Published: Sun, May 14, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Kawhi Leonard Will Play in Game 1 vs. Warriors Despite Ankle Injury


The Houston Rockets got eliminated from the playoffs by the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night by a score of 114-75.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich announced before the game that Leonard would not play.

Aldridge, who's been a lightning rod for Spurs fans when he's looked passive too many times in big games, was dominant against the Rockets at the Toyota Center, finishing with 34 points on 16-26 shooting and 12 rebounds in 35 minutes. The Warriors are the two-time defending Western Conference champions.

Perhaps Houston simply couldn't recover from failing to close out Game 5, but that only partially explains such a lifeless performance from a 55-win team with its season on the line.

While San Antonio fought through six games with the Rockets, the Warriors have been off since wrapping up a sweep of the Utah Jazz on Monday. "They played well at the offensive ends with a lot of sets, and at the defensive end it was one of our best nights as far as scrambling around trying to keep up with these guys". Patty Mills had 14 points and seven assists, and Pau Gasol added 10 points and 11 rebounds.

"All great players think they can do everything", D'Antoni told reporters. The offense will get better. "Literally comatose. I don't know who the hell that was playing for the Houston Rockets, but it wasn't the James Harden that I've been watching all year".

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Harden is coming off a regular season in which he led the National Basketball Association in assists per game at 11.2 and finished second in the league in scoring at 29.1 points per game.

"They feel as bad as I do". I can save his legs a little bit and have more confidence [in other ball handlers]. We've been really good at bouncing back.it hurts. "Hat's off to them". He did not attempt a shot until the 6:19 mark of the second quarter. San Antonio held a 61-42 half-time advantage as Harden had just five points to go with five turnovers and three fouls. The Spurs have thrived in countless situations, but this effort, given the circumstances, resonated.

"I just came here ready to play", he said.

"The guy who is hardest on James is James", Morey said.

San Antonio won the second-round series in six games and punched their ticket to the Western Conference playoff finals against the Golden State Warriors, which kicks off on Sunday. The 4-2 series win sends them to conference finals against the Golden State Warriors. He's scoring 1.68 points per spot-up possession in the playoffs off his no-dribble jumper and the Spurs have been just average at stopping that shot in the postseason (1.07 points per possession allowed, 10th among playoff teams). Houston fell to 7-5 when facing elimination since G James Harden joined the franchise in 2012-13.

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