Game 3 is Saturday in San Antonio.
The Golden State Warriors have continued their ideal run through the playoffs to get within two victories of their third straight NBA Finals appearance.
After Golden States game one victory over the Spurs Sunday afternoon, forward Kawhi Leonard was scheduled for an MRI on Monday. He has experienced a special two-year stretch deep into his successful National Basketball Association career, finding an important role with the Warriors' second unit that strives to take the pressure off while maintaining the high level of the starters. The NBA ruled Pachulia won't face any discipline and that the play will stand as called. They've been outscored by 61 points since Leonard went down in the third quarter of Game 1. The Spurs should have no business competing with Golden State but, because of Kawhi, they did.
Kevin Durant added 16 points for the Warriors, who had assists on 30 of their first 38 baskets while building a huge lead. Seeing its effects in Game 2 have probably refreshed in their heads the easiest way to, in Curry's words, "to avoid getting into bad habits and keep our feet on the gas pedal". But there's no way even Most Valuable Coach of Forever candidate Greg Popovich can pull off a seven game series against the Warriors without a fully healthy Leonard, and most likely not even then.
With teams preparing for another round of match-up games, the public is also quite excited to tune in for more updates from both the Western and Eastern Conference Finals. McCaw opened the game 4-4 for 11 points through three quarters. "That was disappointing. When you're playing a team that's as good as Golden State, you're going to get embarrassed if that's the way you come out, and we did, so I think that's the deal, more than anything". He had 22 points on 8-for-17 shooting, filling in the void left by Leonard. The look on LaMarcus Aldridge's face late in Game 2 tells the story of the series so far.
"And that was the message to the team afterward, too, going into Game 3".
But as we saw with LeBron in the last two NBA Finals, one superstar gone Super Saiyan can be enough to combat three superstars. They still had the two-time MVP Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson to sweep the Trail Blazers.
"It's tough, but it's a long series", guard Patty Mills said.
"The thing that worries me is that he did it again, the exact same thing", Popovich said. What a luxury for the Warriors. The Warriors played without SF Andre Iguodala (sore left knee), then lost C Zaza Pachulia to a heel injury in the first quarter. The rookie hasn't been a part of the rotation in the playoffs, but he stepped in and the Warriors didn't skip a beat. That would be the same margin at the end of the third quarter, which came to a close with the Warriors leading 106-75. Oklahoma City went on to lose in five games to Miami in the NBA Finals.
LaMarcus Aldridge continues to shrink in the lights.
Aldridge finished with 28 points, eight rebounds, and three steals for the Spurs (0-1). He only grabbed four rebounds when that's an area of the game that he should be absolutely dominating.
San Antonio isn't ready to let this best-of-seven series get away as it shifts home. It's not a must-win Game 3, but their season is on the line Saturday night at the AT&T Center.
The meat of Popovich's argument was that Pachulia's closeout on Kawhi Leonard was "dangerous" and "unsportsmanlike". So I start scooting forward. He piled on another 7 during garbage time, and even started dishing out his share of assists (5 total) once the Spurs' defense started keying in on him.