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Golden State/San Antonio Game 2 Preview

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There have been 5 big stories on this series and there’s only been 1 game. Kawhi Leonard will not play in game 2 of this series with an ankle injury but showed no structural damage in his MRI so there’s hope in Spurs town. Andre Iguodola is questionable for game 2 but probably more doubtful than anything.

The league was put on notice by Coach Pop about Zaza Pachulia’s close out on Leonard to cause his second injury in a limited amount of time. Don’t discredit the Warriors first win because of the timing of how they got it done, because they still got it done. It was a 21 point lead when Leonard went down and a 23 point lead after he made his free throws.

Of course losing Kawhi Leonard is a big deal. He is the Spurs best player bar none: best scorer, defender, he creates double teams to open up shooters. He is a one man wrecking crew for defenses. All that is fine and dandy, but when the ball was put in Aldridge’s court, he shyed away.

With his second half performance, it hurt the overall showing. Aldridge was a beast in the first half of game one. Too big for the little guys, too strong for the bigger guys but he proved he is not ready for the big stage.

The Warriors showed double teams in the second half but was in one on one coverage for majority of the game. The Spurs are 8-1 without Leonard and Popovich is the greatest coach in team sports history so will the Spurs be scared? Of course not. Will they come without a challenge? Of course not, but if LaMarcus Aldridge can’t put up 35 and 15 tonight and tie up the series then the Spurs have even less than chance than they had before.

You can make a case that Klay Thompson has also been an absent in the playoffs as well but not equivalent to Aldridge. They both make up for absences in closeout games but Golden State has 10 times more talent on their roster than the Spurs have had in NBA history. The shooting of the Warriors is matched by no team and their defensive ratings and efficient isn’t short lived. Even with his offensive flaws his defense crept in at the right time as he nabbed three steals and blocked two shots. Once his offense finds a flow the Warriors will be unbeatable, assuming Curry and Durant keep up their level of play.

Stephen Curry is making his mark in these playoffs, with his 40 point effort  showed that more than he is more than a staple, it was a statement. He has led his team in scoring in majority in these playoffs and doesn’t look to let up the pressure.

Jonathan Simmons will make the start for the injured Leonard. He needs to do more than just play defense for the game. Blazer Coach Terry Stotts said to beat the Warriors you have to score at least 110 points, Portland did that, and still got swept with Kevin Durant only playing in two of those games. If the Spurs want to win, Simmons has to help them steal one on the road with a terrific offensive game. Not okay or good; he has to be stellar because losing a talent of Kawhi it takes a roster to fill it.

This isn’t the Rockets and James Harden isn’t on this team. These guys are looking to jump on each and every mistake a team has, if they want a repeat of game 6 they have to come on perfect and not nearly perfect. They have to shoot over 60% and keep the Warriors under 30% from three. Simple as that.

Game 2 tonight @ 9 on ESPN

About Jhalil Matthews

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