Kawhi's ankle injury drastically changed complexion of Game 1
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As impressive as the Golden State Warriors' comeback in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals was, the main takeaway from Sunday afternoon was Kawhi Leonard's importance to the San Antonio Spurs, as his departure with a left ankle injury hugely impacted the end result.

Related: Warriors overcome 25-point deficit, take Game 1 vs. Spurs

Leonard's ankle kept him on the sidelines late in Game 5 of the Spurs' second-round matchup with the Houston Rockets, and out of action completely for the series-clinching Game 6. The joint might as well have had a giant bull's eye on it, especially after he rolled it again Sunday when he stepped on a teammate's foot following a 3-pointer in the third quarter.

Zaza Pachulia's extra step inward while Leonard was in the air not much later was more than the back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year's ankle could handle, and forced Leonard to the locker room.

From that moment onward, the Spurs were a ship without a captain, falling apart at the seams while the Warriors made an 18-0 run to cut into the lead, and eventually took the 113-111 win.

Before injury

Team Points FG% 3PM-A 3P% Rebounds Turnovers OffRtg DefRtg
Spurs 78 55.1 7-of-15 46.7 24 9 132.4 95.9
Warriors 55 40 5-of-13 38.5 19 12 95.9 132.4

After injury (7:54 of third quarter onward)

Team Points FG% 3PM-A 3P% Rebounds Turnovers OffRtg DefRtg
Spurs 33 37.1 0-of-7 0 13 8 77.8 144.4
Warriors 58 58.3 6-of-17 35.3 24 7 144.4 77.8

Leonard had 26 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and a steal before his injury, all in just 23 minutes. You can't simply replace his offense, let alone the stellar defense he provides against multiple positions.

With Gregg Popovich as coach, the Spurs had gone a perfect 316-0 when leading by as many as 25 points during both the playoffs and regular season. Sunday's heartbreaking defeat is now the lone blemish, although it may deserve an asterisk considering what happened to Leonard.

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Kawhi's ankle injury drastically changed complexion of Game 1
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