Gregg Popovich reiterated that Kawhi Leonard’s continued absence from the San Antonio Spurs during their run in the Western Conference playoffs stems from the lack of clearance from the star forward’s medical team for a return to the court.
A league source said the club doesn’t expect Leonard back at any point during the postseason, and has harbored that belief since the week after the All-Star break.
Leonard briefly returned to the team from his rehabilitation stint in New York in March, but decided in April to head back East to focus on the rehab process.
Pelton: Philadelphia 76ers. With Kyrie Irving injured and the Boston Celtics no longer so formidable as a second-round matchup, the Sixers clearly have the easiest path to the conference finals. And since almost any opponent there is going to be difficult, I guess I’d say that also means Philadelphia has the easiest path to the NBA Finals.
Ogwumike: The Cavs have had nine lives so far this season. Add the playoff bracket to the count. Not as blatantly obvious as last year, Cleveland’s late losses this season have positioned the Cavaliers best for postseason success.
Schneider, who seemed to hurt his groin in a collision with Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh midway through the final period, survived a late power play to nail down the win.
It was Schneider’s first playoff win since 2012, when he was with the Vancouver Canucks, and his first win with the Devils since Dec. 27. Schneider had gone 0-10-2 in his final 12 games for the Devils this season.
After the game, Devils forward Blake Coleman said, “[Brian] Boyle and I looked at each other halfway through the game and said to each other, ‘This is the Cory that we know.’ ”
Devils coach John Hynes decided to make the switch in goal with New Jersey trailing 2-0 in the best-of-seven series.
Game 4 will be Wednesday night at the Prudential Center.