‘We’ll fig­ure it out’

Spurs pre­pare for Game 2 ver­sus War­riors with no Leonard, Parker

Cape Breton Post - - Sports - BY JOSH DUBOW

If all hope seems lost for the San An­to­nio Spurs head­ing into Game 2 of the West­ern Con­fer­ence fi­nals with­out in­jured stars Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker, they only need to look back a few days to see what’s pos­si­ble.

But even the Spurs know that beat­ing Hous­ton on the road in a se­ries clincher with­out those two stars is a far dif­fer­ent task than the one they face tonight against the Golden State War­riors with Leonard and Parker on the side­line.

“I un­der­stand the War­riors are a very tal­ented team, so we’re go­ing to have to be re­ally sharp to­mor­row,” for­ward Pau Ga­sol said. “We’ve got to limit our mis­takes be­cause those guys re­ally make you pay. They have so many weapons that the game could swing in a heart­beat, as we ex­pe­ri­enced.”

Leonard’s in­jury when he landed on Zaza Pachu­lia’s foot and turned his al­ready ten­der left an­kle se­verely al­tered Game 1 and pos­si­bly the en­tire se­ries. Golden State ral­lied from 23 points down af­ter Leonard left to win 113-111 Sun­day as the Spurs strug­gled on both ends of the court with­out one of the game’s best two-way play­ers.

Leonard had an MRI on Mon­day and will not play in Game 2, leav­ing the Spurs an­gry at what they con­sid­ered a dirty play by Pachu­lia and frus­trated by their predica­ment.

“Yes­ter­day in it­self was a roller coaster, a lot of dif­fer­ent emo­tional things go­ing on,” guard Danny Green said. “The play­offs for us have been rough. No one will feel bad for us. We have to con­tinue to go out there and play. There’s no Tony, no Kawhi as of right now. I felt like we’ve been to hell and back in just three hours. We’ll fig­ure it out.”

The War­riors are ex­pect­ing just that af­ter watch­ing role player Jonathan Sim­mons fill in with 18 points and stel­lar de­fence in the 114-75 win at Hous­ton last Thurs­day and know­ing how pre­pared and pro­fes­sional Gregg Popovich coached teams usu­ally are.

“We have no in­ten­tion of let­ting our guard down,” said War­riors big man David West, who played for the Spurs last sea­son. “We know that they’re very ca­pa­ble and that sys­tem is as strong as it’s been. There

is no de­vi­a­tion in terms of our at­tack and our game plan. We’ll go out and try to pro­tect our home court.”

Golden State dom­i­nated Game 1 af­ter Leonard went down, outscor­ing the Spurs 58-33 to earn the come­back win. San An­to­nio shot just 37 per cent af­ter the in­jury, with twice as many turnovers as as­sists. The War­riors, who strug­gled to score in the first half, shot 58 per cent af­ter Leonard left.

But with time to pre­pare a new game plan with­out Leonard, the War­riors are ex­pect­ing a dif­fer­ent type of chal­lenge in Game 2.

“It makes them less pre­dictable,” Golden State for­ward Dray­mond Green said.

San An­to­nio Spurs for­ward Kawhi Leonard (cen­tre) shoots in front of Golden State War­riors for­ward Matt Barnes (left) and for­ward David West dur­ing Game 1 of the NBA West­ern Con­fer­ence fi­nals in Oak­land, Calif. on Sun­day. "1 1)050

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