The talk of basketball right now is whether or not Zaza Pachulia committed a dirty play on Kawhi Leonard in Sunday’s game, which helped the Golden State Warriors come back from 25 points down. Obviously, Leonard went down, never returned and will probably miss Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals to nurse his ankle, but even after the game, he didn’t think what Zaza did was a dirty play.
Coach Gregg Popovich begs to differ.
Today at a press conference, the San Antonio Spurs coach completely went off about how dirty Zaza really is, saying he’s known to have a reputation for these type of dirty plays over the course of his career and even called out the league by saying, “totally unnatural and illegal closeout that the league has outlawed years ago.” He went on to point out an elbow to Patty Mills, another play where he almost broke Leonard’s arm and asked the media to talk to David West about how they got into it when Pachulia was playing for the Dallas Mavericks.
We’re sure the league will respond to this incident at some point, but it has significantly changed the complexion of the series. Before, it was known the Warriors were going to win. Now it’s looking like a straight sweep. Can the Spurs win without Kawhi?
“My approach to this game for 14 years that I’ve been in the league is to play hard and give 100 percent of whatever I have. So, I don’t agree with the calls that I’m a dirty player. I’m not a dirty player. I love this game and I’m playing hard. That’s what I was taught since Day 1. I really feel bad for the guy. I wish it didn’t happen, I wish it had a different result basically. But again, it’s a game there’s stuff you can’t control it right. I have a lot of respect for Kawhi. I think he’s one of the best players in this league and I wish him all the best to get healthy. But, we’re going to move on. This is the game of basketball. A lot of crazy stuff happens on the court, unfortunately.”