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Kawhi Leonard would like to play in Spurs' 6 remaining games, unlikely to get his wish

April 03,2017 21:20

"I told them I want to play out the games," Leonard said. "But we'll see what happens." It is unlikely Leonard will get his wish. That six-pack of games is crammed into nine nights to close the season. There is a four-in-five-nights set, beginning ...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Photo: Edward A. Ornelas, Staff / San Antonio Express-News

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San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker (from left), and Manu Ginobili greet Kawhi Leonard as he walks to the bench during second half action against the Utah Jazz Sunday April 2, 2017 at the AT&T Center. The Spurs won 109-103. less
San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker (from left), and Manu Ginobili greet Kawhi Leonard as he walks to the bench during second half action against the Utah Jazz Sunday April 2, 2017 at the AT&T Center. The Spurs won ... more

Photo: Edward A. Ornelas, Staff / San Antonio Express-News

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San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard passes around Utah Jazz's Joe Johnson during second half action Sunday April 2, 2017 at the AT&T Center. The Spurs won 109-103.
San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard passes around Utah Jazz's Joe Johnson during second half action Sunday April 2, 2017 at the AT&T Center. The Spurs won 109-103.

Photo: Edward A. Ornelas, Staff / San Antonio Express-News

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Tony Parker, Patty Mills, and Manu Ginobili watch the action on March 29.
Tony Parker, Patty Mills, and Manu Ginobili watch the action on March 29.

Photo: Edward A. Ornelas /San Antonio Express-News

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Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard shoots between the Golden State Warriors’ David West (left) and Stephen Curry on March 29, 2017 at the AT&T Center.
Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard shoots between the Golden State Warriors’ David West (left) and Stephen Curry on March 29, 2017 at the AT&T Center.

Photo: Edward A. Ornelas /San Antonio Express-News

It's a scenario as predictable as a sunrise. As the NBA season begins to wind toward its conclusion, and the Spurs have an acceptable playoff seeding all but locked up, Gregg Popovich will begin to rest key players for the grind to come.
That process appears to have begun in earnest on Sunday, when LaMarcus Aldridge, Danny Green, Patty Mills, Manu Ginobili and David Lee were all issued DNPs in a matinee victory over Utah. 

Star forward Kawhi Leonard, meanwhile, has informed the coaching staff he would prefer to play in each of the Spurs' remaining six contests.
RELATED: Kawhi Leonard's career quarter lifts Spurs over Jazz
"I told them I want to play out the games," Leonard said. "But we'll see what happens."
It is unlikely Leonard will get his wish. That six-pack of games is crammed into nine nights to close the season. There is a four-in-five-nights set, beginning Tuesday at home against Memphis. The slate closes with a two-game trip to Portland and Utah.
"That's a lot of games, a lot of activity for the end of the season," Popovich said. "I think we need to manage it wisely."
Translation: With the No. 2 seed all but guaranteed, expect more rest days to come. No player — not even Leonard — is likely to be immune.
Given the load he has been carrying at each end of the floor, the 25-year-old Leonard could probably use the breather. He is shooting only 29.8 percent from 3-point range since the All-Star break, perhaps one sign of tired legs.
RELATED: Patty Mills thinks Kawhi Leonard is a Spurs superhero
As Popovich has proven in the past, the Spurs do not run like a democracy. Leonard is free to put in his request to play. Popovich is free to ignore it, if he deems a rest game to be necessary.
JMcDonald@express-news.net
Twitter: @JMcDonald_SAEN
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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