END 1Q: Spurs trail Warriors in Game 1, 28-17

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Almost a year ago, Kawhi Leonard landed on Zaza Pachulia's foot in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, sprained his ankle and missed the rest of the series. That was GSW' s third loss to Utah this season. A group known for a selfless brand of basketball endured enough absentminded follies to fill an episode of the blooper reel "Shaqtin' a Fool". Golden State ranks second in offensive efficiency and San Antonio ranks fourth in defensive efficiency. Andre Iguodala, David West, Nick Young, and Shaun Livingston haven't been playing well for the past two months (none of the team really was at the end of the regular season, to be fair). The games are about to get extremely meaningful, as we know. "There's no way around it". Add that up, and it spells a handy victory over one of the most well-disciplined, albeit relatively untalented, teams that they'll see in the playoffs this season. As we know, the Warriors will be without Stephen Curry for at least the first round.

Aldridge expressed confidence that he and the Spurs will do a better job of handling Golden State's double-team defense. San Antonio is 2-5 ATS in its last seven games versus Golden State.

They arrive in the play-offs after a roller-coaster season which was transformed after a frenzied series of deals before the trading deadline, which saw them acquire George Hill, Rodney Hood, Larry Nance Jr, and Jordan Clarkson. Not only did they assert themselves as threats in case of injury, but they became dominant and won 65 games for the NBA's best record.

If Rajon Rondo can keep Damian Lillard in check - he put up 41 points the last time he played New Orleans - then this series is there for the underdog Pelicans to take.

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Late in the second quarter, he curled off a screen and crossed over Draymond Green so badly that Green crumpled to the floor.

Three seasons ago, Golden State played with the joy that comes with zero outside expectations. This is a different year, a different situation, and, as Curry said, a different team - one with more experience, and with Kevin Durant.

"He's the focus for them, for us", Ginobili said. "So, we have got to get right, and we've got to get our minds right". Steph Curry will probably miss the opening round with a knee injury, but the Warriors should get by a fading San Antonio Spurs squad that will likely be without ailing Kawhi Leonard for the entire series. He struggled against Golden State's blitzing, double-teaming defense, and was not much of a factor in the last three games of the series. It also didn't help that, with the team already locked into the Western Conference's No. 2 seed behind Houston, the Warriors lacked motivation. We've got to go do it. "I think sometimes Pop needs to be humbled a little bit".

With the scores being locked on numerous occasions during the game, the contest was destined to go either way and with the game being tied at 71-71 yet again with less than a minute to play, Warriors broke the deadlock through Headley and played a good defensive game to ensure they captured the six-point contest. The likes of which we haven't seen- I would argue- since the Heat failed to win a championship against the Mavericks LeBron's first year.

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