OAKLAND, Calif. — While Kawhi Leonard ordered dinner from the team hotel, the rest of the San Antonio Spurs choked down a heaping helping of disheartening defeat by way of a 136-100 annihilation at the hands of the Golden State Warriors, which dropped the visitors to 0-2 in this Western Conference finals series, and led to coach Gregg Popovich questioning his squad’s fortitude.
“The only way I can process this is it’s not about O’s and X’s, rebounds, turnovers or anything like that,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “Kawhi being gone, I don’t think as I watched… I don’t think they believed. And you have to believe. I don’t think as a group they really did, which means probably a little bit of feeling sorry for themselves psychologically, subconsciously, whatever psycho-babble word you want to use. I don’t think they started the game with a belief, and it showed in the lack of edge, intensity, grunt, all that sort of thing. That was disappointing.”
The question now is whether Leonard can even help to salvage this 0-2 mess, which should’ve been a hotly-contested 1-1 series at this point, had the Spurs found a way to hold on in Game 1, when the star forward left a contest San Antonio led by as many as 25 points after aggravating an ankle injury.