April 25, 2018

Kevin Durant, defending champ Warriors get defensive, beat Spurs in National Basketball Association playoff

15 April 2018, 05:57 | Sandy Nunez

Kawhi Leonard has officially been ruled out for the Spurs’ first playoff game against the Warriors on Saturday. More

Kawhi Leonard has officially been ruled out for the Spurs’ first playoff game against the Warriors on Saturday. More

It would appear to be an easy decision if the Spurs had to move on from members of their medical staff, or Tony Parker, who publically took shots at his injured teammate, but the real question is would they choose Leonard over the iconic Popovich. That was GSW' s third loss to Utah this season. They are not the same team.

The Warriors only won seven of their last 17 games in the regular season.

Curry has been out of the starting lineup since March 24 with a sprained MCL in his left knee, while Green, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson have all sat stretches with their respective ailments and injuries. Now that the playoffs are here, it seems very unlikely that San Antonio has much of a chance against them without Kawhi being involved.

Apparently, Kevin Durant and the Warriors dominate performance was just too much for Popovich on this night. Thompson needed only 13 shots to score a game-high 27 points. "You have to be able to count on that foundation, and I thought our defense was great, and that set the tone". "We cared", said the former MVPas quoted by Mark Medina of the Mercury News. "So we'll fight as hard as we can in Game 2".

"You know they were one of the top five defensive teams in the league".

Aldridge said the extra attention applied by Golden State's defense caused him to "overthink" things.

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Nothing worked for the Spurs and there's no reason to believe that anything will start working in Game 2 or beyond. Just wanted to put our best defensive lineup on the floor from the beginning.

"I don't know when he and his group are going to feel like they are ready to go", Popovich said. I'm confident that we'll be ready to play, and I'm excited to play. I think the whole point of these games early in the series is to establish our defense. Of course, this comes on the heels of averaging 69 wins per season over the past three years. We know how good we are. And unlike past year, the Warriors did not need to overcome a 25-point deficit in Game 1 following Leonard's injury. But, they also need to plug the Curry-shaped hole in the starting lineup.

The absence of each team's arguably best offensive weapon for likely the entire series applies additional pressure onto other players. Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said they have to be "desperate" in order to tie the series at one game apiece returning to San Antonio. And there's no problem with that. With Leonard a year ago, the Spurs were well on their way to defeating a fully armed Warriors team (up 78-55), after his injury in the third quarter, they could not shine the shoes of the Warriors.

The Golden State team that finished 7-10 to end the season did not show up on Saturday, which is bad news for a San Antonio team missing its best player.

Over the past half-year, as it eyed playing into June for the fourth season in a row, Golden State wrestled with complacency as it waited for games to matter.

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