One of the fundamental fantasies we embrace as sports fans is that anything can technically happen until the final horn sounds. Players can get hot and ride a wave of untapped self-belief to greatness; coaches can find lightning in a bottle with hidden tactical switches that shift the tide; sheer dumb luck can strike in ways good and bad, and Kawhi Leonard can return to his team after months of rehab and help turn a series around.
At least one of those can be put to rest heading into Game 2 of the Spurs’ first-round series versus the Warriors, thanks to a report from Yahoo! Sports’ Shams Charania that stated that San Antonio’s hamstrung superstar is expected to remain in New York and continue treatment on his quad. The challenge for the Spurs and fans alike: fending off those other reality checks for (at least) one more day.
It’s no secret that the two teams meeting tonight are not evenly matched, even with one of the Warriors’ four All-Stars on the sidelines. Think about how many transcendent talents each team can count on — the elite, even with a hand in their face, shooting of Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant; LaMarcus Aldridge’s post game; Draymond Green’s defensive ubiquity; even the get-up-and-get-it length of JaVale McGee — and tally them up for Team A and Team B. The list should tilt heavily to one side, or you’re doing it wrong....