Kawhi Leonard Womens Jersey

SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio Spurs will be without Kawhi Leonard(Kawhi Leonard Jersey), fellow starter Danny Green and two key reserves against Memphis on Friday night when they attempt to match the longest home winning streak to open a season.

Leonard suffered a bruised right quadriceps midway through the third quarter of San Antonio’s 112-88 victory over Miami on Wednesday night. His return is unknown, but the injury is not considered serious.

It was the Spurs’ 36th straight home victory to open the season, which is one shy of matching the league record set by the Chicago Bulls in 1995-96.

Leonard was injured after being fouled by Heat rookie Justise Winslow on a driving layup. San Antonio’s 6-foot-7, All-Star forward remained in the game to complete the three-point play and match his career high of 32 points, but exited thereafter with team trainer Will Sevening following close behind.

“He had to come out when he did because his leg was just … it was a good contusion so it was just stiff, it wouldn’t work,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “So, he had to come out. To put him back in wouldn’t have made any sense.”

In addition to being without Leonard, San Antonio is sitting Green and reserves Boris Diaw and Patty Mills for rest on Friday.

Popovich routinely rests his veteran players throughout the arduous, 82-game regular season to help them remain fresh and healthy for the postseason.

The Spurs were fined $250,000 by then-NBA commissioner David Stern when Popovich sent Green, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili home for rest on Nov. 29, 2012, rather than having them play Miami in the final game of a six-game road trip.

Stern said the fine was due to a litany of transgressions, but primarily because San Antonio did not alert the league or media of the players’ unavailability prior to the game.

Since then, the Spurs have announced in advance which players will rest.

Being without Leonard, Green, Diaw and Mills could be troublesome Wednesday, even though the Grizzlies are without injured starters Marc Gasol and Mike Conley.

Memphis holds a four-game lead over Portland for the fifth seed in the Western Conference.

San Antonio has an 11-game lead over Oklahoma City for the West’s second seed and trails Golden State by four for the top seed.

The Spurs have won 45 straight regular-season home games dating to March 2015, which matches the 1995-96 Bulls for the second-longest streak in league history and trails the Warriors’ current 51-game winning streak.

Authentic Chris Bosh Jersey

MIAMI — Chris Bosh(Chris Bosh Jersey) returned to the Miami Heat bench on Monday night, his first appearance since being sidelined by an unspecified injury last month.

Bosh was dressed in a gray sport coat and took a seat toward the end of the bench for Miami’s 124-119 victory against the Denver Nuggets. It was Bosh’s first time being seen at AmericanAirlines Arena since Feb. 9, Miami’s last home game before the All-Star break.

“It’s awesome having him around,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after the game. “I love Chris. I love having him around. He always has an intuitive feel of what I’m thinking, what needs to be relayed. He’s an example of leadership at all levels.

“This is the first one he was out here; normally he watches from the back. Even before the game, he was going through the scout [film] before our [pregame] meeting.”

It remains uncertain whether the 13-year veteran will return to play this season.

“It was cool to see him back out there,” teammate Dwyane Wade said. “We didn’t know he was coming out until he came out. It was a surprise for everybody. We trust his IQ, so when he comes to the bench, he’s telling us some of the things he sees.”

Bosh, who withdrew from the All-Star festivities in Toronto because of what originally was called a calf strain, issued a statement last week through his public relations firm saying he does not have deep vein thrombosis and that he is working with the Heat to explore precautionary treatment options and “taking every necessary step” to make sure he remains free of the condition moving forward.

This is the second time in as many years that Bosh’s season has been interrupted by a health scare. Last season, Bosh missed Miami’s final 30 games to treat a blood clot that had traveled from his calf to his lung and led to his dealing with severe pain and being hospitalized for several days.

The Heat (39-28) are fourth in the Eastern Conference standings — just a half-game behind Boston for No. 3 — with 15 regular-season games remaining. Miami has won 10 of 13 games since losing Bosh at the All-Star break.

“It’s great to have him back,” said Heat co-captain Udonis Haslem, who sat next to Bosh for most of the game. “Obviously, it’s not basketball. But when it comes to your health, there’s a lot of things more important than basketball. I’m just glad to see him back and in good spirits.

“To have his presence and words of wisdom, just to hear his voice over there, it was great. When he speaks, everybody listens because he doesn’t speak too often. So when it’s coming from C.B., it’s coming from a guy with experience, intelligence. Everything he’s telling you to do, it’s something he’d be out there doing himself.”

Authentic Stephen Curry Jersey

LOS ANGELES — Sunday served as a reminder that there’s a thin line between wondrous and perilous for the now 55-6 Golden State Warriors.

