Though this does not come as a surprise, it almost seems too good to be true that the Spurs managed to matchup up against the Curry-less Warriors in round one after what happened in the Western Conference Finals last season. If Kawhi is able to go at all this series, it would be one the best revenge stories all time if they are able to somehow knock off the defending champions.
Before game 1 of the WCF’s last year, everyone but Spurs fans thought that Golden state would cruise through the series and earn a spot in the finals for the third straight year. Although that is what ended up happening, you can’t forget that the Kawhi Leonard-lead Spurs came out of the gates firing in that first game and built a huge 25 point lead before Zaza Pachulia illegally closed out under a Leonard jump shot, ending his season right then and there. The Warriors then quickly erased that lead as all the momentum and life was sucked right out of San Antonio and they ended up sweeping the series.
With the drama and lack of transparency between Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs this season, it’s hard to predict whether he even wants revenge for this or if he’s just patiently waiting for the off season to see what his options are. You’d think if he had any type of chip on his shoulder for what happened he would want to come back and try to take advantage of the slightly vulnerable Warrior team.
In the 12 playoff games he did play in before getting ousted by Zaza, Leonard was playing great basketball. He was averaging 27.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game. San Antonio had a plus 11.1 rating with Leonard on the court and once he went out the Spurs were out played by 11.1 points per 100 possessions. Crazy.
If the Spurs have ANY chance at making the Warriors uncomfortable in this series Kawhi Leonard must play.
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