While Kawhi Leonard didn't want to say Zaza Pachulia made a dirty play by taking an extra step on a closeout, which ended up injuring the Spurs star, his coach decided to unleash all sorts of accusations toward the Warriors center.
"A two-step, lead with your foot closeout is not appropriate," Gregg Popovich said Monday at practice. "It's dangerous. It's unsportsmanlike. It's just not what anybody does to anybody else. And that particular individual has a history with that type of action."
Popovich then brought up an incident with Patty Mills, a previous one with Leonard and a moment last season with then-Spur David West and Pachulia.
"Think about the history he's had, and what that means to a team, what happened last night," he continued. "A totally unnatural closeout that the league has outlawed years ago and pays great attention to it. And Kawhi's not there. And you want to know how we feel about it."
When the word "intent" came up, Popovich went off again on the Zaza play #Spurs #Warriors pic.twitter.com/hcyy9v6hBl— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) May 15, 2017
Popovich usually is pretty even-tempered with his comments, so it's a little surprising to see him be so critical of a player. But after announcing that Leonard likely will be out for Game 2, apparently he felt like he needed to defend his guy.
As for Pachulia, he denied that the play was dirty.
"That's really stupid," Pachulia said about speculation he had intent with his move. "I hate [seeing] anybody go down like that with an injury. I'm an athlete, too."
Was Zaza Pachulia trying to INTENTIONALLY injure Kawhi Leonard? #Dubs #NBA #Spurs— Fans Favorite FAN (@FansFavoriteFan) May 14, 2017
The play has been speculated about since it happened, and it likely will continue as the series goes on. San Antonio looked in control of Game 1 before Leonard went down and then blew a 25-point lead, giving Golden State a 1-0 series advantage. Game 2 is Tuesday.