If you haven’t seen it yet, take a look at this play
No one knows for sure if Zaza Pachulia intentionally ran under Kawhi Leonard to cause his ankle sprain, but it sure looks suspect…
And the reason I’m mad is that I just wanted to see good basketball.
The NBA would be so much better if star players weren’t injured all the time, and you could see good competitive games. Stars are already often injured because of a grueling 82 game regular season, and a potential 28 extra games needed to win a championship. It doesn’t matter who you are (unless you’re a cyborg like Lebron), the grind of the NBA schedule wears down the body and players get hurt late into the season.
But of course, something like this happens and you have the best player on the Spurs go down, and what might have been a fun series to watch is now just a waiting game for the NBA finals between the Warriors and the Cavs.
And all because Zaza Pachulia is a bitch.
He has a history of dirty plays. He even arm-locked Kawhi before, potentially ripping Kawhi’s arm out of its socket.
Obviously we don’t know his “intent” on this play. I see people arguing that the play doesn’t look dirty because Zaza wasn’t looking at Leonard’s feet while running towards him, and immediately looks at the shot as it’s released to see if it goes in. That he is just a stumbling oaf and couldn’t control his momentum on this play.
But for anyone who has played basketball, not only is it a super dangerous play to put your foot under someone who just took a jumpshot (for the exact reason in the streamable above), but it’s also an unnatural motion. You actually have to make an effort to run under someone to get your foot under theirs, especially in the case of a fadeway like what happened here with Leonard.
And the worst part about all of this is that the NBA won’t do anything about it.
At most, maybe the NBA comes down with a fine against Zaza. There is no way he gets suspended for any amount of time. The NBA stands to make too much money off of what is now a foregone conclusion: Warriors / Cavs finals – Part 3.
And as much as I wanted to see a Warriors / Cavs finals…
The NBA really needs to find a way to better to protect the players. Automatic suspension for a game? That could be a start, but then you could have some scrub bench player do it to an opposing teams all-star.
Maybe an enforcer should have just came out and flat out decked Zaza.
Sorry Spurs fans, what happened really sucks. Especially since you guys had game 1 locked up. If Kawhi was still playing, it’s very hard to believe you wouldn’t have neutralized home court advantage for the Warriors.
Pop doesn’t seem too happy about the situation either. Likely because he knows that Kawhi won’t be playing anymore this series.
Wish you the best Kawhi.