Pop: Kawhi out for Game 2 after Zaza’s ‘dangerous,’ ‘unsportsmanlike’ play

San Antonio Spurs conduct manager Gregg Popovich said Monday that All-Star brazen Kawhi Leonard will not play in Game 2 of a 2017 Western Conference finals opposite a Golden State Warriors, and called a play by Warriors core Zaza Pachulia that resulted in Leonard’s damage “dangerous,” “unsportsmanlike” and inapt during a burning event with reporters.


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“He’s in an MRI right now,” Popovich said when he met with a media on Monday afternoon. “But we would theory he’d be out.”

Later, though, Popovich said: “We’ll see. We’ll see what a MRI says. But, obviously, he won’t play tomorrow.”

Leonard, who had harmed his ankle in Game 5 of San Antonio’s second-round array opposite a Houston Rockets and missed a determining Game 6, left Sunday’s Game 1 opposite a Warriors with a left ankle sprain after alighting on a feet of Warriors core Zaza Pachulia while sharpened with only underneath 8 mins remaining in a third quarter:

Leonard had been shining to that point, scoring 26 points on 7-for-13 sharpened with 8 rebounds, 3 assists and one take in 24 mins of building time to hint a Spurs to a 23-point lead over a heavily adored Warriors. When Leonard left a diversion after creation his dual giveaway throws, San Antonio led 78-55. Immediately after his exit, a Warriors ripped off an 18-0 run to get behind within distinguished distance, before overtaking a Spurs in a final entertain and finishing off a 113-111 win to take a 1-0 lead in a best-of-seven series.

After Leonard’s exit, and generally after a Warriors came behind to kick a Leonard-less Spurs team, accusations of unwashed play and questions of vigilant came to a forefront. Leonard, for his part, pronounced he didn’t consider Pachulia’s play was dirty, yet rather that a Golden State core was only perplexing to competition his jumper and unintentionally finished adult with his feet underneath Leonard’s alighting spot.

“Did he step underneath it? Like, [on] purpose?” Leonard said. “No, he was contesting a shot. The shot time was entrance down. I’ll have to see a play.”

After a game, Pachulia insisted there was no malice intended, and pronounced it was “really stupid” that anyone would consider he slid underneath Leonard on purpose with a vigilant to harm a Spurs’ best player.

“I did my part. Like we said, we had to plea a shot generally [because] it was a handoff situation,” Pachulia said. “You saw my teammate was behind a screen, so we had to plea a shot. That’s what we did … I’m an athlete, too, so, we know how it feels and we don’t wish it to anybody, even yet we are confronting opposite them.”

Leonard underwent an MRI to establish a border of a damage on Monday, and Popovich told reporters that his star brazen would expected skip Game 2. He also done it really transparent that, conscious or no, he was livid during Pachulia’s play and a massacre it wrought.

Asked how most some-more formidable it would be for a Spurs to hit off Golden State though Leonard in a lineup, Popovich said, “Come on, man,” and began to unload.

“How most some-more formidable is it? How would it be if [Stephen] Curry didn’t play?” Popovich said. “How most some-more formidable would that be? I’m not a happy camper, yet that’s a stupid question.”

Popovich afterwards incited his courtesy to how Pachulia’s feet came to be underneath Leonard.

“A two-step, lead-with-your-foot closeout is not appropriate,” he said. “It’s dangerous. It’s unsportsmanlike. It’s only not what anybody does to anybody else. And this sold particular has a story with that kind of action. You can go behind and demeanour in Dallas [Mavericks] games, where [Pachulia, who played for a Mavs during a 2015-16 season] got a flagrant-[1] for elbowing Patty Mills. The play where he took Kawhi down and sealed his arm, in Dallas. Could’ve damaged his arm. Ask David West, his stream teammate, how things went when Zaza was personification for Dallas and he and David got into it. And afterwards consider about a story he’s had, and what that means to a team, what happened final night.

“A totally assumed closeout that the joining has outlawed years ago, and pays good courtesy to it. And Kawhi’s not there. And we wish to know how we feel about it. You wish to know if that lessens a chances or not. We’re personification really presumably a best group in a joining — we know, we don’t know what’s going to occur in a East — and 9.75 people out of 10 would figure that a Warriors will kick a Spurs. Well, we’ve had a flattering damn good season, we’ve played sincerely good in a playoffs, we consider we’re removing better, and we’re adult 23 points in a third entertain opposite Golden State. And Kawhi goes down, like that, and we wish to know if a chances are less? And we wish to know how we feel? That’s how we feel.”

Popovich afterwards invited follow-up questions, eliciting laughs from a fabricated reporters. But when he got one — about either he suspicion Pachulia dictated to harm Leonard — he squandered small time in going behind in.

“Because [Pachulia has] got this history, it can’t only be, ‘Oh, it was inadvertent. He didn’t have intent,’” Popovich said. “Who gives a damn about what his vigilant was? You ever hear of manslaughter? You still go to jail, we think, when you’re texting and we finish adult murdering someone. But we competence not have dictated to do that. All we caring is what we saw. All we caring about is what happened. And a story there exacerbates a whole conditions and creates me very, really angry.”

Asked either he expects a NBA to take any movement toward Pachulia following a play and Leonard’s injury, Popovich pronounced all of that fell outward his purview.

“I don’t caring what a joining does,” he said. “I’m only revelation we how we feel. The joining is a league. They do what they do. we could caring less. we didn’t call a league. Why would we do that? They looked during a play. If they do something, they do something. If they don’t, they don’t. All we caring about is, Kawhi’s not there.

“And, we know, carrying your horses is critical during this indicate in a deal. And when you’re personification Golden State in their place, and you’re personification like that, it’s flattering cool. And if he would’ve played, and they would’ve finished adult winning, we go get dinner, have a potion of wine, arise adult a subsequent day, go to use and pierce on. But this is crap […] Nobody wants to do anything that would put anybody else in risk for a diversion or a career. This guy’s story is different.”

Game 2 tips off during Oracle Arena during 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him during devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!


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