Game 3 Tipoff: 6 p.m. Saturday at AT&T Center. TV: ESPN. Radio: KGMZ 95.7 “The Game” in Oakland and San Francisco, KRTY 95.3 in San Jose, KUIC 95.3 in Solano County, KION 1460 and 101.1 in Salinas and Monterey.
Game 1: The Warriors roared back from a 25-point deficit, aided by the absence of Spurs star Kawhi Leonard, and won 113-111 at Oracle Arena. Leonard was injured when Zaza Pachulia stepped into Leonard’s landing zone on a jump shot. Leonard came down on Pachulia’s foot and sprained his left ankle. That came with 7:55 left in the third quarter and San Antonio in front 78-55. Up until then, Leonard was the best player on the floor with 26 points and eight rebounds. But as soon as he left the game, Golden State went on an 18-0 run. Stephen Curry led the third-quarter rally with 19 points, including four 3-pointers. He finished with 40 points. Kevin Durant scored 34, including 20 in the second half.
Game 2: The Warriors let the short-handed Spurs know that they meant business in a 136-100 shellacking at Oracle. Golden State rolled out to a 33-16 lead after one quarter and 72-44 at halftime. The Warriors led by 41 points in the fourth quarter. In the first three quarters — excluding an entire fourth period of garbage time — the Warriors led 106-76, shot 58.1 percent from the field and 51.7 percent on 3-pointers, had 31 assists and 10 steals. They also held the Spurs to 35.1 percent from the field and 29.4 percent on 3-pointers. Leonard missed the game because of his left ankle injury.
REMAINING SERIES SCHEDULE
Game 4: Monday, May 22 at AT&T Center, 6 p.m. ESPN
Game 5: Wednesday, May 24 at Oracle Arena, 6 p.m. ESPN
Game 6: Friday, May 26 at AT&T Center, 6 p.m. ESPN
Game 7: Sunday, May 28 at Oracle Arena, 6 p.m. ESPN
Leonard did not practice Friday and is listed as questionable for tonight. We might not know for sure until game time if he will play. If he doesn’t, the rest of the Spurs will have to duplicate their Leonard-less Game 6 performance at Houston in the Western Conference finals — and do it against a team with more heart than the Rockets. For the Spurs, the series outcome could be riding on how close to 100 percent Leonard might be tonight, if he plays at all.
WARRIORS INJURY REPORT
Warriors sixth man Andre Iguodala is listed as questionable because of soreness in his left knee. He missed Game 2 after playing only 10 minutes in Game 1, sitting out the second half. … Pachulia, Public Enemy No. 1 in San Antonio, is questionable because of a right heel contusion. … Coach Steve Kerr, who hasn’t coached since Game 2 of the Portland series, made the trip to San Antonio but will not be on the bench. Kerr, who is recovering from a May 5 procedure to repair a spinal fluid leak incurred two years ago, was at Oracle Arena for Games 1 and 2 and addressed the team at halftime of both games.
48 MINUTES OF DOMINATION
When you combine the second half of Game 1 with the first half of Game 2, the numbers are staggeringly in the Warriors’ favor. Golden State outscored the Spurs 143-93 and outshot them from the field 62.8 percent to 39.1 percent. The Warriors also had 37 assists, 14 steals and nine blocked shots. San Antonio had 19 turnovers that led to 33 Warriors points.
TO THE RESCUE
With Iguodala sitting out Game 2 because of his balky knee, rookie Patrick McCaw stepped in and played his finest game as a pro, scoring 18 points on 6-for-8 shooting (3 for 4 on 3-pointers) with five assists and three steals. More important than the actual statistics was that McCaw played with confidence and was not afraid to take the shots that he should. And this was after not playing a single minute in Game 1.
THE SPUR WHO SHOWED UP
Forward Jonathon Simmons, who replaced Leonard in the starting lineup, was the only Spur who looked like he came to play. He scored a career-high 22 points and played with an aggressiveness that was missing from his teammates.
Seeing how lost the Spurs were on offense in Game 2 underscored how important Leonard has become to their attack. As recently as the 2014 NBA Finals, when he was voted MVP mostly for controlling Miami’s LeBron James, Leonard was regarded as a defensive specialist. But his offensive game has evolved to the point where he can post up, hit the mid-range jumper and shoot 3-pointers. His ballhandling and passing have improved so much that the Spurs run their offense through him, even when they have a point guard on the floor.
WOULD HE DARE?
If the Spurs are looking for more energy and athleticism to begin the game, coach Gregg Popovich could start Dewayne Dedmon for Pau Gasol at center and rookie Dejounte Murray for Patty Mills at point guard. Besides giving San Antonio more of a defensive lineup to open the game, it would give them some scoring punch off the bench, which got very little from Manu Ginobili and David Lee in Game 2. Dedmon made 37 starts during the regular season and Murray made eight. Mills played 72 games as a reserve and Gasol 25.
There is one area of weakness that the Warriors need to shore up. They have given up 36 offensive rebounds in the series. In Game 2, San Antonio had 22 offensive rebounds, but fortunately for Golden State, they were converted into only 15 points.