Despite Popovich rant, NBA not expected to take action on Pachulia play on Leonard


“A two-step, lead-with-your-foot closeout is not appropriate. It’s dangerous. It’s unsportsmanlike. It’s just not what anybody does to anybody else… Because he’s got this history, it can’t just be, “Oh, it was inadvertent. He didn’t have intent.” Who gives a damn about what his intent was? You ever hear of manslaughter? You still go to jail I think when you’re texting and you end up killing somebody, but you might not have intended to do that – all I care is what I saw.”

Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich went off on a rant Monday about Zaza Pachulia and his closeout on Kawhi Leonard, which led to the ankle sprain that ended Game 1 for Leonard, likely will keep him out multiple games, and no doubt changed the course of the Western Conference Finals.

Don’t, however, expect action from the league. From Marc Stein of ESPN.

That was to be expected. There was no flagrant foul called at the time.

However, the officials need to be on top of this call — on both ends. Warriors’ coach Mike Brown was right in pointing out LaMarcus Aldridge did something similar to Stephen Curry and there was no call (because Curry fell rather than land on a foot and risk injury).

It’s not just this series, either. If the three-point shot is going to be a growing part of the game, this needs to be addressed more closely on a league-wide level. The playoffs are just shining a spotlight.