Our NBA2K sims of the NBA postseason have been pretty astute thus far. Cleveland is cruising through the Eastern Conference Finals on console and on the court, while Golden State has also broken out to a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals.
We were pretty confident we could keep that streak going considering the current state of the postseason. But with Kawhi Leonard was ruled out of Game 3, we decided to simulate this game with Leonard playing anyway to see if it would give San Antonio an extra edge. Would Leonard be enough to put the Spurs over the top?
Only one way to find out. You can watch it in full over on our Facebook page, but here’s the box score and a bit of a recap if you need that immediate gratification.
It was close, but Golden State finally lost a playoff game this season. The Spurs went deep into the bench to outscore Golden State’s reserves 30-5 in this one, which would make it a 2-1 Warriors series lead and set up a pivotal Game 4 at home for the Spurs.
Pau Gasol led the way scoring for San Antonio with 26 points and five rebounds, while LaMarcus Aldridge had a huge game on the glass. That’s 13 big rebounds to go with 19 points, which definitely made a difference for the home side. Leonard, for his part, played just 23 minutes and had 15 points, five rebounds and two assists. He shot just 5-for-12 from the field, so maybe the digital version of the MVP candidate wasn’t feeling 100 percent either.
Digital Stephen Curry had another great game for Golden State, netting 36 points in the loss. He had eight assists and five boards as well. Kevin Durant had 22 points, eight rebounds and four assists in the loss, while Klay Thompson had a bit better of a Game 3 than his Game 2, adding 14 points. Zaza Pachulia, who took Leonard out in real life, had 12 points and 12 rebounds in this one.
Looks pretty even as far as game stats go. The teams were even on rebounds and the 7-point Spurs win simply came from a few more made shots here and there. San Antonio’s lead hovered around 10 for much of the fourth quarter. In fact, it was 103-93 with a minute to play in this one.
While the real life Spurs won’t be as healthy as the ones from our simulation, your game MVP will definitely be on the floor on Saturday.
Without Leonard, perhaps the real Spurs will need an even better performance from Aldridge. We’ll find out of they can pull off the upset their video game equivalents managed in the virtual world.