heat edged the Spurs a season ago, 4-3.

Leonard is the only player on either NBA roster from the Mountain West institution and is joined by Juwan Howard as the only Finals participants with the Aztec’s head coach Steve Fisher ties, according to the SDSU athletic department.

Leonard was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team for the first time of his career. The third-year player averaged a career-high 6.2 rebounds, 1.73 steals, which was 10th in the NBA, and 0.76 blocks in 66 regular-season games. His steals per game average was the highest by a Spurs player since 2003-04.