Spurs host Jazz

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(SportsNetwork.com) - The San Antonio Spurs welcomed a familiar face back and will try to continue their momentum Sunday night when the Utah Jazz come to AT&T Center.

Kawhi Leonard, the reigning NBA Finals MVP, returned after a 15-game absence due to a torn ligament in his right hand and scored 20 points Friday night to lead the Spurs to a 110-96 home victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

"He's going to play aggressive and create stuff for us," Spurs guard Tony Parker, who finished with 17 points and seven assists, said of Leonard.

Danny Green deposited 19 points and Patty Mills added 18 points off the bench for San Antonio, which has won two in a row and four of its last five. Manu Ginobili had 13 off the bench and Tim Duncan recorded a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

San Antonio led by as many as 12 in the second quarter before taking a 60-52 lead at the break. Then it took over in the third and cruised to the victory in the fourth.

The Spurs will visit the Denver Nuggets and Chicago Bulls, starting Tuesday.

The Jazz halted a three-game slide with a 94-85 home victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday. The triumph not only ended the rut, but it also put the brakes on a three-game home losing streak.

Gordon Hayward tallied 31 points and seven assists to lead the Jazz past the Kobe Bryant-less Lakers. Hayward shot 12-for-18 from the floor, 4-for-7 from behind the arc and made all three of his free throws. The Jazz finished 10- for-10 from the stripe as a team.

Trey Burke added 20 points and Derrick Favors posted 18 and 10 rebounds for Utah.

"We turned the ball over a little bit more than we wanted to, but for the most part we played really good on defense, which allowed us to get some easy buckets in transition," Hayward said. "We're athletic and we can finish on the break so anytime we can get going in transition that is a good thing."

The Jazz led by three late in the fourth quarter when a technical foul led to six straight Utah points. Nick Young was handed the violation, and Hayward hit the ensuing free throw. Favors turned it into a three-point possession with his reverse layup, and Hayward potted a 3-pointer on the next trip.

Utah then locked in on defense, forcing a shot clock violation. Just under two minutes later, Hayward put the game away with his short bank shot.

The Jazz beat the Spurs by four in Salt Lake City on Dec. 9. That win stopped a five-game series losing streak, but the Spurs have taken nine straight as the host in this series, including the postseason.

In fact, the defending NBA champions are 32-2 versus the Jazz in San Antonio. Utah won both meetings in the Alamo City in the 2009-10 season, but hadn't won there prior since Feb. 28, 1999.