So last night the Spurs were having their way with the Warriors throughout the first half and most of the third quarter until the video above happened. Kawhi Leonard rolled his already injured ankle on Zaza Pachulia’s foot when Zaza challenged his shot and seemed to do something that the NBA has made illegal in the past. This led to the Warriors going on a 58-35 run to win the game 113-111 while shooting lights out from the field after not being able to beat the Spurs defense for the whole first half.
Not only did the play lead to the Spurs downfall in Game 1. It led to the internet and the sports would buzzing for most of last night and all of day about whether the play was “dirty” or not. Kawhi said it wasn’t dirty but what do you expect from the classy cyborg. Zaza called the idea “stupid” but that was expected given his shock at the officials after they called the play a foul. All other players were mum about it but the one player/coach who took issue was none other than Gregg Popovich, who pointed out that the NBA has “outlawed this years ago”. He also spoke of several instances of Zaza being dirty with a few of his players (including Kawhi) in recent years.
Now when I first saw the video I immediately didn’t think the play was dirty at all (I hadn’t been watching the game live because I had gone to a Cardinals/Cubs game, so I found out via “Zaza” trending on Twitter). To me it seemed like a hard close out and that Zaza had accidentally got under Kawhi in the process. After processing the video over and over and reading people’s opinions including Popovich’s, I now think the play is dirty, but Zaza didn’t do it on purpose.
I mean how can you disagree with Pop, but I also believe dirtiness is just INGRAINED into Zaza. He didn’t realize it was dirty. It’s just second nature to him at this point. I mean check out this weird highlight tape of little Zaza Tic-Tac Fights to the tune of Roy Jones – “Can’t be Touched”
OH I love the internet.
It’s like when you start doing little white lies in a relationship but then all of a sudden they build up and next thing you know you have a second life with a second family that your wife doesn’t even know about.
Side note, I think it’s also funny that one of the main videos that convinced me of this being dirty is this video of Popovich’s former player and fellow “dirty” player Bruce Bowen doing this same illegal move on Vince Carter.
After all this drama the Spurs might be without Kawhi for Game 2 and possibly for even longer than that. We will have to see what the MRI says. In addition, people are calling for Zaza to be suspended one game, but either way every single move he makes for the rest of the playoffs will be watched very closely. Also, one thing is for sure. We’ve got ourselves an exciting series.