The Spurs ran out to a 20-point halftime lead (leading by as many as 25) and lead by as many as 23 in the second half, it seemed like it was there destiny to stun the Warriors in Oakland in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. Everything changed in the third quarter when San Antonio star Kawhi Leonard, who had 26 points, eight boards, and three assists in 24 minutes, was forced to exit the game as he re-injured his left ankle twice.
The final time, the one that forced him out of the game for good, came on a questionable Zaza Pachulia step-under foul with eight minutes to play in the third quarter. After Leonard’s two made free throws, he checked out and went to the locker room, from which he did not return. The Warriors immediately ripped off an 18-0 run to get within striking distance going into the fourth quarter.
San Antonio, to their credit, held the Warriors off for as long as they could, but Steph Curry and Kevin Durant’s hot shooting, coupled with poor offense from the Spurs, proved to be too much for San Antonio to handle as they escaped with a 113-111 win to take a 1-0 series lead. Curry and Durant combined for 74 points in the game, with 46 of those points coming in the second half. Curry went nova from three-point range, as he is wont to do, during the comeback, taking advantage early in the third quarter of Pau Gasol’s sagging defense on Pachulia that allowed Steph to get great looks off of screens. From there, the rim got bigger and Curry lit it up.