Zaza Pachulia is a large man who doesn’t exactly have a normal hat size, but his Golden State Warriors teammates have got him covered.
In a post to his Instagram Story over the weekend, Warriors big man JaVale McGee showed off an absurdly gigantic custom-sized Finals hat that the team jokingly ordered for their resident Georgian.
— Warriors Talk (@JaeAzizi) June 3, 2017
While McGee is roughly 25 pounds lighter than Pachulia, he’s actually an inch taller (an even 7-foot to Pachulia’s 6-foot-11), which gives you an idea of just how massive that hat is. As for Pachulia himself, he’s usually the one dishing out the banter to his Dubs teammates, so he’ll likely appreciate the gesture.
Perhaps as some measure of Karma for the San Antonio Spurs, Zaza Pachulia will not play in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals on Saturday because of a heel injury. Andre Iguodala may be back in action though.
Pachulia has a sore right heel and will be out for the game, so center JaVale McGee is expected to start in his place.
Mike Brown said the Warriors will "probably start JaVale (McGee)" for the injured Zaza Pachulia tonight.
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) May 20, 2017
Iguodala has been out with soreness in his knee, though an MRI revealed no structural damage. He only played 10 minutes in Game 1 because of his knee and didn’t play in Game 2. He participated in practice Friday while Pachulia didn’t do much, foreshadowing their statuses for Game 3.
San Antonio will also be a man down, as Kawhi Leonard will not be playing.
Two of Golden State’s players are listed as questionable entering Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.
Andre Iguodala is questionable for the game with left knee soreness, while Zaza Pachulia, who has a heel injury, is also questionable.
The Warriors say Andre Iguodala (left knee soreness) & Zaza Pachulia (right heel contusion) are questionable for Game 3 at Spurs.
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) May 19, 2017
Both players underwent MRIs during the week that confirmed no structural damage.
The Bay Area News Group’s Anthony Slater believes Iguodala is more likely to play in Saturday’s Game 3 against San Antonio after going through a full practice Friday. Pachulia didn’t do much.
Andre Iguodala went through full practice in San Antonio, Zaza Pachulia didn't do much. Both questionable for Game 3, Iguodala more likely.
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) May 19, 2017
Iguodala has only played 10 minutes in the series because of soreness in his knee.
A Spurs fan is so angry over what Zaza Pachulia did to Kawhi Leonard in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals that he is trying to get a judge to ban the Golden State Warriors from visiting San Antonio.
According to a lawsuit obtained by KSAT, Spurs fan and business owner Juan Vasquez has filed a request for a temporary restraining order and temporary injunction against the Warriors. Vasquez, who runs a business called What’s on Second, Inc., claims Leonard’s injury has had a major impact on the fans, season ticket holders and those whose businesses are connected to the success of the Spurs.
“All we are asking from the court is that this type of behavior, that can and does cause serious injury to our team and those that love it, not be allowed in San Antonio,” Alfonso Kennard Jr., the lead attorney for the case, said.
The lawsuit also mentioned Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s rant against Pachulia, in which Popovich lambasted Pachulia for committing a dangerous play. Leonard injured his ankle after Pachulia came underneath him on a close-out (video here). The Spurs star missed Game 2 and is questionable for Game 3.
Obviously, the attorney who filed the lawsuit knows he is not going to keep the Warriors out of San Antonio. This has publicity stunt written all over it.
How angry are San Antonio Spurs fans over Zaza Pachulia’s controversial closeout of Kawhi Leonard? One of them is suing.
On Tuesday, Spurs fan Juan Vazquez filed a lawsuit against Pachulia and the Golden State Warriors on behalf of all Spurs season ticket holders and a San Antonio card shop.
“All we are asking from the court is that this type of behavior, that can and does cause serious injury to our team and those that love it, not be allowed in San Antonio,” said Alfonso Kennard, Jr., lead attorney for the plaintiffs, via Nick Moyle of the San Francisco Chronicle.
The suit argues that Pachulia “without excuse or justification, intentionally and maliciously invaded the landing zone of an opposing athlete, Kawhi Leonard.” It further adds that the Golden State big man “devastated the quality of the Spurs’ chances of being competitive and having additional games in their home arena, both in the Western Conference Finals and also potentially in the NBA Finals” and also negatively affected “the value of the tickets purchased by plaintiff subsequent to their purchase.”
The demands include a restraining order preventing Pachulia from engaging in further behavior of that nature and financial compensation.
This fan is even angrier than Gregg Popovich was. It’s hard to see this going anywhere, but it’s an indicator, at least, of how upset Spurs fans are over the incident.
The NBA sees nothing wrong with Zaza Pachulia’s defending on Kawhi Leonard.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN, the NBA will take no further action against Pachulia stemming from his controversial closeout on Leonard in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.
Despite Gregg Popovich's pointed criticisms, no further action from the NBA is expected with regard to Zaza Pachulia, league sources say
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) May 15, 2017
If Pachulia’s closeout was unnatural, the NBA isn’t going to do anything about it. Gregg Popovich certainly won’t be happy, but the NBA may have wanted to see intent if they were going to take further action. It was not evident in the play.
- Zaza Pachulia
David West was put in an awkward position on Monday after his former coach, Gregg Popovich, unloaded on his current teammate, Zaza Pachulia, over Pachulia’s questionable closeout on Kawhi Leonard during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. As you might expect, West has very little to say about the entire ordeal.
West, who spent last season with the San Antonio Spurs before signing with the Golden State Warriors this year, was mentioned specifically in Popovich’s rant against Pachulia.
“Ask David West, his current teammate, how things went when Zaza was playing for Dallas and he and David got into it,” Popovich said. “Then think about the history he’s had, and what that means to a team.”
A short time after, reporters asked West for his thoughts.
David West peppered with Zaza/Pop/Kawhi questions: "Things happen" pic.twitter.com/d8YU0aQY9V
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) May 15, 2017
“Zaza is my teammate,” West said. “He’s just playing hard, man. He’s an aggressive guy. That’s who he is. That’s who he’s always been.”
West would only classify the play where Leonard was hurt as a “tough play,” adding that “things happen.” You can understand why he doesn’t want to make anyone look bad given the circumstances, so he handled the questions well.
It didn’t look like Pachulia intended to injure Leonard when he took an extra step as Leonard put up a 3-pointer, but the NBA has taken steps to eliminate dangerous plays like that. With Leonard now missing Game 2 and possibly beyond, the Warriors are in total control of the series.