Spurs' Leonard will not play Game 3 against Warriors

Ross Houston
May 21, 2017

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard was listed as "questionable" on the team sheet a day before Saturday's Western Conference finals Game 3 against the Golden State Warriors. What I started to learn as I've gotten older, there are many people that claim their team but never truly go to games. If the Spurs want to get back in the series they'll need Aldridge to play like he's capable of, especially if they're without Leonard in Game 3. "Luckily we had Kawhi who was going through the roof".

Leonard has been sidelined since reinjuring his left ankle when he came down on Zaza Pachulia's foot in game one of the National Basketball Association playoff series.

With Golden State up 2-0, the Spurs will have no margin of error when they host the Warriors in Game 3 on Saturday. Though he's averaging 17 points per game, his rebounds, steals, assists and blocks are all down this series. San Antonio was leading 78-55 when Leonard exited, but Golden State went on a 16-0 run and has not looked back since the series-altering injury. Give me John Starks going out with a screaming 2-for-18 game over Harden's disinterested 2-for-11 performance.

Popovich confirmed that assertion Saturday when asked if Leonard's long-term health came into play when he made the final call.

Warriors star Kevin Durant believes his small forward counterpart would play through the injury and take the court for Saturday's decisive Game 3.

So if the Spurs manage to get emotionally in check, and manage to make more baskets than they did in game 2, what needs to happen on defense? Since the Kawhi injury, the margins of victory in the three Conference Finals games are such; GSW +36, CLE +13, and CLE +44.

"They've been throwing different things at us, throwing different things at LaMarcus", guard Danny Green said. On the other end of the floor, the Spurs struggled to limit the Warriors' offense, allowing 1.19 expected points per shooting play.

Addressing the media, both Leonard and San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich sounded uncertain about the player's return for Game 3. They defeated Memphis in six games in the first round, and then defeated Houston in six games in the conference semifinals.

Popovich is as realistic as anyone you'll ever meet, and his quotes following Game 2 spoke volumes: He realized very quickly his team - outside of Jonathon Simmons - wasn't ready to compete in the brutal atmosphere of Oracle Arena that night.

Can Warriors handle Spurs' Aldridge again? And finally, the East has begun as well with the Cavaliers handling the Celtics in Game 1.

Back in San Antonio, a fuming fanbase has locked in on Pachulia as the reason for their team's demise, fueled by Gregg Popovich's rant that even if Pachulia didn't do it on goal, it was reckless.

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