We wanted more competition to start the series but no one expected an epic comeback like this for the Warriors. Defensive guru Kawhi Leonard returned back to the lineup after injuring his left ankle in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals against the Houston Rockets.
Today he suffered the same injury late in the third quarter after making a 3-point shot. After a dominating performance that left Golden State trailing by 25 points in the second quarter, the Warriors inched their way back in the second half.
“It was actually a perfect Game 1,” Draymen Green said. “You get punched in the mouth , but yet you can still get the win.”
Leonard’s exit gave them life. His 26 points and amazing defense was a challenge for Golden State. But that changed after he landed on Zaza Pachulia’s foot after shooting a corner 3. The Warriors went 21 of 36 shots from the field including six 3-pointers led by Stephen Curry who finished with a game-high 40 points.
Golden State outscored the Spurs 17-4 off turnovers and 20-2 on the fast break. It was the largest come back-from-behind win in the conference finals in 15 years. The Warriors epic 113-111 victory was everything the fans wanted to see. The first two rounds lacked effort from their opponent giving the team a 8-0 record heading into today’s matchup.
Nonetheless, Golden State still maintains their undefeated record in the playoffs at 9-0. Leonard is expected to undergo a MRI Monday and the status for Tuesday game remains unclear. As for the Warriors who took advantage after Leonard’s exit, went on a 18-0 run. Without their top defensive player, San Antonio has a lot to worry about come Game 2 on Tuesday.
“We had it where we wanted it, but unfortunately it slipped away,” said Pau Gasol. “Now we’ve got to think about Game 2. It was hard to see Kawhi go out.”