Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs was played on Sunday. A long-awaited duel of NBA powerhouses finally took place at Oracle Arena in Oakland in front of a sellout crowd of more than 19,000 fans. Throughout Golden State's dominance over the past three years, they somehow managed to avoid playing the Spurs on their way to the finals. Finally, the stage was set for this matchup.

Although San Antonio will have to play the rest of this postseason without their starting point guard Tony Parker, most of the NBA fans expected the Spurs to show resistance and make things tough on the Warriors.

Considering the way Kawhi Leonard has been playing this season - performing on an MVP-level - the Warriors knew they would have their hands full.

No Kawhi - no victory

From the way that Sunday's Game 1 started, it appeared like the Spurs were the heavy favorites, not the other way around. San Antonio shot the lights out in the first quarter as they outscored the Warriors 30-16 and had a 62-42 lead at halftime. They led by as many as 25 points in the game but ended up losing it 113-111. A crucial sequence of events happened in the third quarter when Kawhi Leonard landed awkwardly on the foot of Warriors center Zaza Pachulia after a 3-point shot attempt in front of the San Antonio bench. It was the second time in a matter of minutes that Leonard came down wrong on that ankle, and he had to leave the game and did not return.

Up to that point, Kawhi dominated the Warriors as he left the game with 26 points, eight rebounds and three assists. He was 7-for-13 from the field and 11-for-11 from the free-throw line in 24 minutes of action.

Without Leonard on the floor, the Spurs were not the same. They struggled on offense and also on defense as they were outscored 58-33 after Kawhi's injury.

Stats also show that after Leonard left the game with 7:53 remaining in the third quarter, the Spurs had just four assists and eight turnovers for the rest of the game. They shot 0-for-7 from behind the arc while allowing the Warriors to shoot 21-for-36 from the field. When Leonard was on the floor, the Warriors shot just 38 percent.

When he was off the floor, the Warriors shot 59 percent.

Leonard questionable for Game 2

After the game was over, Leonard addressed his injury, "It's very painful (the ankle) because I tweaked it before." Some fans and media charged Pachulia for intentionally trying to injure the small forward. Leonard didn’t see it like that as he added, “Did he step under it? Like on purpose? No, he was contesting the shot, the shot clock was coming down. I’ll have to see the play.”

ESPN's Marc Spears reported that Leonard will have an MRI later on Sunday. Spears's colleague, Michael Wright, later said the MRI will likely take on Monday. When asked about Kawhi's status in his postgame interview, the Spurs' head coach Gregg Popovich said, "I don't know, the game just ended, and I haven't talked to anybody.

I don't know what Kawhi's status is."

Even with a healthy Kawhi in this series, the Spurs' chances of advancing to the NBA finals were not great. He has been a key player so far for the Spurs, averaging 27.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists in this year's playoffs. Things just got tougher for Gregg Popovich's squad and one thing is for sure - without Leonard, San Antonio's postseason will be over soon.

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