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losangelesnewstoday.com July 27, 2017


Spurs' Leonard expects to play in Game 6 despite ankle injury

12 May 2017, 12:35 | Stacy Ballard

Spurs' Leonard expects to play in Game 6 despite ankle injury

Houston Rockets fans cheer for Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon scoring a three-pointer during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday

Already down one veteran guard, the San Antonio Spurs relied on another ageless wonder to save the game - and possibly their season.

That's when Danny Green and the Spurs' supporting cast stepped up.

Kawhi Leonard - who limped off late in the game with an ankle injury - top-scored for San Antonio with 22 points as they took a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven series.

James Harden finished with a triple-double for the Rockets with 33 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.

Ginobili finished with 12 points and had a game-sealing block of a Harden 3-point attempt at the end of overtime. And when an ankle injury forced Kawhi Leonard out later on, you knew they'd have to deliver one. His defining moment though, came in the waning moments of regulation. It seemed like he was being held or he was unaware if the ball was coming to him. Leonard is averaging 23.8 points per game, 5.8 assists per game and 9.8 rebounds per game in this series.

Leonard missed much of the fourth quarter and all of overtime during Tuesday's game after stepping awkwardly on James Harden's foot during the third quarter.

Rookie Dejounte Murray started the previous two games at point guard after Parker suffered a ruptured left quadriceps tendon.

"I think we all made a decision to be aggressive, regardless of what was going to happen", Green said of playing without Leonard.

Leonard said he will play in Game Six on Thursday in Houston. Green converted the second of his two free throws to expand San Antonio's lead to 110-107. He also made a foul shot down the stretch. "Some guys are going to have to play a little more minutes".

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"No", he said. "Not in control until we win Game 6".

With scores tied at 101, Mills banked in a three on the last play of regulation that would have won it, had it not been a second too late. When it wasn't Ginobili driving to the rim, it was Jonathon Simmons getting in front of Harden to draw a charge.

The Spurs trailed by 11 and 12 points after the first quarter in losing games 1 and 4. "Whatever I have to do to help the team and whatever's best for this group".

But the defensive effort and facilitating Houston's offense appeared to take a toll on Harden. Harden was 0-2 with three turnovers in the extra session. He is expected to play game 6.

Simmons responded by scoring 10 points on 5-for-13 shooting in 26 minutes.

There doesn't seem to be a consensus as to which would be a more hard series for Golden State, as most believe the Warriors will dispatch either easily.

San Antonio managed to pull off a victory in overtime, but it's very obvious they just aren't the same team without Leonard on the floor. I mean, I can, but I won't here. Meanwhile, Washington may have found the anecdote to containing Boston's leading scorer-making the game as physical as possible.

He made only four of 15 attempted three-pointers and crucially coughed up nine turnovers - including three in overtime.



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