Gregg Popovich Rips Zaza Pachulia For ‘Unsportsmanlike’ Play Against Kawhi Leonard

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich went off on Zaza Pachulia the morning after Kahwi Leonard came down awkwardly on Pachulia’s foot in the third quarter of Game 1 on Sunday.

Pop said Pachulia took a “two-step, lead-with-your-foot closeout” that was meant to injure Leonard.

Calling it an “unsportsmanlike” play, Pop went on to list three instances of Pachulia’s “dangerous” play against the Spurs from last season alone—elbowing Patty Mills, locking Kawhi’s arm, getting into it with David West.

“A two-step, lead-with-your-foot closeout is not appropriate.


“It’s dangerous, it’s unsportsmanlike, it’s just not what anybody does to anybody else. And this particular individual has a history with that kind of action.


“A totally unnatural closeout that the League has outlawed years ago and pays great attention to it. And Kawhi is not there. And you want to know how we feel about it. You want to know if that 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 the East—and 9.75 people out of 10 would 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 want to know if our chances are less, and you want to know how we feel? That’s how we feel.”

Pachulia chose not to respond to Popovich’s comments on Monday, and maintained that he closed out properly against Leonard’s shot.

Kawhi Leonard Says Zaza Pachulia Wasn’t Making A Dirty Play