The Warriors big man closed out on Leonard's jumpshot, and Leonard landed on Pachulia's foot, twisting the same ankle he injured in the team's previous series against the Rockets.
In case you were wondering what Spurs coach Gregg Popovich thought about the incident, he laid it all out on Monday afternoon. After announcing that he, Popovich enumerated a list of what he felt were dirty plays on Pachulia's part, including a previous incident with Leonard in which he "could have broken his arm," before getting into the Game 1 play specifically.
"Think about the history [Pachulia has] had, and what that means to a team -- what happened last night. A totally unnatural closeout that the league has outlawed years ago, and pays great attention to it. And Kawhi's not there. ... We're up 23 points in the third quarter against Golden State, and Kawhi goes down ... like that. And you wanna know if our chances are less? You wanna know how we feel? That's how we feel."
Popovich added that even if it wasn't intentional, that doesn't stop it from being a dirty play.
To sum up Pop: Zaza has a history, it was a bs play, "I don't give a damn about intent, you still go to jail for manslaughter."— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) May 15, 2017
Here's the entire transcript:
You can't really blame Popovich for being fired up given the fact that he just lost his best player to what he feels was a dirty play. But, as many Twitter users immediately pointed out, Popovich would do well to remember that he was the coach of a player most claim was the dirtiest in the league -- Bruce Bowen.
In fact, Bowen was accused multiple times of doing the very same thing that Popovich accused Pachulia of -- sliding underneath a shooter's foot -- and was also known to go a bit farther than that, even.
Whether Pachulia's play was dirty or not won't change the fact that Leonard is injured, and Popovich now has to figure out how to beat the Warriors without his best player.