Draymond Green not happy with Kawhi Leonard injury: ‘You want to beat a team full strength’
After collecting 26 points in the game, Leonard was declared out of the game after suffering two rolls of his left ankle in the same period, ultimately exiting the court at the 7:52 mark.
The Warriors capitalized with a 16-0 run and eventually managed to lead by as many as five points in the latter stages of the game.
Asked if he believes his team would be trailing 1-0 in the series if Leonard was playing, Green gave the political answer, but wouldn’t let his competitive fire keep him from wanting to have him back on the court.
“It’s impossible to say we would be, it’s impossible to say if we would’ve won,” Green told ESPN’s Steve Levy and Michael Wilbon post-game. “I think when Kawhi goes down, I’d be an idiot to say he doesn’t make a difference, he’s one of the biggest difference-makers in the NBA.”
“It’s great to pull out the win, obviously you have to play against whoever is out there [on the floor] and you definitely wanna see him get back out there. You wanna beat a team at full strength.”
Leonard is the best two-way player in the league and the effects of his absence were felt at both sides of the floor, as San Antonio struggled to maintain its usual composure and let the game get much closer than expected as Golden State started to heat up from three.
The Warriors rallied behind the hot-shooting of Stephen Curry (40 points) and Kevin Durant (34 points) to pull off an unlikely Game 1 win at home after being down by as many as 25 points in the first half.
The Spurs will need huge performances from their bench now that Leonard has been declared out for Tuesday’s Game 2, which likely means a whole lot of extended minutes for Jonathon Simmons, who is likely to get the nod for the small forward gig in his absence.