We’ve now come full circle on the debate about whether Zaza Pachulia’s closout on Kahwi Leonard was a dirty play or not. After his old head coach Gregg Popovich accused Pachulia of being dirty, Bruce Bowen himself has chimed in on the debate.
“That play? I’ve watched it and, yeah, I thought he took an extra step,” Bowen said, per Mike Monroe of Bleacher Report. “Plenty of time to stop where he did, but he continued moving in that direction of Kawhi. That seems like it’s intentional and it’s definitely dangerous.”
For those who may not have seen the play, here it is once again.
Kawhi Leonard is tough as nails. Second sprained ankle in a matter of minutes – pic.twitter.com/Jq0hlZtA4l
— Harrison Wind (@HarrisonWind) May 14, 2017
Now, many have said that, intentional or not, what Pachulia did was dirty. It’s easy to understand where people are coming from on that side of the argument. After all, walking under a jump shooter is going to get a guy injured at some point.
Bowen spoke to that a bit, but he does think Pachulia intended to put his foot into a spot that could hurt Leonard.
“What was his intent?” Bowen said. “You can rewind something five times and convince yourself of anything. What I saw, he kept moving in that direction after he contested the shot. You know you have to let a player come down. He kept walking into that space, so, for me, that says more about the intent.”
The guys on TNT on Monday night went at this debate pretty hard as well, and opinions were split on the matter.
The NBA didn’t see what Pachulia did as egregious. He was not suspended, but Bowen thinks if he had been the one to do what Pachulia did he’d have gotten the hook.
“I don’t know what is going to happen to Zaza,” Bowen said, “but if that had been me, I know what would have happened: suspension.”
The one thing that is pretty hypocritical about all this, however, is that Popovich himself once blasted folks for saying Bowen was dirty when he was busted for doing exactly what Pachulia did on the play in which Leonard was injured.
So, being an outsider looking in on this debate, it’s pretty amusing that Bowen would dare say Pachulia’s actions are somehow dirty when his own were not.