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The Spurs seemed lifeless within the water after Sport 1 of their first spherical collection towards the Warriors, however got here out swinging in Sport 2 to take a halftime lead and spark some transient hope within the San Antonio trustworthy. Ultimately, the expertise hole and Golden State’s offensive onslaught would as soon as once more show to be an excessive amount of to beat in a 116-101 loss, however the Spurs no less than put up a battle and certain will for 2 extra video games.

LaMarcus Aldridge led the way in which for the Spurs, as he has performed all season, scoring 34 factors and accumulating 12 rebounds in 37 minutes of motion. Within the absence of Kawhi Leonard this 12 months, Aldridge has reestablished himself as a dominant scoring risk within the NBA and labored his means out of his well-documented funk from his second season in San Antonio because of offseason conversations with coach Gregg Popovich.

After Monday evening’s loss, Pop was effusive in his reward for Aldridge, highlighting the way in which his star ahead has gone on the market on a nightly foundation and performed for his teammates and enjoying via all of the adversity the Spurs have confronted this season.

“LaMarcus has been a monster all 12 months lengthy,” Popovich mentioned. “He’s led our workforce at each ends of the ground. He doesn’t complain a few darn factor out on the courtroom. He performs via every part. I couldn’t think about being extra pleased with a participant for enjoying via adversity and being there for his teammates evening after evening after evening. He’s been unbelievable.”

There’ll instantly be those who attempt to learn between the strains and see this as Pop sending a message to Kawhi Leonard and his camp, speaking about Aldridge “enjoying via adversity” and all of that. It’s attainable it’s a message, simply because it’s attainable Pop’s been letting on his frustrations about Leonard by continually referring individuals to speak to “Kawhi’s group” for updates on his damage. Nevertheless, it appears simply as seemingly, if no more so, that Pop desires to ensure Aldridge will get the reward he deserves for main this Spurs workforce that’s clearly undermanned to the postseason as this collection is proving.

Aldridge later advised USA At present’s Sam Amick that it “means so much” to listen to that from Popovich, who isn’t one to supply compliments until he really means them.

“(The reward) means so much coming from him, you recognize?” Aldridge mentioned. “Pop’s a shoot-you-straight-forward kind man. He’s not going to sugarcoat, and I feel he’s been with me the entire means. He’s seen the method. He’s watched me develop on this system, on this group, and attempt to do extra, so I’m positively not glad with tonight, however I’m going to maintain attempting to do my job and attempt to make guys higher.”

Amick additionally pressed Aldridge on the Kawhi state of affairs, to which he politely declined to remark past saying, “He has to do what’s greatest for him.”

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