Several of the NBA’s rookies, who won Rookie of the Year awards after being selected in the second or third round, are coming off storied teams: Kyrie Irving won the award four times as a rookie (2014-15), Harrison Barnes a single season in the league (2015-16), DeMarcus Cousins and D’Angelo Russell are winners with two-year rookie and Hall of Famers Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook won Rookie of the Year for a pair of seasons. Former Laker Andre Iguodala won this award twice — he won it two years ago with the Denver Nuggets and last year with the San Antonio Spurs. Kevin Durant won it in 2014 and has won it three times, as has Russell Westbrook.
San Francisco’s run with the NBA’s best rookies came to an end on Sunday night when the Spurs secured the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. Earlier in the game, the NBA announced San Francisco’s win over the Portland Trail Blazers in the Eastern Conference semifinals and their semi-final win over the Thunder earlier in the season. The Spurs (46-17) will face the second-seeded Trail Blazers in the conference finals. The Spurs will be hoping San Francisco will show some signs of life under the high-powered hands of head coach Gregg Popovich.
The Spurs were on a tear from the beginning. After leading the Trail Blazers by 15 points at halftime, the Spurs took control for good thanks to a combined 121 points from LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard. Leonard led the NBA with 13 rebounds and 3.7 blocks while, Aldridge led all players with 22 points. San Francisco led by double digits at halftime and led by more than 20 for the game, and then the Spurs got things going in the third quarter by outscoring the Blazers 19-5 after the first eight minutes.
The Spurs will take on the Oklahoma City Thunder in the conference finals, a game that will be played in Houston on Monday. Oklahoma City has won five straight games over San Francisco to claim the league’s best record.
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