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These Game 1 Plays Will Define The Warriors-Spurs Series

The big question: Did Zaza Pachulia intentionally hurt Kawhi Leonard?
by John Paulo Aguilera | May 15, 2017
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The Western Conference Finals of the 2017 NBA Playoffs have already commenced, with the Golden State Warriors scoring a historic upset over the San Antonio Spurs, 113-111.

To think that the Spurs led by as much as 25 points, behind Kawhi Leonard's 18-point first half, one can say the Dubs have really pulled off quite a miracle in Game 1 of their crucial homestand.

What made the storybook ending more interesting, though, are the several breaks of the game, which may also have a lingering effect on the series. Whether these circumstances will spoil the outcome for the clash of titans out West, we have the next meetings to see.

Oh no he didn't

The man just sat out Game 6 of their conference semifinal matchup against the Houston Rockets, and here he was, re-injuring his ankle after landing on Zaza Pachulia's wayward foot. Leonard already had 26 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists before going down during the 7:54 mark of the third quarter—with San Antonio in the lead, 76-55—and leaving the game for good.

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We all know what happened next: Golden State went on a 18-0 run, en route to the first loss of the Spurs in 317 games when leading by 25 points under coach Gregg Popovich. But a broken record was the last thing on the mind of spectators, who accused Pachulia of intentionally hurting the superstar wingman.

When asked about the play, Leonard had this to say: "Did he step under it? Like, on purpose? No. He was contesting the shot. The shot clock was coming down. I'll have to see the play."

But what do you think?

LaMarcus All-Star

The blow of Leonard's injury may have been less crushing for San Antonio due to their other star, LaMarcus Aldridge, looking like the coveted free agent in 2015 that he was. The five-time All-Star asserted himself against a relatively thin Golden State frontcourt, and put up a solid 28 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals.

If their superstar wingman indeed misses more time than expected, Aldridge will have to pick up the slack and get his team fired up with more plays like the one above, in hopes of holding the fort until The Klaw returns.


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Good look?

While many found Golden State's synchronized complaining funny, the comical sequence could actually prove to be a scary sight for opposing squads.

Think about it: the Warriors are in sync with one another when it comes to petty things like arguing with the referees; imagine that kind of harmony translating to their already unstoppable game on the court. Where do you think those 39 points in the third quarter and 32 in the fourth came from?

He makes it Steph-ortless

The Splash Brothers were expected to dominate the Spurs backcourt of Danny Green (8 points) and Patty Mills (5) in this series. Turns out, back-to-back Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry doesn't need a big night from Klay Thompson, who could only muster a forgettable 6 markers.

Curry was firing from all cylinders, finishing with a game-high 40 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals—a performance that was typified by his third quarter explosion. Kevin Durant had himself a ball game (34 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 blocks), but Chef was on another level tonight. A friendly competition on who's "da real MVP" between him and KD is a bad sign for other teams.

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