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Gregg Popovich: Spurs coach fury at Pachulia over Leonard injury in NBA playoffs

Gregg Popovich: Spurs coach fury at Pachulia over Leonard injury in NBA playoffs

Zaza Pachulia of the Golden State Warriors insisted that he had not meant to injure Spurs star Kawhi Leonard

Leonard hobbled out of Sunday's defeat in Oakland in the third quarter after Pachulia followed through as he attempted to close down Leonard.

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich lashed out at Golden State Warriors center Zaza Pachulia on Monday, blaming the Georgian international for dangerous play over the incident that has ruled Kawhi Leonard out of Game 2.

Leonard hobbled out of Sunday's defeat in Oakland in the third quarter after Pachulia followed through as he attempted to close down Leonard as the Spurs star attempted a jump shot.

Pachulia has insisted that he had not meant to injure the Spurs star in the incident. Leonard had helped San Antonio into a commanding 78-55 lead when he limped off with an ankle injury.

Golden State later rallied to snatch a dramatic 113-111 win to go 1-0 up in the Western Conference series.

But Spurs coach Popovich was in no mood to accept Pachulia's version of events as he spoke to reporters on Monday as the Spurs confirmed Leonard was out of Game 2 on Tuesday.

"I'm not a happy camper," Popovich said of Pachulia.

"A two step lead with your foot close out is not appropriate. It's dangerous, it's unsportsmanlike, it's just not what anybody does, to anybody else."

Popovich then accused Pachulia of having a history of foul play.

"This particular individual has a history with that kind of action," Popovich said.

"You can go back and look at Dallas games where he got a flagrant two for elbowing Patty Mills. There was a play where he took Kawhi down and locked his arm, and could have broken his arm, in Dallas."

Popovich suggested he believed Pachulia should face disciplinary action regardless of intent.

"Because he has this history it can't just be 'Oh it was inadvertent. He didn't have intent'. Who gives a damn what his intent was? You ever heard of manslaughter? You still go to jail if you're texting and you kill somebody," Popovich fumed.

"All I care about is what I saw and what happened. And the history there makes me very very angry."

Pachulia had brushed off criticism on Sunday immediately after the game.

"That's really stupid," Pachulia said. "I did my part. I had to challenge the shot. I saw my teammate was behind the screen, and I had to challenge the shot. "That's what I did. I turned around for the rebound, and that was it. I hate anybody coming down with an injury. I'm an athlete, too, so I know how it feels," Pachulia said.

Source: sport

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