Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, the Warriors big comeback run came just as Kawhi Leonard left the game after rolling his already injured ankle twice more in this game. There will be plenty of takes about that and we’ll let people have them. But we here at GSoM wish him the best and hope to see him in the next game.
With 26 points and eight rebounds in just 23 minutes, Leonard showed why he is a force to be reckoned with and we recognize that you can’t be the best unless you are beating the best. So get well soon, Kawhi.
Now on to some happier news, the stars of this game were undoubtedly Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. Curry boasted a stat-line of 40 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals, with Durant putting up 34 points, five rebounds, four assists, a steal and four blocks.
Though he had a poor showing on offense, Klay Thompson was a difference maker on defense, with four rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
Also worth noting:
Andre Iguodala was limited today (L knee soreness), so #Warriors acting coach Mike Brown kept him out after halftime.— Monte Poole (@MontePooleNBCS) May 14, 2017
This was really a tale of two games, and for me, car struggles that seemed to match what I was watching on the screen. As the game started, my brother Will began to replace my brakes. This will tie in, give me time.
Despite a strong run to start the first, the Warriors quickly gave up a lead they wouldn’t regain until the closing moments of the game. They weren’t handling the ball well and the Spurs were taking full advantage of that, forcing turnovers and scoring points off of them. They would then turn around and employ stifling defense. It didn’t help that the Warriors were not shooting well, including at the line where they shot 4-of-7 on the quarter.
The second quarter didn’t get any less frustrating, with the Spurs showcasing every weakness the Warriors have and punishing them in the paint, at the rim, it was just ugly. Ugly, ugly basketball.
Every time they would cut into the lead, the Spurs would get that lead back up to 20. Every time my brother thought we were almost done with the brakes, he’d find out that something else was wrong. Warriors get within 15; we found out we needed a new caliper for the front driver side; Warriors down by 20 again. Wash, rinse and repeat. It was enough to make me want to day-drink at 2pm on Mother’s Day.
Then the third quarter magic happened, as it does around here. Curry and Zaza Pachulia were the only players to score in the first five minutes, with Curry shooting four from downtown, three of those in a row. But they were still, frustratingly, down by 20. This was right around the time that Leonard left the game. Here’s what happened; you can come to your own conclusions if you haven’t already:
Follow Zaza's eyes. He did it on purpose? pic.twitter.com/bT4GsbndmE— James To Tha Hizzo (@SnottieDrippen) May 14, 2017
And don’t forget, this was not the first time Leonard rolled his ankle in this game. It’s terrible, and we hope he gets back soon, but I think it’s a huge stretch to imply that Pachulia had any ill-intentions here.
After that, the Warriors went on a truly glorious 18-0 run and brought the score within single-digits to close the quarter.
Ian Clark started the fourth with a beautiful 3-pointer, but after that it was the Kevin Durant show. Durant went for a splash, dunk, splash, jump-shot combo that put the Warriors within three points about half-way through the quarter. This was followed quickly by a pair of Shaun Livingston layups and a running layup from Durant to give the Warriors their first lead since the opening minutes of the game.
It was tug-of-war for the lead after that, with plenty of fouls, as each team tried to scratch and claw for the win. Curry scored on an unbelievable layup that had absolutely no business going in, but San Antonio still had a shot in the closing seconds as LaMarcus Aldridge shot a three that missed, but Patty Mills ended up with two free-throw shots with less than a second on the clock. He made the first one, missed the second on purpose to get a rebound play, but the clock ran out and the Warriors just barely inched away with the win.