Miércoles, 17 Octubre, 2018

Warriors rally for 113-111 win after Spurs lose Leonard

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Montrelle Montesinos | 15 May, 2017, 20:03

The Golden State Warriors retained their undefeated playoff record after defeating the San Antonio Spurs 113-111 in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

The play that knocked Leonard out of the game with an injured left ankle and helped Golden State's huge rally in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals is one the National Basketball Association started cracking down on four seasons ago in an effort to protect jump shooters.

The Spurs dominated most of Sunday's game at the Warriors' Oracle Arena, jumping out to a 30-16 lead at the end of the first quarter, maintaining a 62-42 half-time advantage and extending the lead to 25 points in the third.

First, Leonard rolled the ankle after taking a misstep on his own teammate's foot as he stepped back toward the Spurs bench after making a baseline jumper.

Leonard scored 26 points on 7-of-13 shooting in 23 minutes to go with eight rebounds and three assists.

Ironically, with just half a second to go and the Warriors up 113-110 the Spurs' success relied on Mills missing a shot. He originally twisted in late in Game 5 of the last series, missed the closeout Game 6 in Houston and returned on Sunday afternoon looking more than fine. "Play a team like that, can't make the mistakes we made". Golden State, after just under a week's break from sweeping the Jazz, came out somewhat sluggish, struggling for rhythm and timing, and failing to execute on their usually crisp offence. It means a lot to this team, and we were doing really well. The Warriors immediately responded with an 18-0 run to get back into the game.

Steph Curry (right) scored 40 points and Kevin Durant added 34 in the Warriors' Game 1 over the Spurs on Saturday.

After that, the Warriors went on a truly glorious 18-0 run and brought the score within single-digits to close the quarter.

The Spurs were comfortably ahead until Kawhi Leonard was forced to exit the game when he hurt a previously bum left ankle.

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Stephen Curry started the rally in the third to get Golden State going, then Kevin Durant was determined to do his part in the fourth. The panic meter in the Alamo should be sky-high after their Game 1 loss.

Golden State still trailed 96-90 before Durant nailed a 3-pointer with 6:09 to go to trigger an 11-4 run that produced a 101-100 Warriors lead, their first since the fifth minute of the game.

"I don't know. I don't know", San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said when he was asked about Leonard's injury at his post-game news conference.

They also got a pep talk from head coach Steve Kerr, who has not been on the sidelines since the opening round of the playoffs while dealing with health problems related to his back surgery two years ago.

The impact of Leonard's departure was evident at both ends of the floor. Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge had a team-high 28 points, but just six came in the final period in which San Antonio shot 33.3% (seven of 21). The home team relaxes a little bit, feel good about themselves, and we are hurt. "Like I said, we've got guys, which is a good thing". San Antonio finished with 17 turnovers and Golden State had 19. Klay Thompson had a quiet shooting night - going just 2 of 11 - and Draymond Green was limited to just nine points. Curry hit a game-tying three with under two minutes left, and clinched the game with a floater in the closing seconds.