The Warriors never trailed Tuesday night and blew out the Spurs 136-100 to take a 2-0 series lead in the Western Conference Finals. But now, "You can't count out San Antonio, but if Golden State picks up their game and [the Spurs] shorthanded and Kawhi's [remains] hobbled", the series will most likely end in four or five games, he said.
Curry used 6-for-9 shooting on 3-pointers to lead seven Warriors scorers in double figures. Green made another 3 later in the first quarter and is now 23-of-48 from deep in the playoffs, burning opponents at a scorching 48 percent clip on a shot they usually gameplan to give up.
The Warriors had 39 assists on their 50 field goals, and they shot 56.2 percent from the field.
Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Golden State's starters got plenty of rest in the fourth quarter on a night the bench delivered a season-best 63 points.
Jonathon Simmons was the lone bright spot for the Spurs, scoring a team-high and playoff career-high 22 points after getting the start in Leonard's absence.
Klay Thompson finished with 11 points, but was 4-of-10 from shooting with six rebounds, while Shaun Livingston and Ian Clark each had 10 points for Golden State to secure its 10th consecutive playoffs win this season.
With Golden State up 2-0 in the conference finals, the Spurs acknowledged that they must play significantly better in Game 3 than they did in Game 2 - with or without Leonard. His MRI exam Monday revealed no structural damage, but the Warriors tend to be cautious with the 33-year-old swingman with a history of knee and back injuries.
Leonard isn't expected to play in Game 2 on Tuesday.? The Warriors have been utterly dominant since then, outscoring the Spurs 194 to 133. "But I have to play through it. Take my shot or try to find an open guy".
"It was huge. We need Kawhi to create and to score", said Manu Ginobili, who had 17 points off the bench for the Spurs. "I mean, our basketball life, not, you know". "Somebody's got to tell him", Popovich noted in a rare light moment, "if the California Highway Patrol tells you to move over, you move over". "They stayed composed. Not one point in the game did our guys hang their head or not believe".
"That's just been the message all year, just play with urgency and start the game off with some energy and throw the first punch", Durant said. And that said actions "devastated the quality of the Spurs' chances of being competitive and having additional games in their home arena, both in the Western Conference Finals and also potentially in the NBA Finals", according to Moyle.
Mills said the emotion the Spurs felt from losing Leonard in what Popovich described as a unsafe and unsportsmanlike play by Warriors' centre Zaza Pachulia should have fired up his team, not subdued them.
Rose surmised that the West finals had the potential to be a seven-game series "Had they won Game 1".