For the first half of Sunday’s Game 1, the Spurs shut down the Warriors more effectively than anyone has this year. Golden State didn’t manage more field goals than turnovers until nearly halfway through the second quarter. They didn’t make a single three-pointer until shortly after that. They were down by 20 at halftime, down by 25 early in the third.
Well into that third quarter, the Warriors looked not just beatable but almost beaten. And then Kawhi Leonard re-injured the sprained ankle that kept him from the last two games of San Antonio’s second-round series against Houston, and things quickly started going Golden State’s way. They followed Leonard’s departure with an 18-0 run, and they scored nearly as many in the third quarter as they had in the whole first half. (39 points versus 42.)
The Spurs managed to delay what seemed inevitable until the very end, allowing the Warriors to close in for most of the fourth quarter but not to tie the game until a Kevin Durant basket with four minutes remaining. San Antonio took the lead back once more, going up 104-103 on a LaMarcus Aldridge jumper with two minutes left and pushing that lead to three points with a pair of free throws. But then a Steph Curry three-pointer tied it, and the Warriors didn’t look back from there:
Curry finished the day with 40 points, while Durant added 34—their largest combined total yet as teammates. There’s no word yet on whether Leonard will be able to play in Tuesday’s Game 2, but things certainly don’t look good for San Antonio if he can’t.