The Spurs are down 0-2 to the Warriors in their first-round playoff series, and Kawhi Leonard is not with the team. The reasons for that are still somehow impossibly murky—Leonard has been dealing with an injured quad muscle all year; he may or may not have been healthy enough to play for some time now; he may or may not just be taking a few months off for no good reason; his teammates may or may not hate his guts as a result. It seems like the Spurs are just as much in the dark as the rest of us are.
Before Game 1, Popovich was asked if Leonard would be available to play at all during the series. His salty answer was basically, “Don’t ask me, ask him.”
Leonard didn’t come up during last night’s press conference after Game 2, but his shadow looms over almost everything that comes out of Popovich’s mouth. Take, for example, his full-throated praise of LaMarcus Aldridge:
Those are very nice things to say about Aldridge, but it’s not hard to hear those words in such a way that makes them sound like a direct shot a Leonard.
“He’s led our team at both ends of the floor.” Hmmmmm.
“He doesn’t complain about a darn thing out on the court, he just plays through everything.” Hmmmmmmmmmm.
“I can’t imagine being more proud of a player, as far as playing through adversity and being there for his teammates, night after night after night.” Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
After the Spurs get swept in Game 4, Popovich might just come to the postgame presser “Fuck Kawhi” written on his shirt.