Pachu­lia ex­pects to get ear­ful from Spurs fans

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - SPORTS -

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

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