Pachulia responds to Popovich: “I’m not a dirty player”
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May 15, 2017 - 7:43pm
[...] much for the boring NBA playoffs.
San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich ratcheted up the volume Monday, accusing Warriors center Zaza Pachulia of an “unsportsmanlike” play Sunday in Game 1.
The incident knocked All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard out of the game and also will keep him out of Game 2 on Tuesday night.
Leonard re-injured his sprained ankle in the third quarter, when Pachulia contested his jump shot in front of San Antonio’s bench.
“A two-step, lead-with-your-foot closeout is not appropriate,” Popovich said during his team’s media availability at a downtown San Francisco hotel.
Moments after the Warriors completed their workout, Pachulia plopped into a director’s chair and faced a media throng.
Two of the incidents he mentioned occurred in February 2016, during a game between the Spurs and Dallas Mavericks, for whom Pachulia then played.
On one play, he and Leonard went to the floor pursuing a loose ball and Pachulia sort of pinned Leonard’s arm.
In the same game, Pachulia and then-Spurs forward David West - now a teammate with the Warriors - got into a heated confrontation, with Pachulia swinging an elbow and West jawing at him.
Warriors acting head coach Mike Brown made a point of comparing the Pachulia/Leonard incident to another play in Sunday’s game, later in the third quarter.
“You take an MVP candidate off the team, that’s tough,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said.
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