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Gregg Popovich.

Gregg Popovich takes subtle dig at Kawhi Leonard with praise for LaMarcus Aldridge

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The San Antonio Spurs made it to the playoffs for the 21st consecutive season and maintained the NBA's longest streak but after just two games in the first round, they're staring elimination in the face.

Their reward for eventually securing a postseason berth in a hugely competitive Western Conference was an opening round encounter with the defending champions, the Golden State Warriors.

The Dubs took a 2-0 series lead on Monday night as they blew the Spurs away with a second-half surge that saw them claim a 116-101 win.

San Antonio gave a much better account of themselves in game two after they were blown away in game one.

They led 53-47 at half-time and were playing with more aggression but the Warriors just had too much quality in the second half.

After a poor showing in the first encounter in Oakland, LaMarcus Aldridge put in a great performance in last night's loss.

He finished with a double-double of 34 points and 12 rebounds. The power forward's display drew praise from head coach Gregg Popovich after the game.

San Antonio Spurs v Golden State Warriors - Game Two

Reading between the lines, Pop may have chosen his words of praise for Aldridge specifically as it could easily be translated as a subtle dig at Kawhi Leonard in the process.

“LaMarcus has been a monster all year long,” coach Popovich said after the game. “He’s led our team at both ends of the floor.

“He doesn’t complain about a darn thing out on the court, he just plays through everything.

"I can’t imagine being more proud of a player as far as playing through adversity and being there for his teammates night after night after night. He’s been fantastic.”

Of course, this could just be Pop's way of showing appreciation to the All-Star for a brilliant season and his value to the team.

Coming back from 2-0 against a formidable opponent like the Warriors - even without Stephen Curry - is a tall order but Aldridge is not prepared to give up and believes they can turn it around at home.

“We’re not going to roll over. We’ve got to take the mentality that we had tonight, trying to take the fight to them,” Aldridge said, per Baxter Holmes of ESPN.

San Antonio Spurs v Golden State Warriors - Game Two

“You know, go home with that same mentality and hopefully, we’ll shoot the ball better from the three, and guys [will] be feeling better.

"I feel like it should be good for us going home, but we’ve got to take the same intensity from tonight home with us.”

The Spurs will have to win game three on Thursday night to stand any chance of turning it around but at this moment, they're in danger of suffering a sweep at the hands of the Bay Area franchise for a second straight season.

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Topics:
Manu Ginobili
San Antonio Spurs
Southwest Division
Western Conference
NBA
Kawhi Leonard
LaMarcus Aldridge

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