Nobody felt worse about Kevin Durant’s knee injury than Zaza Pachulia. Just ask him.
Pachulia was a factor in Durant suffering his knee injury on Tuesday night, as the Golden State Warriors center got tossed into his teammate’s knee in the first quarter of their game against the Wizards (video here).
Though Pachulia was a mere domino in the situation, he sent this heartfelt tweet on Wednesday about Durant’s injury.
Nobody is more disappointed then I'm for KD's injury. But he will be back stronger very soon.
Get well soon my brother @KDTrey5
— Zaza Pachulia (@zaza27) March 1, 2017
You can figure that Pachulia wrote the tweet — not some PR rep — because of the errors in it. But the message is clear: he feels badly about the situation since he was involved.
Nobody should blame him for the injury though, as he was pushed by Marcin Gortat and really had no control over the situation.
For the second time in less than a week, Golden Warriors center Zaza Pachulia is under scrutiny for getting overly physical with an opponent.
During Monday’s Warriors-Heat game, Pachulia and Babbitt had an incident that the officials had to review:
Zaza starting to get cocky, straight up slaps Luke Babbitt while running up court pic.twitter.com/NvfHaNvfR8
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) January 24, 2017
Pachulia received a flagrant foul for his actions, while Babbitt got a technical.
Pachulia received a flagrant foul last week for his physical play on Russell Westbrook during Golden State’s win over OKC.
Russell Westbrook is vowing revenge against Zaza Pachulia after the Golden State Warriors big man fouled him hard on Wednesday night.
The Warriors had a foul to give with just seconds remaining in the first half, so Pachulia fought through a screen and collided with Westbrook. He then stood over Westbrook while the Oklahoma City Thunder point guard was rolling around on the floor. It was the latter act that irritated Westbrook.
“No, I didn’t see that until just now, but I don’t play that game,” Westbrook told reporters after his team’s 121-100 loss, per Royce Young of ESPN.com. “I’m gonna get his ass back. Whenever that is, I don’t know what it’s going to be, but I don’t play that game.”
Pachulia said he believed he stole the ball cleanly from Westbrook. Either way, he doesn’t care if Westbrook was hurt on the play.
“I thought it was a good steal, honestly, because I had the ball in my hands,” Pachulia said. “Officials called a foul; there’s nothing you can do. A foul is a foul. If it was a hard foul, it was a hard foul. There is nothing you can do. So you just move on. If he got hurt, that’s fine too. It’s part of the game.”
You can see a video of the play here.
When informed that Westbrook vowed to “get his a– back,” Pachulia said he is too focused on trying to win a championship to be concerned with comments like that.
“I’m not thinking about these kind of comments,” he said. “That team is not there, so they might be thinking about other stuff, like getting back. So, you know, OK, you can get me back.
“But this is my 14th year. We all know what my game is, to play hard. Not dirty, but play hard. If it was a hard foul, it was a foul. It wasn’t dirty at all, so I’m not worried about this.”
Westbrook finished the game with 27 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists for his 21st triple-double of the season. The Thunnder fell to 25-19 on the season while the Warriors improved to an NBA-best 36-6.
Zaza Pachulia nailed Russell Westbrook with a hard foul and then stood over him disrespectfully just before halftime during Wednesday’s Thunder-Warriors game.
Westbrook was getting a screen from Enes Kanter on Andre Iguodala when Pachulia worked through it and rammed into Westbrook with 4.4 seconds left in the first half. After the Oklahoma City guard fell down, Pachulia stood over him.
Zaza Pachulia collides with Russell Westbrook pic.twitter.com/aU52ySMkxW
— ⓂarcusD2.0 (@_MarcusD2_) January 19, 2017
Referees reviewed the physical play and charged Pachulia with a flagrant foul.
Pachulia seems to have some beef against Westbrook, because earlier, the Warriors big man shoved Westbrook aside.
Zaza Pachulia is a man of many talents: NBA center, All-Star vote-getting extraordinaire, and now, slam dunk truther.
On Tuesday, Dirk Nowitzki, Pachulia’s former teammate on the Dallas Mavericks, decided to jokingly flex on Twitter by posting an image of a rare dunk from him in last week’s win over the Phoenix Suns.
Holla at your boy pic.twitter.com/eLCqJK13ZZ
— Dirk Nowitzki (@swish41) January 17, 2017
But Nowitzki’s tweet failed to convince Pachulia, who replied by questioning the authenticity of the image.
It's a photoshop. https://t.co/u9C8qPnbLn
— Zaza Pachulia (@zaza27) January 17, 2017
In fairness, Pachulia had a right to be skeptical. After all, the 38-year-old Nowitzki has only managed to throw down a grand total of 11 dunks in the last three seasons combined (per Basketball Reference). But the video evidence doesn’t lie: it really happened.
As for Pachulia, he best tread lightly as he probably has the rest of the NBA thinking that something else has been Photoshopped lately as well.
Image via Zaza Pachulia on Instagram
The NBA released the first fan voting returns for the 2017 All-Star Game on Thursday, and the Sacramento Kings were less than thrilled with the results.
In one of the more eye-catching developments, Golden State Warriors center Zaza Pachulia is currently second in frontcourt voting for the Western Conference with 439,675 votes. That puts him ahead of the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis, and Warriors teammate Draymond Green and over 237,000 votes in front of Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins.
— 2017 NBA All-Star (@NBAAllStar) January 5, 2017
That didn’t sit well with the Kings, who quickly posted a reaction video to Twitter of one of Cousins’ postgame rants spliced together with the results.
Make it right Twitter…
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) January 5, 2017
For some context, Cousins is averaging 28.6 points (third in the NBA), 9.9 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game this season. That dwarfs Pachulia’s averages of 5.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game.
Such an occurrence probably should have been expected given the enthusiasm with which fans in Pachulia’s home country of Georgia stuff the ballot boxes. After all, he came less than 15,000 votes away from starting last year’s All-Star Game and now plays for the league’s marquee Western Conference team in the Warriors. But fortunately, the league just implemented this change to the All-Star balloting procedure to put a check on the influence of fan voting, so Cousins may be getting justice soon enough.
The rich are getting richer in the NBA, and those who don’t fall into that category are certainly not pleased.
According to a report by Zach Lowe of ESPN on Tuesday citing anonymous texts, some NBA executives are angry about the Warriors landing Zaza Pachulia for chump change on top of their signing of Kevin Durant.
I have gotten almost as many angry texts/etc from team execs about GSW getting Zaza for nothing as I did re: GSW signing KD.
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) July 5, 2016
Pachulia, 32, agreed to terms with the team on a one-year, $2.9 million deal on Monday. That’s well below market value for a big of his caliber who sets hard screens, crashes the offensive glass, and makes high-IQ plays for teammates. Pachulia averaged 8.6 points per game and 9.8 rebounds per game for the Mavericks last season and seemed to conveniently fall right into the Warriors’ laps for peanuts after they were forced to trade Andrew Bogut to make room for Durant.
This is simply the reality for any title frontrunner. Hordes of undead veterans will always sniff the juicy flesh of a potential championship ring and descend, often leaving millions of dollars on the table to do so and angering the rest of the league in the process. And as more and more of them inevitably follow Pachulia’s lead, the rest of us plebes can only shake our fists at the sky angrily and curse Adam Silver’s name for all eternity.
Image Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports