The San Antonio Spurs knocked off the Houston Rockets in an OT thriller Tuesday night 110-107. Manu Ginobili had the potential game-saving block on James Harden that if went would have sent the game to 2OT. I can here Barkley now GINOBLIIIII!!! What a fucking block by a champion. He knew right where Harden was gonna be and meant it right at the top of his shot, swiping it away. Maybe Harden should’ve shouted “swiper no swiping” Clean too. Oddly enough Ginobili wouldn’t have been in there if it weren’t for a knee and ankle injury to Kawhi Leonard. The Spurs won the battle but could they have lost the war with this injury?
So apparently Kawhi says he’s gonna play but who knows how effective he will be. He injured his knee and rolled his ankle in the game, so not one, but two injuries. Ya know Pop too, of course, he’s not gonna divulge any info on his star player. I’m sure it’s nothing crazy but he was limping and it was bad enough to the degree that Pop wouldn’t let him back in the game. A game in which they could have lost and faced a potential elimination game on the road in Houston. I don’t question for a second that he’ll play, but his effectiveness is still up in the air.
If Kawhi can’t stay with Harden defensively, Harden should have a field day. This would mean lots of attacking the rim by Harden and lobs to Capella on help. Also if other players try to help when he get’s to the middle of that d, he will find his shooters open for 3. Then it’s all on Houston’s shooters to make or break them like they’ve done all year long. Either way, it will lead to ample opportunities for the Rockets.
Offensively if he can’t be effective it will hurt them too. He was seen shooting off one leg, which is why Pop pulled him. Can’t imagine making contested jumpers on one leg in an NBA playoff game is very enjoyable, or easy for that matter. But also Kawhi is one of their main ball handlers, especially without Tony Parker, it’s Kawhi, Mills and a little bit of Manu Ginboli.
Now I know Ginobili killed it Tuesday night and is one hell of a competitor and champion. But at age 39 can he handle starter minutes if Kawhi is either ineffective or can’t go? I don’t think so. He’s been MIA all playoffs, I think what we can expect from him is the occasional glimpse of greatness. If Leonard is even a half a step slow this could mean uncharacteristic turnovers for San Antonio. Something tells me this is going 7 and the Spurs will have trouble in Houston. They played a much cleaner game against Houston and still only squeaked it from the heroics of Danny Green, Manu, and Patty Mills.
So there are a lot of variables here, mainly hovering around Kawhi and his health. But since Pop is Pop we probably won’t know until pre-game warm-ups on Thursday. Could the Spurs win Game 6? Yeah, they could but they’ll need a huge performance from a gimpy Kawhi and others to step up. Game 6 though should tell us something though, if for whatever reason they lose and can’t count on him in Game 7 Houston could sneak out of this one. Stay tuned my friends, the war is far from over.