Can the Spurs Still Make This a Series?
The San Antonio Spurs are down 0-2 as they were blown off the court in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals by the Golden State Warriors. The Spurs lost by 36 points and looked as though they gave up before the game even started. San Antonio was a long shot to win the series even before their star player, Kawhi Leonard went down with an injury late in Game 1, but they didn’t even try to compete in Game 2. The Spurs looked lackluster from the opening tip. Are the Spurs out of the series or can they still make it competitive? The five time NBA champions will need a few things to go their way, but there is path back into this series.
Play like you’re in the playoffs
The Warriors are the more talented team. Many people did not expect the Spurs to win the series. As a competitor, the first two sentences shouldn’t even matter. The Spurs looked like they didn’t want to play and that cannot happen again if they want to win this series. If the Warriors smell blood, they will pounce so the Spurs do not want to look defeated before Game 3 even starts. They need to play with more heart if they want to have a chance.
Return of Kawhi Leonard
Leonard reinjured his ankle in Game 1 and hasn’t played since. His status is questionable for Game 3, but he has a few days to rest before the game. If Leonard returns, however, he will add a much needed boost to the team, offensively, defensively, but more importantly, mentally. The Spurs gave up once he went down, but if he returns and is at least 70 percent healthy, the Spurs will be dangerous and will make the games more competitive. I mean they can’t get any worse.
Spurs home cooking
The Spurs’ next two games are at home and the AT&T Center crowd will be ready. The Spurs may be a classy organization, but don’t expect that crowd to be anything but hostile. Many believe that Warriors center Zaza Pachulia purposely tried to injure Kawhi and whether or not that is true doesn’t matter. The Spurs crowd will create a hostile environment and if Kawhi returns, you can almost guarantee at least one victory from the two home games. That crowd will be ready, but it’s up to the Spurs to match their energy.
LaMarcus Aldridge has to play better
I’ve been covering the Spurs the entire post season and I feel like I have never tried to drill a point as I have with this one. LaMarcus Aldridge needs to show up. At first it seems as if he was just playing bad, but now it appears that he is playing scared. Aldridge seemed to have no trouble scoring when the Spurs were up big on the Warriors in Game 1, but once Kawhi went down, he froze. He shot 3 for 14 the rest of that game and did not show up in Game 2. Aldridge needs to play better.
It’s plausible that the Spurs can return to Oracle Arena tied 2-2, but if they don’t play with energy and certain stars don’t show up, the Spurs won’t see Oracle again until next season. The Spurs are a great organization and head coach Gregg Popovich is one of the best of all time, so I think they will get at least one of these games, especially if Kawhi returns.
Game 3 is on Saturday and we will see if the Spurs have any fight left or if this will be a quick series.