"It was huge", Spurs veteran Manu Ginobili said of the absence of Leonard. Popovich said Monday that, "Obviously, he won't play tomorrow". With KD's ability to score from anywhere on the floor coupled with arguably the greatest three point shooter in National Basketball Association history, this Warriors team have the ability to score at a truly insane pace.
The injury not only cost the Spurs a ballplayer for however amount of time, it also nearly surely cost the Spurs a victory. Their 74 combined points were the most by any Warriors duo in a playoff game since Sleepy Floyd scored 51 (including a playoff-record 29 in the fourth quarter) and Joe Barry Carroll added 23 in a second-round win over the Lakers in 1987.
"I just did what I was supposed to do and challenged his shot". But Popovich was concerned only with the result not the intent.
"This is crap", Pop said of the inadvertent discussion. "Who gives a damn what [Pachulia's] intent was?" "You still go to jail for manslaughter". I could care less. "I wish he hadn't landed on my foot and, honestly, I had no idea he had landed on my foot until I turned around and saw he was on the ground". It's unsafe. It's unsportsmanlike like.
"This particular individual has a history with that kind of action". Instead of the narrative being about the Warriors' comeback, it is about whether Zaza Pachulia's play was a dirty one. But not until Green hit LeBron James in the same area was Green suspended.
Popovich then accused Pachulia of having a history of foul play.
Kawhi, for what it's worth, said he didn't think the play was dirty. You hate to see anybody get injured on a situation like that. I think it's brought us together.it's a test of character.
Team is as team does.
"Just very painful", Leonard said. It's quite another when you get on the wrong side of the Spurs. He generally raves about opponents, But Monday, Popovich was ranting. While he normally shoots through these slumps, he showed signs towards the end of Game 1 of becoming more hesitant. Leonard was taking a three-point shot from the wing, and after the shot, Pachulia took a second step forward right onto Leonard's ankle while looking away. Particularly against a stellar defensive team like the Spurs, a more balanced scoring attack will make Golden State that much tougher to defend. But after announcing that Leonard likely will be out for Game 2, apparently he felt like he needed to defend his guy. Leonard had helped San Antonio into a commanding 78-55 lead when he limped off with an ankle injury.
Golden State drew to within one twice, both courtesy of baskets by Shaun Livingston. I realize they somehow annihilated the Rockets without Leonard to close out on the road, but the Warriors are a different animal. Hard enough to envision the Spurs beating Golden State with Leonard. Back in 2006, when Bowen was being singled out for doing exactly what Pachulia did on Sunday, Popovich vehemently came to his defense and essentially told him to never change. According to SB Nation, Pachulia, then with the Dallas Mavericks, spent a considerable amount of time going for Leonard's shoulder during a game. He lost his best player for God knows how long, and he just watched his team lose a game that was in the bag.