Good time for a breather

War­riors, Spurs will try to use break to rest and heal again

Cape Breton Post - - Sports - BY JANIE MCCAULEY

Still un­beaten, the Golden State War­riors have a few days to heal up again. Gregg Popovich’s time will be spent work­ing to get his San An­to­nio Spurs to wake up, be­fore it’s too late.

And de­ter­mine whether in­jured su­per­star Kawhi Leonard might be healthy enough to re­turn from an an­kle in­jury, too.

Sure, the War­riors just pulled off a 36-point thrash­ing of the Spurs two days af­ter squeak­ing out a 113-111 vic­tory in Game 1 of the West­ern Con­fer­ence fi­nals - their sec­ond-largest post-sea­son win be­hind a game from 1948 when the Philadel­phia War­riors won by 39 at St. Louis.

Dray­mond Green, for one, doesn’t be­lieve the War­riors will get any­thing easy when they ar­rive in San An­to­nio for Satur­day’s Game 3.

“They’re go­ing to play as hard as they can un­til it’s over. So, we know we’re not tak­ing their heart,” he said af­ter Tues­day’s 136-100 rout. “At the end, all we did was what we were sup­posed to do, we took care of home court. Now the real chal­lenge is go­ing on the road and try­ing to get some wins.”

Start­ing cen­tre Zaza Pachu­lia was sched­uled for an MRI exam Wed­nes­day on his bruised right heel af­ter an X-ray was neg­a­tive.

Key re­serve and 2015 NBA Fi­nals MVP An­dre Iguo­dala’s sta­tus was un­clear af­ter he missed Game 2 with sore­ness in his left knee.

“The sched­ule comes in and helps us out,” guard Shaun Liv­ingston said. “We miss him out there, but he’ll get healthy and in the mean­time it’s up to the rest of us to stay ready.” They cer­tainly did Tues­day. Stephen Curry, Kevin Du­rant and Golden State’s starters got plenty of rest in the fourth quar­ter on a night the bench de­liv­ered a sea­son-best 63 points.

Popovich was left per­plexed and down­right dis­gusted that his team got dom­i­nated in such em­bar­rass­ing fash­ion with­out Leonard, who re-in­jured his ten­der left an­kle in Game 1 af­ter step­ping on Pachu­lia’s foot.

“Tonight, it’s not what I ex­pected. I’m dis­ap­pointed,” Popovich said. “The only way I can process this is I think it’s not about O’s and X’s or re­bounds or turnovers or any­thing like that. I think we’ve maybe felt it too much, Kawhi be­ing gone, in the sense that I don’t think — as I watched - I don’t think they be­lieved.

“And you have to be­lieve. I don’t think as a group they re­ally did, which means prob­a­bly a lit­tle bit feel­ing sorry for them­selves psy­cho­log­i­cally, sub­con­sciously, what­ever psy­cho-bab­ble word you want to use.”

Popovich had no guess about Leonard’s sta­tus for Game 3, say­ing it would likely be de­cided as late as Fri­day or Satur­day.


Golden State War­riors’ Dray­mond Green (bot­tom) works for a re­bound against San An­to­nio Spurs’ Pau Ga­sol dur­ing Game 2 of the NBA West­ern Con­fer­ence fi­nals Tues­day in Oakland, Calif.

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