Pachulia expects to get earful from Spurs fans
Stephen Curry pulled Zaza Pachulia aside and made one thing clear to theWarriors’ big man: We’ve got your back. Other teammates echoed that message. Pachulia will receive a villain’s welcome Saturday at AT&T Center whether he’s on the court for Game 3 of the Western Conference finals or not, simply because he was involved in the play that injured Spurs star Kawhi Leonard in the series opener.
“I think he’ll be booed pretty badly,” Draymond Green said. “I’ve definitely been in that situation before. He’ll get it pretty good, but he’ll be fine.”
Leonard, whose status for Game 3 remained unclear Friday, didn’t play in Game 2 Tuesday after reinjuring his left ankle in the third quarter of Game 1 when he came down on Pachulia’s foot after shooting a long jumper.
The Spurs lost 113-111 without him, squandering a 20-point halftime lead, and coach Gregg Popovich was peeved. The next day, Popovich called the play “dangerous” and “unsportsmanlike” and insisted Pachulia has a history of such.
“Zaza’s got a thick skull, so Iknowwhenhe gets out there he’s going to be able to play,” Curry said. “I knowguys in the locker room have told him, ‘We know what kind of person you are. Be apologetic forKawhi about what happened, but you don’t have to apologize for your intent on how you’re guarding that play.’ ”
Leonard and Pachuliawere listed as questionable Friday, along with theWarriors’ Andre Iguodala. Pachulia bruised his right heel and missed the second half Tuesday. AP