Holy shit, Golden State really just did that. San Antonio was cruising in the third quarter, up 23 points and looking to take an early lead in the conference finals.
And then Kawhi Leonard was taken out by Zaza Pachulia, and the entire tenor of the game changed.
There's no convincing me Zaza Pachulia wasn't trying to injure Kawhi Leonard. Dirty play. pic.twitter.com/O2vn3SSfKd
— Dan Molloy (@DanMolloyTV) May 14, 2017
The Warriors cut the deficit to 9 at the end of the third quarter, and slowly chipped away in the fourth, taking the lead for the first time here:
But the key possession came later, with the Warriors trailing by 3. Through a series of backtaps and offensive rebounds, the Warriors managed three attempts from deep on one possession:
You can’t let Golden State have a possession where Steph Curry and Kevin Durant combine for three 3-pt attempts. That’s death.
After a Draymond Green and-1, Golden State extended the lead further with this nifty give-and-go sequence:
But the Spurs being the Spurs, they refused to go away, and after a few buckets and a steal, Patty Mills went to the line with San Antonio down three and just .5 seconds on the clock. That meant the Spurs had to try to execute the intentional missed free throw play, and, well:
That’s a massive comeback win for the Warriors, and an unfortunate loss for the Spurs. The entire game changed once Kawhi Leonard was knocked out with an ankle injury, and it’s hard to imagine the Spurs winning four of six now if he’s going to miss any more time. Which is truly unfortunate; at full strength, this was potentially the tastiest matchup of the entire NBA postseason.
As Gregg Popovich agreed with, the Spurs definitely fell apart after the Kawhi injury:
Gregg freakin Popovich. 🤣 pic.twitter.com/Dt8sfX1Oel
— Sports Funhouse (@SportsFunhouse) May 14, 2017
Still, we did at least get one classic game from this series. It’d just be a shame if that’s the only one.