Spurs expect Kawhi Leonard to play in WCF opener

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In two days the Spurs will be hosted by the Warriors in the first game of the series.

The majority of experts agree that the Warriors will win on Sunday, but since some pundits are tempted to take the points, many feel that the safe bet is Golden State with the moneyline.

Dejounte Murray No.5 of the San Antonio Spurs dunks against James Harden No.13 and Lou Williams No.12 of the Houston Rockets during Game 6 of the NBA Western Conference Semi-Finals at Toyota Center on Friday in Houston, Texas. The Spurs last saw the NBA Championship in 2013 when they bested the Miami Heat.

Even with Leonard, the two-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Popovich said stopping the Warriors' offense is going to be tough.

There also will be at least one key question, that being the status of Spurs All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard, who sustained a sprained right ankle in Game 5 and did not play in Game 6. It took them six games to do it, but the Spurs defeated Memphis 4-2.

By sitting out, Leonard, who is averaging 27.8 points on 52.4 percent shooting during the playoffs, now has more time to heal before the Western Conference finals. Native Texans LaMarcus Aldridge and Jonathon Simmons emerged as threats in the conference semifinals for the Spurs and must continue to contribute on both ends of the floor for San Antonio to challenge Golden State.

Meanwhile, James Harden, who had five points on 1-of-2 shooting with five turnovers at halftime, finished with only 10 points and shot the ball 11 times before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. Klay Thompson is the third double-digit scorer and Draymond Green is grabbing 9.1 rebounds.

According to a point spread vs moneyline conversion chart I found from The Wizard of Odds (great name), these odds are like an National Football League team being 17-point underdogs (so, say the Browns playing the Patriots in New England). Back and forth. Then, the Spurs won the next two game by double-digits, and it was over. Oh. "I expect them to come away with one win, and it wouldn't surprise me if they get swept".

Popovich is known for his dry one-liners, but the injury-stricken Spurs may need divine intervention to topple the red-hot Warriors. So did Mike D'Antoni, in a terrific comeback effort to the National Basketball Association, that ended in yet another playoff disappointment when facing Gregg Popovich.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Spurs are now 5-0 in games without Leonard and Parker this season. It was Aldridge's best offensive game since May 2, 2016 when he scored 41 points in a playoff win against the Oklahoma City Thunder.