Even though their unexpected 112-95 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers left them still on track to surpass the Chicago Bulls’ 72-win season of 1995-96, it left them only 2.5 games ahead of the San Antonio Spurs in the pursuit of the NBA’s best record and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs this season.

Steve Kerr maintains the No. 1 seed is all that matters, that it’s pointless to speculate about winning 73 until it’s actually within reach. But the 73 talk is out there, awaiting the Warriors everywhere they go — to the detriment of the team’s focus, some in the Warriors organization believe. Yet it’s also possible that the goals are one and the same, that securing the top seed could necessitate winning 73 games. That’s how good the Spurs and their .855 winning percentage have been this season, with about 1/90th the buzz of the Warriors’ season.

Kerr says he believes any lamenting over missing a chance at history would quickly be erased by refocusing on the task at hand of winning a championship. What about missing out on not only the best team of all time but the best team of 2015-16? That would be, as Kerr said, “anti-climactic.” And falling behind the Spurs in the standings would probably mean carrying the additional mental weight of losing at least two of their remaining three games against San Antonio.

But the Warriors aren’t at a point of panic about seeding yet. Far from it.

“We’re still in control of that conversation,” Stephen Curry(Stephen Curry Jersey) said. “We want to keep looking ahead, not looking behind us. [The Spurs] are playing well. But we don’t need any help down the stretch. We’ve got control of our own pace. We’ve allowed ourselves that room to maybe drop one here or there, but we’ve gotta turn it back on.”

If the Warriors are a shooting team, they need to have that shooter’s mentality: the belief that no matter how many misses they rack up the next one’s going in. Curry made only one of his 10 3-point shots Sunday — just enough to keep his streak of hitting a 3-pointer in consecutive games alive at 131 straight — and no one thinks he’s about to pack away his jump shot. Klay Thompson surely won’t stop firing after his 0-for-8 performance.

The ability to turn it on when they need to has pushed the Warriors to 55 victories so far. It’s why Kerr didn’t berate them in the locker room for this lackluster effort. He knows the impossibility of asking a room full of athletes to be at their competitive best for 82 regular-season games of varying significance. He recognizes the professionalism they have shown in keeping the lapses to a minimum.

That didn’t mean he found Sunday’s effort acceptable.

“It’s the NBA, and if you’re not ready to play, anything can happen,” Kerr said. “And we weren’t ready. We had zero attention span out there at either end of the floor. Our guards were leaking out, not helping on the glass, turning the ball over, over and over again. Not following the scouting report defensively, not putting any pressure on the ball. And the Lakers played a great game.”

It would be easy to point to the Warriors’ 4-for-30 long-range shooting display and say, “See! That’s what happens when jump-shooting teams go cold.” That wasn’t what this loss would be about. The Warriors are built to survive cold-shooting performances. Before Sunday, the Warriors had shot below the league average of 35 percent on 3-pointers 14 times and still managed to win 13 of those games. (The lone loss came in Milwaukee the night after a double-overtime win in Boston).

Sunday the Warriors combined poor shooting with pitiful effort. That’s what did them in. The Lakers jumped into passing lanes, leaped for rebounds and hustled for loose balls.

“They beat us from start to finish,” Andrew Bogut said. “We didn’t come out and compete the way that we have to compete.”

Kerr likes to joke with Curry that Warrior miscues are due to the “Millennial mentality” of this young team. The undelivered punchline is that the Warriors so often display the opposite of the entitled-attitude stereotype of the generation. But Sunday?

“Guilty as charged,” Curry said.

You could chalk it up to an early Sunday afternoon game against an inferior opponent after a Saturday night in Los Angeles, which might be as valid an explanation as any.

“In an 82-game season, there are so many variables that go into it,” Curry said. We’ve been pretty good at mastering those every single night. We haven’t played well every night, we haven’t brought our A-plus game, but we’ve found a way to win. That’s what we’ve been most proud of all year.

“The big thing is how we respond [after the loss].”

Not just big, but necessary, for their shot at history and their quest for the No. 1 seed. The teams in the third and fourth Western Conference spots, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers, spent last week saying that seeds didn’t matter and only health and momentum going into the playoffs were important. That could be why they’re the third and fourth seeds.

The Warriors believe things like the No. 1 seed are important, and have spent much of the season acting in that manner. The response to their previous loss, a road pounding to the Portland Trail Blazers coming out of the All-Star break, was to win the next five games on their trip, culminating in that memorable overtime victory in Oklahoma City. Their response to the loss before that, against the Detroit Pistons, was to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers and Spurs by a combined 107 points over the next four games.

“We’ll be all right,” Curry said after Golden State’s defeat.

It sounded more like belief in what his team can do than denial about the way his team had just played. If the Warriors want everything they’ve openly sought, they’ll need to be more than all right.