Chris Haynes: Kawhi Leonard (ankle) will miss his third consecutive game tonight when Spurs host Warriors for Game 4 of WCF.
On the brink of elimination, the San Antonio Spurs will likely have to play Game 4 of the Western Conference finals without MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard, coach Gregg Popovich said. Popovich told reporters that Leonard is "likely out" Monday with his injured left ankle suffered in the series opener.
Leonard did not participate in Thursday's workout, but multiple players said they saw the forward at the club's practice facility. "He was sitting nicely on the sidelines. It's going well, as well as it can go," center Pau Gasol said. "We have a good training staff. He's working with them, and trying to get that ankle right. That's what I know."
Jeff McDonald: Sounds like Kawhi Leonard was in the practice facility today but didn't do much, if anything, on the court.
Juan Vazquez isn't letting go quite so easily. Vazquez on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Pachulia and the Warriors on behalf of Spurs season ticket holders and San Antonio card shop What's On Second. "All we are asking from the court is that this type of behavior, that can and does cause serious injury to our team and those that love it, not be allowed in San Antonio," said Alfonso Kennard, Jr., lead attorney for the plaintiffs.
Tom Orsborn: Pop on listing Kawhi as questionable for Game 3: "The thing that worries me is he did it again (to his left ankle), the exact same thing."
Ben Golliver: Gregg Popovich says Kawhi Leonard (ankle) is out for Game 2 and questionable in advance of Game 3. "We won't know until Friday or Saturday"
"The thing is, now I've seen all the stuff going around on social (media) and all the things people are saying, and a lot of it involves me," Bowen said. "Well, I used to hate it when people called me dirty. I thought it was unfair when people just piggyback on what other people say. And I still do."
"What was his intent?" Bowen said. "You can rewind something five times and convince yourself of anything. What I saw, he kept moving in that direction after he contested the shot. You know you have to let a player come down. He kept walking into that space, so, for me, that says more about the intent."
Bowen believes he knows how he would have been disciplined had he been reviewed for such a play. "I don't know what is going to happen to Zaza," Bowen said, "but if that had been me, I know what would have happened: suspension."
“It’s going to be tough,” Aldridge said of the loss of Leonard. “He’s our leading scorer and our go-to guy, but guys have to step up and try to take some of that load and try to be better out there. It’s about defense right now. We’ve got to play better defense and make less mistakes, and we’ll be good.”
Spurs general manager R.C. Buford told The Undefeated, “Nobody is going to feel sorry for us. We have to play with who we have.”
“If you take an MVP candidate off of most teams, they’re going to struggle,” Warriors forward Draymond Green told The Undefeated. “The Spurs are one of those teams that still continues to stay in the game, they still make plays to give themselves a chance to win. They are one of the few teams in this league who can lose an MVP candidate and it’s business as usual.”
Jorge Sierra: We reached out to a bunch of NBA players for their take on the Pachulia-Leonard play. This is what they answered…
"My approach to this game for 14 years that I've been in the league is to play hard and [give] 100 percent of whatever I have," Pachulia said in response to Popovich on Monday after practice. "So, I don't agree with the calls that I'm a dirty player. I'm not a dirty player. I love this game and I'm playing hard. That's what I was taught since Day 1."
Warriors center Zaza Pachulia sidestepped the controversy over his role in Kawhi Leonard’s injury Monday, after Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich ripped Pachulia for the incident and called him a dirty player throughout his career. “No response,” Pachulia said after his team’s practice in Oakland. “I have a lot of respect for Coach Pop and their organization, and I mean it. No comment and no response. Let’s focus on Game 2, honestly.”
Jabari Young: Mike Brown on the Zaza incident... said Popovich comments just him protecting Kawhi #Spurs #Warriors pic.twitter.com/jWPDLO5myt
Later in his session with a group of reporters, Pachulia said, “I’m not a dirty player. I love this game and I play hard. I feel bad that it happened.”
