Kawhi Leonard won’t play Game 2 vs. Warriors
The Spurs’ talisman was having a sparkling game prior to sprained his ankle twice in the third quarter of Sunday’s Game 1. First upon stepping back after a corner three-point make and the next after a close-out jump shot contest from a long two-point jumper near the same spot, as Warriors center Zaza Pachulia undercut him.
Leonard was allowed in after a short medical check after the first injury, but was declared out for the game almost immediately after the second instance — moment which deflated the Spurs at both ends of the floor, surrendering an 16-0 third-quarter run to the Warriors.
The Klaw had 26 points by the 7:54 mark of the third period, exiting the game after draining both free-throws in a bum left ankle.
His replacement, Jonathon Simmons had a decent night with 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting, but wasn’t nearly as impactful as Leonard’s 11-of-11 from the stripe that gave the Spurs such a commanding lead in the first half of the game.
The Warriors dodged the biggest bullet fired at them this postseason and emerged victorious in what seemed like the point of no return.
The Spurs will have to dig yet another Leonard-less performance ala Game 6 vs. the Houston Rockets in order to avoid going down an 0-2 hole to last year’s Western Conference champions.