“That’s really stupid”, Pachulia said of the criticism. “With the team that we have, the veteran guys, their composure, and then the firepower, we know that we’re always going to have a chance”.
Kawhi Leonard, who sat out Game 6 against the Houston Rockets in the last series after he sprained his ankle coming down on James Harden, went down twice in the game in the span of 36 minutes, the second time for good, both times on the same ankle while taking the same kind of shot. With Leonard, the Spurs probably would have been able to weather the storm better.
“We see this quite often in the NBA where that defender, they just go a little too far and you’re not allowed to take the landing area away from the jump shooter”, Joe Borgia, the NBA’s senior vice president of replay and referee operations, said Sunday while discussing the foul that was called on Pachulia on his “Making the Call” video segment on NBA.com. Zaza Pachulia’s questionable play to close in on Leonard’s shot, by sliding his feet underneath, changed the complexity of the game. Thompson playfully swore it would never happen again. “Play a team like that, can’t make the mistakes we made”.
The play happened in front of the Spurs bench and Popovich was angry at the time and even more upset a day after San Antonio’s 113-111 loss to the Warriors.
The Warriors missed their initial five 3-point tries before Curry hit 5:05 before halftime to ignite a stunned-into-silence sellout crowd as Golden State got within 46-32.
The Spurs and Warriors get back on the court for Game 2 on Tuesday. “It’s the playoffs. You’ve got to take a win any way you can get it”. But teams that win more than 65 games in the regular season, like the Warriors, have a 43-3 series record after winning Game 1. He went 7-of-10 from the field and scored 20 points in the last 19:53.
Golden State outscored the Spurs 58-33 after Leonard’s exit. No other starter for the Spurs finished in double-figures, while Manu Ginobili and Jonathon Simmons added 17 and 12, respectively, off the bench. And Leonard himself agreed after the game.
Skip Bayless spoke for a lot of San Antonio Spurs fans who wanted a fair shot against the Golden State Warriors. Guys are playing hard.
The easy narrative here is that the Pachulia intentionally slid his foot under Leonard, knowing his ankle was tender, and intentionally put Leonard out for the game. Dirty play that sure looked on goal. I mean, we’re not that type of team. “All I care about is what I saw”. I think we’re getting better and we’re up 23 points in the third quarter against Golden State. Now, Leonard’s status for the remainder of the best-of-seven series is in question. Of course. It was Kerr and Brown and Curry and Durant (both were unbelievable in the second half) and the Warriors defense and the crowd and… yes, for the Warriors players, it felt more complete just because Kerr was there. Andre Iguodala was limited by a sore left knee. Gregg Popovich was thoroughly poking holes into the strategy of Mike Brown, who is filling in for head coach Steve Kerr.
Before the playoffs, the Spurs, with Leonard, had a 15 percent chance of advancing to the NBA Finals, per FiveThirtyEight’s projections.