‘Pop’ pissed at Zaza, Leonard ‘doubtful’ for Game 2
Published on Monday, 5/15/17, at 5:27 p.m. Eastern.
With San Antonio leading Golden St. by 21 points with 7:37 remaining in the third quarter of Sunday’s series opener of the Western Conference finals, Spurs’ star Kawhi Leonard took a deep baseline jumper. Warriors’ center Zaza Pachulia contested the shot but extended his foot so far that Leonard landed on it.
Keep in mind, this is the same ankle that caused Leonard to miss Game 6 of the West semifinals at Houston. Leonard’s ankle immediately twisted and he was unable to return to the game.
Without its leading scorer, San Antonio’s offense became stagnant and its best defender was no longer on Steph Curry, Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson. Therefore, Golden St. rallied and captured a 113-111 win, but the Spurs took the cash as 10-point underdogs. The 224 combined points jumped ‘over’ the 209.5-point total.
Leonard underwent an MRI today and Gregg Popovich indicated that he’s unlikely to play in Tuesday’s Game 2. He is officially listed as ‘doubtful’ right now. Once that news leaked earlier today, most betting shops adjusted Golden St. from a 13-point favorite to a 14-point ‘chalk.’
When he met with the media today, Popovich wasn’t shy about expressing his thoughts on the play by Pachulia.
Pop said, “How much more difficult is it? Come on, man. How would it be if Curry didn’t play? How much more difficult would that be? I’m not a happy camper. But that’s a silly question. The two-step lead with your foot closeout is not appropriate. It’s dangerous, it’s unsportsmanlike, it’s just not what anybody does to anybody else. This particular individual has a history with that kind of action. You can go back and look at the Dallas game where he got a Flagrant 2 for elbowing Patty Mills. The play where he took Kawhi down and locked his arm in Dallas and could’ve broken his arm. Ask David West, his current teammate, how things went when Zaza was playing for Dallas and he and David got into it. Then think about the history he’s had and what that means to a team, what happened last night. A totally unnatural closeout that the league outlawed years ago and pays great attention to it. And Kawhi’s not there. And you want to know how we feel about it? You want to know if that lessens our chances? We’re playing very possibly the best team in the league. We don’t know what’s going to happen in the East. But 9.75 people out of 10 figure the Warriors will beat the Spurs. Well, we’ve had a pretty damn good season. We’ve played fairly well in the playoffs. I think we’re getting better. And we’re up 23 points in the third quarter against Golden State and Kawhi goes down — like that — and you want to know if our chances are less and how we feel? That’s how we feel.”
This tweet/clip (h/t to @Phoenix_6ix) below shows several of the plays Pop mentions from Zaza’s days in Dallas.
What Zaza Pachulia did to Kawhi Leonard wasn’t an accident. He has a history of being a dirty player. pic.twitter.com/13hY6SsYMO
— Abdi G (@Phoenix_6ix) May 15, 2017