Golden State Warriors big man Zaza Pachulia has a reputation for being a dirty player and he added to it on Saturday night with the Oklahoma City Thunder in town.
Late in the third quarter with Golden State ahead 75-66, the Thunder’s Russell Westbrook drove toward the basket and missed a shot. The ball caromed toward him, but Golden State’s Nick Young was able to fend off Westbrook for the rebound. Young passed the ball to a teammate as he and Westbrook fell to the floor. [restrict]
That’s when Pachulia entered the picture and fell right on top of Westbrook’s legs.
Westbrook was asked about the incident after the game and made it clear he thought Pachulia intentionally fell on him and tried to injure him.
In the video, Westbrook also said he believes Pachulia is a dirty player. He’s not the only one. Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving chimed in on Instagram, saying the NBA needs to intervene.
Pachulia has a history of questionable incidents (documented here). Most notably, he was involved in the play that knocked San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard out of the playoffs last year. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was especially angry.
The play involving Pachulia was just one in a number of heated exchanges during the game Saturday night. Oklahoma City’s Carmelo Anthony got into it with both Kevin Durant and Draymond Green.
Green received his 15th technical foul of the season (one more result in a suspension) for this outburst:
And there was also this shove from Westbrook to Young after Young drilled a 3-pointer at the third quarter buzzer and proceeded to dance in front of the OKC bench.
The score was tight until Golden State turned up the intensity late in the third. Oklahoma City actually took a 59-56 lead midway through the quarter. From there, however, it was all Golden State. By the time the quarter ended, the Warriors built a big lead, 84-66.
Golden State continued the onslaught in the fourth and went on to win 112-80. [/restrict]