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

San Antonio Spurs guard Jonathon Simmons dunks the ball during his side's semifinal win over the Houston Rockets

This year's meeting won't have as much juice as it would have last year, when the two teams had combined for 140 regular season wins, but it's still a tremendous matchup and gives this Warriors team, which has accomplished nearly everything, the rare chance at a first.

The 25-year-old forward notably missed the Spurs' Game 6 rout on the road in Houston due to a lingering ankle injury.

The Spurs coach suggested that Leonard had not suffered a serious injury when he announced in full Popovichian form that the MVP candidate would not play hours before Game 6. They will need more of that type of play from Aldridge if they are to have a chance to reach the finals. "I was trying to be more dominant down there". "Somebody actually asked me when we opened the Houston series what I would take from the '95 series [against the Rockets], if you guys remember that".

San Antonio went 2-1 against the Warriors during the regular season, although one of those wins came in a game that saw both teams rest the bulk of their top players. "It is tough, especially the way we lost at home".

"It could, "he said". Jonathon Simmons started in place of Leonard and made the Rockets pay on every possession they fell asleep.

The Spurs played without Leonard (concussion protocol), LaMarcus Aldridge (medical), Tony Parker (back stiffness) and Dajounte Murray (left groin tightness).

San Antonio and Golden State have somehow avoided each other in the playoffs for the past few seasons. Money line value on the Rockets plummeted as well and you had to lay a large amount to take Houston, but that didn't stop one confident bettor from placing lots of money on Houston to win. They jumped to a seven point lead (31-24) in the opening quarter, and never looked back. The Warriors, who struggled to score in the first half, shot 58 percent after Leonard left.

A 3-pointer by Harden not long after that got Houston within 20, but San Antonio scored the next four points to make it 77-53 a couple of minutes later. "I feel like I was making some passes, and we just didn't knock down shots or whatever the case may be". Pau Gasol contributed a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds, also dishing 5 assists in the Spurs cause.

Rockets: Ariza received a technical in the third for the scuffle with Ariza. He had fully embraced the switch to point guard and his overall game blossomed to yet another elite level under coach Mike D'Antoni. Dekker had six points.

Despite the series lasting six games, five of them were enormously one-sided. San Antonio did drop the first game of the round to Houston, suffering a 126-99 loss, but their trail in the series would be short-lived. Now, as James, Durant and their teammates wait on the next opponent for the respective conference finals, the world is watching as they move their unblemished, 8-0 teams ever closer to an anticipated Cavs-Warriors rematch that might finally come to fruition at last in a matter of weeks.

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