2017 NBA Playoffs: Warriors rally to take game one but only after Kawhi injury

Here’s what happened on day 27 of the 2017 NBA Playoffs:

GSW 113 – SAS 111, GSW leads series 1-0

The San Antonio Spurs were inflicting a drubbing on the Golden State Warriors, reminiscent of their opening day match, a game the Spurs won 129-100, way back in October.

But then a foot changed the complexion of the game, if not the entire series.

The Spurs pounced on the Warriors right from opening tip. Save for a few seconds when Golden State had a 6-5 lead, it was all San Antonio, as they were up 30-16 after the first period, a lead they increased to a high of 25, 44-19, 7:52 left in the first half.

A mini-Stephen Curry flurry got the Warriors within 14, 46-32, but the Spurs pushed their advantage back up to 20 at the break, 62-42.

Leonard actually hurt his ankle even prior to the Zaza Pachulia incident, rolling it on one of his teammates’ foot, which led him to exit at the 9:19 mark of the third. He came back shortly after though, at 8:44, but then left anew at 7:53.

Without a heavy dose of truth serum, it’s impossible to know for certain whether or not Pachulia deliberately tried to injure Leonard. Pachulia after the game denied such accusations, while Leonard said later that he himself didn’t think it was intentional. What we do know though is that the injury vastly changed the tenor of this contest.

Golden State went on an 18-0 run after Leonard exited, pulling to within five, 78-73, before LaMarcus Aldridge snapped the Spurs’ dry spell. The Spurs hung on to a 90-81 lead heading into the fourth canto, but the Warriors were not to be denied. A layup by Kevin Durant gave them their first lead since the first quarter, 101-100. San Antonio briefly led anew by three, 106-103, but Curry canned a pull-up triple, Draymond Green got a bucket and the foul, and then Curry zoomed in for a layup, putting the home team ahead, 111-106, 38.9 seconds left.

Still, there was still some drama to be seen. Off a timeout, Manu Ginobili turned back the clock with a fierce dunk. San Antonio doubled off the inbounds, and forced a turnover on Klay Thompson, which led to Patty Mills charities, 111-110. Curry nailed a floater to make it a three-point affair, but another foul by Thompson sent Mills back to the free throw line. He hit the first, then intentionally missed the second, but Durant was there to spike the ball out of bounds as time expired, securing the victory.

Stephen Curry went bonkers in this game, dropping 40 big points on 14-of-26 shooting, 7-of-16 on three’s. Kevin Durant added 34 on 21 shots, while Zaza Pachulia just missed a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds.

The Warriors’ rotation was also thrown off-kilter due to what was later announced to be knee soreness for Andre Iguodala. He only played 10 first-half minutes.

Kawhi Leonard posted 26 points on a 7-of-13 shooting clip, plus a perfect 11-of-11 stint at the foul line. He also had eight rebounds, three assists, and a steal.

LaMarcus Aldridge poured in 28 points, while Manu Ginobili scored 17 off the bench.

Photo by Getty Images

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