Russell Westbrook wasn’t particularly happy when Golden State Warriors big man Zaza Pachulia fell on him last week. The NBA has decided not to discipline Pachulia, but that doesn’t mean players are done speaking their minds about the incident.
Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving — always for a good quote — jumped in, first offering his thoughts on Instagram and then giving more depth to those comments to the Boston Globe.
Speaking to the Globe, Irving said that he didn’t feel Pachulia deserved a major suspension, but that enough evidence had gathered against the center that more needed to be done.
Pachulia famously stepped under Kawhi Leonard in the first round of the playoffs last season, injuring him and turning the tide in the series between the San Antonio Spurs and the Warriors. Over the offseason the NBA instituted a new rule targeted at the kind of play that occurred between Pachulia and Leonard.
Via Boston Globe:
“I think everybody kind of saw what happened,” Irving told the Globe. “Whether Nick’s foot pushed him down forward, we’ve seen it over and over, and I don’t want to direct just him being a very, very dirty player strictly on him because a lot of dirty plays happen throughout the NBA, but I mean when it’s consistently happening.
“We’ve seen it happen before for years and years with him doing [expletive] like that,” Irving said. “I don’t want the league to just suspend him for 10 games but you’ve got to take a look at it or something. That’s unacceptable in this game.
“Guys who play in this league and play hard, we’re trying to keep everybody safe. I think it should be the same thing that’s echoed in front of everyone else. When it’s done like that and we know his intentions, it’s [expletive].”
“We all saw what was going on,” he said. “Whether people want to admit it or not, that’s on them. But for me, I voiced my opinion. It’s not me going against the league. I felt that play was just unnecessary. It was totally unnecessary.”
That’s some spicy talk from Irving. Pachulia is a constant factor in these debates, so even if he isn’t going to be disciplined formally the NBA needs to keep a close eye on plays involving him.
The league has had enough injuries to major stars this season. They don’t need anyone adding danger on the floor.