Kawhi says Zaza’s close out wasn’t a dirty play.
Midway through the third quarter of yesterday’s Western Conference Finals the San Antonio Spurs had a 21-point lead over the Warriors and looked well on their way to stealing Game 1 at Oracle Arena.
And then… Kawhi Leonard landed awkwardly on the foot of Zaza Pachulia while shooting a baseline jumper, reinjuring the ankle that kept him out of San Antonio’s Game 6 win over Houston.
Kawhi left the game and didn’t return, and without him on the floor the Warriors closed out the game on a 58-33 run, taking Game 1 by the final of 113-111. Kawhi is expected to undergo an MRI prior to Game 2.
During post-game interviews, reporters asked him if he felt Zaza’s close out was a dirty play.
“Did he step under it? Like, on purpose?” Leonard asked. “No. He was contesting the shot. The shot clock was coming down. I’ll have to see the play.”
KD told reporters after the game,
“Zaza’s not a dirty player. You’ve got to time that perfectly if you want to hurt somebody,” Durant said. “We’re not that type of team. Kawhi’s an unbelievable player. We’ve got nothing but respect for him. We wish that he gets healthy. We just tried to contest a shot. Guys are playing hard. It was an unfortunate situation. I wish it didn’t happen, but I don’t think it was intentional. You can’t listen to people on Twitter; they’re irrational.”
— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) May 14, 2017