Michael C. Wright: Maybe they're delusional, but sense I get from speaking w/sources is Spurs don't feel like all hope is lost. They plan to battle regardless.
Jabari Young: Zaza getting prepared...sure they are telling him what to expect after Popovich comments #Spurs #Warriors pic.twitter.com/Fi2citTB7p
A league source said that Leonard would undergo an MRI on Monday morning. When the forward originally suffered the injury in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets, a source explained San Antonio’s philosophy for dealing with injuries, which dates all the way back to the early Tim Duncan years and provides something of a clue for how the Spurs might proceed with Leonard throughout this series.
The only strangeness witnessed was the fact that the training staff sat Leonard at a table and taped up the injured ankle after the game, before the forward pulled on a Spurs sweat suit and strolled out to the team bus. “I feel good,” Leonard said. “I’ll get back healthy. I have faith in my teammates, and we’re going to see what happens [in] Game 2.”
With 7:55 left in the third quarter, Pachulia switched out to defend Leonard who launched a 3-point shot from in front of the San Antonio bench. Pachulia continued moving forward while Leonard was airborne, an action that resulted in Leonard landing on Pachulia’s left foot and aggravating a sprained left ankle. “I just did what I was supposed to do and challenged his shot,” Pachulia said. “And I turned around and there was a call. I didn’t notice that he was down until I turned back. I didn’t see what happened there.”
Did Zaza Pachulia intentionally undercut Kawhi Leonard? @rodger_sherman Mark Cuban: No. That's not how ZaZa plays
Ben Golliver: "I just did what I'm supposed to do: challenge the shot." Zaza Pachulia on Kawhi Leonard ankle injury
Tim Bontemps: Zaza Pachulia: "I hate anybody going down with an injury. I'm an athlete too ... I know how he feels. I hope it's nothing serious."
Marc J. Spears: Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard will have an MRI tonight on his left ankle, a team source said.
Mike Finger: Kawhi told me he does not think the Zaza play was dirty. Said he was just contesting the shot.
Connor Letourneau: "Zaza's not a dirty player. ... You can't listen to people on Twitter. People are irrational." -- Durant on the play Leonard got injured on
Michael C. Wright: Kawhi Leonard just walked to training room. No limp, nothing on ankle. They're taping it up now.
Anthony Slater: After Kawhi Leonard injury, Warriors outscore Spurs by 25 in final 20 minutes to win Game 1: 113-111. Curry with 40, KD with 34.
Kawhi Leonard missed the Spurs' last game -- Game 6 against the Houston Rockets during the second round -- due to a sprained left ankle, but he was back in the lineup Sunday afternoon against the Warriors. Unfortunately, Leonard's return didn't last long, as he once again tweaked that ankle. In fact, he did it twice in the span of a few minutes in the third quarter against the Warriors in Game 1, and had to leave the game.
Connor Letourneau: So, the Leonard injury was a turning point. Warriors went on an 18-0 run after he headed to locker room.
Ben Golliver: Spurs' Kawhi Leonard moving very gingerly and holding his head after three-pointer. Checks out at next dead ball.
Jeff McDonald: Kawhi's coming out again. Headed to the locker room. Can barely walk. Spurs are going to have to try and finish this without him.
Ailene Voisin: Kawhi Leonard limps into locker room. Leaves with 26 points, 8 boards, 3 assists - dominant performance. Would be a shame if he can't play.
Paul Garcia: The Spurs have announced Kawhi Leonard (left ankle) is probable to play in Game 1. Coach Pop already said Kawhi will play though.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: There's strong optimism within the Spurs that Kawhi Leonard will be prepared to play Game 1 on Sunday vs. Golden State.
Marc J. Spears: Barring a Rockets miracle, Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard is expected to play in Game 1 of West Finals at Warriors on Sunday on four days rest.
Tim Bontemps: Gregg Popovich on if Kawhi fought him over sitting: "He'd rather play." Says Jonathon Simmons will start at small forward.
