Gregg Popovich was heated on Monday discussing Zaza Pachulia and the play that knocked Kawhi Leonard out of Game 1 Sunday night.
And while he stopped short of saying Pachulia intended to hurt Leonard, he did everything but make that accusation.
Pop on Zaza: Who cares about his intent? Ever hear about manslaughter?
— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) May 15, 2017
In fact, he went off listing off all the other incidents that ZaZa Pachulia has been involved in.
— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) May 15, 2017
Popovich also said that Leonard won’t be able to play Tuesday in Game 2, and he’s clearly upset about the circumstances surrounding this.
Kevin Durant was asked if he thought Pachulia intended to hurt Leonard on the play, and of course he defended his teammate. He also took his defense a step further and criticized “irrational people” on social media who thought it was a dirty play. Leonard himself has said he doesn’t think it was a dirty play.
It certainly didn’t look dirty, but it’s easy to understand why people would think the intent was there to take Leonard out of the game. After all, the San Antonio Spurs were absolutely dominating the Golden State Warriors before Leonard had to leave the game.
After he was no longer a factor, that’s when the Warriors came back to win by two points.
Popovich has every right to be angry and frustrated. Without Leonard, the Spurs likely have no chance to knock off the Warriors in this series. Even with him, it was a long shot to begin with.