Down 2-0 in their Western Conference Finals series against the Golden State Warriors, the Spurs will be without MVP finalist Kawhi Leonard for a second consecutive game. Members of the San Antonio Spurs watch from the bench in the closing minutes of the team's 136-100 loss to the Golden State Warriors during Game 2 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Tuesday, May 16, 2017, i. Popovich basically said the mindset of his team was such that they did not believe they could win Game 2. "I spoke to Kawhi, we spoke to everybody, we all speak about it", Popovich said. Leonard did not finish Game 1 on Sunday after reinjuring his left ankle when Warriors Zaza Pachulio's foot hit Leonard's ankle.
He was also ruled out for Game 2. That said, there's nothing wrong with averaging 17.6 points and 7.9 rebounds as second banana to Leonard, and if you check out his last six playoff games before Game 2, Aldridge averaged 22.8 points and 8.8 rebounds, which are great numbers for a second option in this league. Andre Iguodala (left knee soreness) is listed as probable. In Game 2, the Warriors surged out of the gates and never let San Antonio climb back in it.
"Still hope. I'm still going to hope until tipoff that he's going to show up with a cape".
Asked again whether he thought Pachulia's play was dirty - initially having said he didn't consider it intentional - Leonard said he's spending his energy on getting healthy.
So while it's romantic to suggest the Spurs would be more than a speed bump in the inevitable collision course between the Cavs and Warriors, the two best teams will all but assuredly meet in the NBA Finals. Leonard was forced to leave the game at that point.
"The ball has to move, but I have to take a shot if it's there", Aldridge said Thursday. I think Stephen A. Smith of ESPN is on the verge of petitioning NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to just skip the remaining games of this round and just have a Best-of-11 NBA Finals series with the Cavaliers and Warriors. "As a man, as a basketball team, it will say a lot about us how we respond".
Aldridge was everything they needed in the clincher over Houston in the conference semifinals. To start the second half of Game 2, when Pachulia wasn't available, the Warriors went small and started Matt Barnes in his place, attacking San Antonio's two big starting lineup (LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol) with its quicker, more versatile wing depth.
Popovich said he's not sure if Leonard will be out the rest of the series. Can his lob-happy ways be a difference-maker in the same way they were during the first round against Portland?
Yes, Warriors in five...if the Spurs are lucky. The game begins at 6:00 p.m. "After being hogtied and embarrassed, expect a concerted effort from the Spurs tonight".
This is where things get interesting for San Antonio.