The San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors meet Sunday in game one of the NBA Western Conference Finals at the Oracle Arena on ABC.
Golden State entertains San Antonio in Sunday's best-of-seven Western Conference final opener while the LeBron James-led Cavaliers await Monday's game-seven victor between Boston and Washington in an Eastern Conference final that begins Wednesday in Cleveland.
Leonard first went down after stepping on a teammate's foot along the bench after taking a shot. Leonard has been the primary scoring punch for San Antonio through the first two rounds of the playoffs, averaging a team-best 27.8 points on 52.4 percent shooting from the field and 47.1 percent from beyond the arc along with 7.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.7 steals in 11 games played. Ginobili responded with dunk, and Patty Mills stole the inbounds pass and hit two free throws to get the Spurs back within one with 0:32 left.
The Spurs head into the West finals with plenty of momentum themselves after dismantling the Houston Rockets by 39 points (114-75) on the road Thursday night, clinching the conference semifinal series in six games. "But for anything to happen, we've got to play our best". Mills is a pest on defense, and reminds me of a more skilled version of Matthew Dellevadova (and I hate to say it), defensively and offensively. Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge combined for 35 points in the first half, seven points less than the entire Warriors' score. Leonard was close behind with 26 points and eight rebounds.
The Spurs tried to hold down the fort for as long as they could, but the Warriors with all their weapons proved too much to handle.
Popovich is known for his dry one-liners, but the injury-stricken Spurs may need divine intervention to topple the red-hot Warriors. Ryan Anderson, who came into the game averaging 16 PPG in the series, came up with just 2 points.
"He's gone through hell", Popovich said pregame. "I don't know. I have to see the play". But it's been very hard for him. They will be missing star point guard Tony Parker, who is missing the remainder of the playoffs due to a ruptured quadriceps tendon. And the coach acknowledged that-like many of us-it has been hard to tune out the White House's odd behavior and just focus on his daily tasks. Led by Curry, the Warriors immediately went on an 18-0 run in Leonard's absence to put themselves back in the game. Can Pau Gasol even stay on the floor? It was Golden State's first lead since 8-7 in the first quarter.
Golden State (67-15) and San Antonio (61-21) finished the regular season with the best records in the National Basketball Association. Andre Iguodala was limited by a sore left knee.