Warriors find playoff gear, cruise past Spurs in Game 1 despite absence of Stephen Curry

In 2017, Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs went into Golden State and opened up a 25-point lead in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals against the seemingly invincible Warriors.

Leonard injured his left ankle in the third quarter, and Golden State rallied for a 113-111 win and never looked back en route to a 4-0 sweep.

On Saturday, the Spurs started their playoff series against Golden State without Leonard and looked equally helpless in a dominant 113-92 Warriors win.

The Warriors, playing without leading man Steph Curry, who isn’t expected to play this series due to a sprained MCL, found their playoff gear and put their end-of-season struggles behind them with big games from Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant.

Thompson caught fire from the field, hitting on 11-of-13 field goals, including 5-of-6 three pointers, en route to 27 points. Green was his usual stat-stuffing self with 12 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds, while Durant tallied 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

The Warriors, playing without leading man Steph Curry, found their playoff gear and dominated a hapless Spurs team on Saturday still struggling without Kawhi Leonard. (AP)

“Our minds were elsewhere at the end of the season and we were worried about the playoffs instead of being worried about today,” Durant told ESPN. “Today we were worried about the present and came out with a good game plan and executed.”

The Golden State team that finished 7-10 to end the season did not show up on Saturday, which is bad news for a San Antonio team missing its best player. LaMarcus Aldridge was the only Spurs starter to score in double figures with 14 points as Danny Green (six points) and Patty Mills (five points) struggled to find room to operate against a renewed Warriors defense.

Golden State dominated inside, outrebounding San Antonio, 51-31 while the Spurs struggled when JaVale McGee was manning the post. McGee finished with 15 points, four rebounds, two blocks and steal while making things difficult for Aldridge.

The two teams will meet again Monday. There are no signs pointing to Leonard’s return, which doesn’t bode well for a better showing from San Antonio in Game 2.

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