Going into the Western Conference Finals, the San Antonio Spurs had basically no chance of winning this series against the Golden State Warriors. Las Vegas odds, NBA experts, everyone was saying the Warriors were going to run away with the series in a gentlemen’s 4-1 sweep.
Then the two teams got on the floor and it was a whole different story.
The Spurs actually had a commanding lead in the first half and San Antonio went up by 25 at one point, deflating the Oracle Arena crowd, who were expecting something different.
Then one Zaza Pachulia dirty play on Kawhi Leonard turned the whole game around.
As you can see, Pachulia took an extra step that happened to re-injure Leonard’s ankle when he came down on the shot. It was the same ankle that was sore and made him miss Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals. He went to the locker room right away and did not return.
In defense of Zaza, Kawhi rolled his ankle previous to the play, so he was vulnerable.
Meanwhile, that’s when Steph Curry and Kevin Durant started lighting it up, enough that they crawled back from a major deficit and managed to take the lead late in the fourth quarter.
The two finished with 40 points and 34 points, respectively, while the other Splash Brother Klay Thompson only had 6 points for the game. Draymond Green was held to single digits as well, only scoring 9 points. No other Warriors player was in the double digits in scoring besides Pachulia.
After three quarters and before the injury, Leonard had 26 points on the game. LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs in scoring with 28 points, but he played very poorly down the stretch. He had turnovers, missed shots and couldn’t carry the Spurs on his back and close out the game. Manu Ginobli tried to will the team to victory but his 17 points off the bench were not enough to compete with the Warriors firepower.
— RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) May 14, 2017
Leonard doesn’t blame Zaza for his injury
FINAL: GS 113 | SAS 111