It took one question for Gregg Popovich to go off.
The San Antonio Spurs head coach wasn't in a forgiving mood after his starting point guard, Kawhi Leonard, left Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals with a sprained ankle.
Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, a former Atlanta Hawk and current Golden State Warriors center, stepped on Leonard's ankle while closing out. Leonard was taking a three-point shot from the wing, and after the shot, Pachulia took a second step forward right onto Leonard's ankle while looking away.
A debate has broken out whether or not Pachulia did it intentionally or if it was just a reckless play.
There's no convincing me Zaza Pachulia wasn't trying to injure Kawhi Leonard. Dirty play. pic.twitter.com/O2vn3SSfKd— Dan Molloy (@DanMolloyTV) May 14, 2017
Popovich wasn't asked what he thought about the play. Instead he was asked about how difficult it is to move forward with Leonard, the team's leading scorer, possibly on the bench for Game 2.
"Come on man, how much more difficult is it? How much more difficult would it be if [Stephen] Curry didn't play? How much more difficult would that be?" Popovich began.
"I'm not a happy camper, but that's a silly question. A two-step lead with your foot closeout is not appropriate. It's dangerous. It's unsportsmanlike like. It's just not what anybody does to anybody else. And this particular individual has a history with that kind of action. You can go back and look at Dallas games where he got a flagrant 2 for elbowing Patty Mills. The play where he took Kawai down in Dallas and could have broken his arm. Ask David West, his current teammate, how things went when Zaza was playing for Dallas and he and David got into it. And then think about the history he's 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. And you want to know how we feel about it. You want to know if it lessens our chances or not. We're playing very possibly the best team in the league. We don't know what's going to happen in East; 9.75 people out of 10 which figure the Warriors will beat the Spurs. Well, we've had a pretty damn good season. We've played fairly well in the playoffs. I think we're getting better. And 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, and you want to know how we feel? That's how we feel.
The rant ended with a smile from Popovich, but it is clear he isn't happy. Popovich said he didn't call the league because he knows they will review the play. But in all honestly, he doesn't care what happens. What's done is done.
The Warriors went on to erase the Spurs' 23-point lead they held in the third quarter, and key plays by Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry down the stretch helped the Warriors clinch the win 113-111.
Game 2 is on Tuesday.
Coach Pop addresses the media. WATCH: pic.twitter.com/oBJdaqkVdp— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) May 15, 2017
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