Basketball: Leonard leads the way as Spurs take down Mavericks

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Kawhi Leonard is getting more secure with the ball in his hands and the game on the line and his success in that role has been an important part of the San Antonio Spurs' hot National Basketball Association league start.

Leonard poured in 26 points, including the clinching three-pointer with 15 seconds remaining, as the Spurs beat the Dallas Mavericks 88-83 on Wednesday.

Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki hit a jumper with 2:15 to play, cutting San Antonio's lead to 82-80 and Dallas had a chance to tie on their next possession but Deron Williams badly missed a jumper.

Leonard hit a 12-foot jumper with 51 seconds to play, but Mavericks guard Devin Harris nailed a three-pointer to cut the margin to one with 33 seconds left.

Leonard then poured in a three-pointer over stout defence by Dallas guard Wesley Matthews to seal the win and help the Spurs improve to 8-0 at home.