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Kawhi Leonard out for Game 6 in Houston

Kawhi Leonard

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard leaves the court following the team’s 125-104 lost to the Houston Rockets in Game 4 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)


Through the playoffs, the San Antonio Spurs have been 20.9 points per 100 possessions better when Kawhi Leonard is on the court. If fact, they have generally struggled when he sat.

The big exception to that was the fourth quarter and overtime of Game 5, when Leonard sat with a sprained ankle and Manu Ginobili played like it was a decade ago to lead the Spurs to a huge win against the Rockets. Now the question becomes, can the Spurs do that for 48 minutes on the road.

Because Kawhi Leonard is out for Game 6, Popovich announced pregame.

Jonathon Simmons will get the start after a strong Game 5.

The Spurs have a long history of the next man stepping up and making plays, if the Rockets let up because of this it will cost them. Houston has to play with real desperation — and their role players have to knock down threes.

Will Leonard be ready to go if there is a Game 7 Sunday? It’s going to be hard to keep a competitor like that off the floor, but Popovich isn’t going to let his star risk long-term injury.