Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry, left, shoots past San Antonio Spurs' Dewayne Dedmon during the first half of Game 2 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Tuesday, May 16, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. San Antonio's head coach, Greg Popovich, tried every combination of players to put a dent into the lead.
I'll write a column with my opinions on all this in a bit, but for now, here's what Pachulia was asked, and how he answered. "Because I want to say the last time and that's it: I did whatever I had to do".
Switched out when Kevin Durant was screened off Leonard, Pachulia pushed up on Leonard as he rose to shoot. Further advanced while Leonard was in the air, Pachulia's left foot rested nearly directly beneath Leonard.
"A two-step, lead-with-your-foot closeout is not appropriate". He called the play unsafe and unsportsmanlike. "And this particular individual (Pachulia) has a history with that kind of action".
Popovich pointed to a history of borderline plays by Pachulia during his time with Dallas against the Spurs, including a flagrant foul against Patty Mills, a play where he locked arms with Mills in a way that "could have broken his arm", according to Popovich, and run-ins with David West, who now plays for the Warriors.
Popovich lashed out at Warriors center Zaza Pachulia for his defense on Leonard, telling reporters Monday that the play was "dangerous" and "unsportsmanlike" and citing a past pattern of such play by Pachulia. "He didn't have intent".
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Rule No. 1: Don't let Popovich ever bait you. You still go to jail, I think, when you're texting and you end up killing somebody but may have not meant to do that.
Even after he yelled out he was the Warriors acting coach, pointing to his shirt, ' the policeman responded: " I don't care. And the history there exasperates the whole situation and makes me very, very angry.
"Obviously, there was a chain of events that happened", Brown said. "Right before that, Kawhi stepped on David Lee's foot and tweaked his ankle".
West would only classify the play where Leonard was hurt as a "tough play", adding that "things happen". That's the same call you just called on Zaza?' And both of them told me the difference was Kawhi landed on Zaza's foot. "So it's the same play". That's why Popovich made these comments.
I really feel bad foor the guy. "I wish it didn't happen and it had a different result, basically". It's one thing when you get on the wrong side of the Thunder. Especially to Pop, I would guess. He's become one of the league's best players, and his absence could end any chance the Spurs had of pulling off the upset. I'm just saying take cover if this series now gets out of hand, say 2-0 and clearly headed for 3-0 in the late stages on Saturday night in San Antonio.
"This is the game of basketball, a lot of insane stuff happens on the court, unfortunately", he said. All those points, hustle plays, all those rebounds... whatever you do, it doesn't count unless you win the game. My approach to this game for the 14 years I've been in this league is to play hard and give 100 percent of whatever I have.
"I have a lot of respect for Coach Pop and the Spurs organization", Pachulia said.