The streets of downtown San Antonio were quiet this weekend. Hopeful Spurs fans thought the Spurs were sure to take the win against Golden State on their home court, but things didn’t go as planned. In fact, we have another player out with an injury. With three key players out now, the future of this round looks a little foggy for the spurs. Can LaMarcus Aldridge step up? The Warriors are now 3-0 against the Spurs. The only way for the Spurs to make it to the Finals is to win the next four games in a row.
With Kevin Durant and Steph Curry, the Warriors are almost impossible to beat – but let’s not forget, the Spurs started the regular season with a big win over the Warriors. While San Antonio played with a lot of spirit in Game 3, they lacked their star power. The Spurs played without Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard because of injuries. It’s hard for the remaining Spurs to match the energy they usually have with these two star players on the court. Unfortunately, the Spurs are down one more player due to an injury, but it’s also hard to believe that Leonard is really suffering from just an ankle sprain if he’s been resting for so long. Danny Green says the Spurs care about their players’ bodies and careers. They are just trying to protect their best asset.
Durant led the way with 33 points, including 19 in the third, on 11-of-19 shooting. Stephen Curry went for 21 on 8-of-15 shooting. Manu Ginobili was off the bench and led the team with 21 points. He is now the second player who is 39-years-old or older to have scored 20-plus points in a conference final, joining Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
With 2:57 remaining in the first quarter, Draymond Green kneed David Lee in the back of the leg on a drive. Lee couldn’t put any weight on his left leg. Joel Anthony had to take the free throw in Lee’s place. Lee was rolled out to the locker room in a wheelchair. Yesterday, Gregg Popovich said he is expected to miss Game 4 because of a knee injury. Lee is the third Spurs player who is out with an injury.
The Spurs were able to pull out a postseason high with 33 points in the first quarter and led by six points at some time in the first half. Coach Pop decided to put Kyle Anderson in the starting lineup and sit Pau Gasol. The shift to a small-ball look from the opening tip could be aimed at jumpstarting a Spurs offense that has looked dead without Parker. Joining Anderson was LaMarcus Aldridge, Jonathon Simmons, Danny Green on the wing, and Patty Mills at the point.
Golden State had 21 turnovers until the end of the third quarter, and that could’ve been why the Spurs were able to keep the game so close. If we look at these four factors, however, the Spurs played a better game. The Spurs also outscored Golden State in the paint (62-50), off turnovers (25-20), in fast break points (23-10), and second chance points (18-11). The Warriors basically just dominated in shooting – which is ultimately the most important factor.
In Game 1, Coach Pop called out Zaza Pachulia for executing a dirty play on Kawhi Leonard. Now, Steph Curry is calling Dewayne Dedmon’s screen in the fourth quarter dirty. Dedmon came up from behind and leaned into Curry, collapsing on his knee. Curry hit the floor, but there was no foul made, and Curry played with no injury.
Curry basically took a jab at Coach Pop with his statement. Curry told ESPN, “I know he’s not a dirty player. I’m not going to try to mess up his reputation, but I feel like that was a dirty play. Luckily no one was hurt.”
This is the first time the Warriors are listed as double-digit road chalk in the playoffs, as they attempt to win by double figures for the 10th time in 12 games. As bad as it is, no one expects the Spurs to beat the Warriors without Leonard. Unfortunately, the only way we can come back from a 3-0 deficit is if Kawhi Leonard steps out on the court.
Looking ahead to Game 4, we can at least appreciate how hard the Spurs have been competing. They’ve been putting up a fight that no one expected to see without the star players.
Tonight, the Spurs will return to their home court again at 8 p.m. The Spurs need all the support they can get. It’s not too late to get your tickets! Get your tickets to what could be the closing game of the Western Conference Finals here.