Throughout Game 5, Leonard also appeared to be nursing a sore right knee, as he returned to the bench on multiple occasions to have athletic trainers tend to the injured area.
Jabari Young: Kawhi Leonard (ankle) will not play tonight in Game 6 vs #Rockets ... #Spurs pic.twitter.com/68XbREjl4j
Tom Orsborn: D'Antoni knows #Spurs would remain dangerous without Kawhi: "They've got a bunch of weapons. They beat us in OT without him."
Fighting through an ankle injury, San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard sat out much of the fourth quarter and didn't take the court for overtime of his team's 110-107 win over the Houston Rockets, but he insisted he'll play Thursday in Game 6. "Yeah, I'm going to be able to play," Leonard said. "It was frustrating because I wanted to play. But I was happy seeing my teammates out there putting in a good effort and getting the win."
Manu Ginobili replaced Leonard in the lineup with 4:57 to play, but Leonard re-entered the game with 2:59 remaining. Leonard left for good with 34.5 seconds remaining in regulation. "It was tough when we saw Kawhi kind of limping," Ginobili said. "We knew it was going to be a tough one. But they had it tough, too, and they're missing Nene, too. We really hustled down the stretch and made some good plays."
May 26, 2022 | 2:50 pm EDT Update
Chris Haynes: Golden State Warriors forward Otto Porter Jr. (foot) is not expected to play tonight in Game 5 against the Dallas Mavericks, league sources tell @YahooSports.
Michael Singer: Have heard two names who could be joining Tim Connelly in Minnesota, per sources: Darrell Arthur and Dell Demps. Arthur recently started working for the #Nuggets, and Demps gave Connelly one of his first breaks in New Orleans. Both are very close with Connelly.
League sources say the Grizzlies have already signaled to agents that their pick at No. 47 will almost certainly be on a two-way, if it’s a domestic player at all, because there is just no room left to roster another player.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have been named to the list of the Top 25 Most Innovative Teams in The World for 2022, as announced by Sports Innovation Lab. As part, the team ranks 11th overall and 4th across all U.S. professional sports teams behind just the Philadelphia 76ers (5th), Atlanta Braves (7th) and Dallas Mavericks (9th). In total, the U.S. list included nine NBA teams, three MLB teams, two NFL teams and one NHL team. This is the first time the Timberwolves have been named to this prestigious list.
Clutch Points: LeBron James stops by at the I Promise School and the kid’s reactions are priceless 😍 pic.twitter.com/NCBW54NpTb
May 26, 2022 | 12:37 pm EDT Update
And the Rivers rumors? Seems the players, and perhaps general manager Rob Pelinka, too, would rather see an experienced, win-now coach on the sidelines. “If LeBron could pick,” the executive said, “it’s pretty certain he’d pick Doc.” The exec was quick to point out that the Lakers had hoed to be united on the coaching front, considering their last foray into a coaching hire, in 2019, was bungled. The team pursued Ty Lue then but would not meet his contract request, and lost out on Monty Williams to Phoenix almost at the same time. Recently fired coach Frank Vogel was the Lakers’ third choice.
Most of the front office, it seems, has zeroed in on Darvin Ham, with former head coaches Terry Stotts (Portland) and Kenny Atkinson (Brooklyn) also in the mix. Ham was briefly an assistant with the Lakers, and according to league sources, he is the favorite of the Phil Jackson-Kurt Rambis layer of Lakers decision-makers. “I think those guys want a young coach they can mold a little bit,” one Western Conference executive told Heavy.com. “I do not think Darvin is a pushover by any means. I just think that they want a guy they can point in the direction they want to go, more traditional basketball, using Russell Westbrook a certain way.”
“A lot of teams would rather have that Detroit pick than the Dallas pick, you have more flexibility with second-rounders and they won’t be that far apart,” one GM told Heavy.com. “If they can make a pick swap only, and it costs them the Dallas pick next year and the Detroit second-rounder, it is a lot to give up, but that could land them in the Top 4. It is a significant move for them.”