Jorge Sierra: We reached out to a bunch of NBA players for their take on the Pachulia-Leonard play. This is what they answered…
"My approach to this game for 14 years that I've been in the league is to play hard and [give] 100 percent of whatever I have," Pachulia said in response to Popovich on Monday after practice. "So, I don't agree with the calls that I'm a dirty player. I'm not a dirty player. I love this game and I'm playing hard. That's what I was taught since Day 1."
Warriors center Zaza Pachulia sidestepped the controversy over his role in Kawhi Leonard’s injury Monday, after Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich ripped Pachulia for the incident and called him a dirty player throughout his career. “No response,” Pachulia said after his team’s practice in Oakland. “I have a lot of respect for Coach Pop and their organization, and I mean it. No comment and no response. Let’s focus on Game 2, honestly.”
Jabari Young: Mike Brown on the Zaza incident... said Popovich comments just him protecting Kawhi #Spurs #Warriors pic.twitter.com/jWPDLO5myt
Later in his session with a group of reporters, Pachulia said, “I’m not a dirty player. I love this game and I play hard. I feel bad that it happened.”
Michael C. Wright: Maybe they're delusional, but sense I get from speaking w/sources is Spurs don't feel like all hope is lost. They plan to battle regardless.
Jabari Young: Zaza getting prepared...sure they are telling him what to expect after Popovich comments #Spurs #Warriors pic.twitter.com/Fi2citTB7p
A league source said that Leonard would undergo an MRI on Monday morning. When the forward originally suffered the injury in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets, a source explained San Antonio’s philosophy for dealing with injuries, which dates all the way back to the early Tim Duncan years and provides something of a clue for how the Spurs might proceed with Leonard throughout this series.
The only strangeness witnessed was the fact that the training staff sat Leonard at a table and taped up the injured ankle after the game, before the forward pulled on a Spurs sweat suit and strolled out to the team bus. “I feel good,” Leonard said. “I’ll get back healthy. I have faith in my teammates, and we’re going to see what happens [in] Game 2.”
With 7:55 left in the third quarter, Pachulia switched out to defend Leonard who launched a 3-point shot from in front of the San Antonio bench. Pachulia continued moving forward while Leonard was airborne, an action that resulted in Leonard landing on Pachulia’s left foot and aggravating a sprained left ankle. “I just did what I was supposed to do and challenged his shot,” Pachulia said. “And I turned around and there was a call. I didn’t notice that he was down until I turned back. I didn’t see what happened there.”
Did Zaza Pachulia intentionally undercut Kawhi Leonard? @rodger_sherman Mark Cuban: No. That's not how ZaZa plays
Ben Golliver: "I just did what I'm supposed to do: challenge the shot." Zaza Pachulia on Kawhi Leonard ankle injury
Tim Bontemps: Zaza Pachulia: "I hate anybody going down with an injury. I'm an athlete too ... I know how he feels. I hope it's nothing serious."
Marc J. Spears: Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard will have an MRI tonight on his left ankle, a team source said.
Mike Finger: Kawhi told me he does not think the Zaza play was dirty. Said he was just contesting the shot.
Connor Letourneau: "Zaza's not a dirty player. ... You can't listen to people on Twitter. People are irrational." -- Durant on the play Leonard got injured on
Michael C. Wright: Kawhi Leonard just walked to training room. No limp, nothing on ankle. They're taping it up now.
Anthony Slater: After Kawhi Leonard injury, Warriors outscore Spurs by 25 in final 20 minutes to win Game 1: 113-111. Curry with 40, KD with 34.
Kawhi Leonard missed the Spurs' last game -- Game 6 against the Houston Rockets during the second round -- due to a sprained left ankle, but he was back in the lineup Sunday afternoon against the Warriors. Unfortunately, Leonard's return didn't last long, as he once again tweaked that ankle. In fact, he did it twice in the span of a few minutes in the third quarter against the Warriors in Game 1, and had to leave the game.
Connor Letourneau: So, the Leonard injury was a turning point. Warriors went on an 18-0 run after he headed to locker room.
Ben Golliver: Spurs' Kawhi Leonard moving very gingerly and holding his head after three-pointer. Checks out at next dead ball.
Jeff McDonald: Kawhi's coming out again. Headed to the locker room. Can barely walk. Spurs are going to have to try and finish this without him.
Ailene Voisin: Kawhi Leonard limps into locker room. Leaves with 26 points, 8 boards, 3 assists - dominant performance. Would be a shame if he can't play.
Paul Garcia: The Spurs have announced Kawhi Leonard (left ankle) is probable to play in Game 1. Coach Pop already said Kawhi will play though.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: There's strong optimism within the Spurs that Kawhi Leonard will be prepared to play Game 1 on Sunday vs. Golden State.
Marc J. Spears: Barring a Rockets miracle, Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard is expected to play in Game 1 of West Finals at Warriors on Sunday on four days rest.
Tim Bontemps: Gregg Popovich on if Kawhi fought him over sitting: "He'd rather play." Says Jonathon Simmons will start at small forward.
Throughout Game 5, Leonard also appeared to be nursing a sore right knee, as he returned to the bench on multiple occasions to have athletic trainers tend to the injured area.
Jabari Young: Kawhi Leonard (ankle) will not play tonight in Game 6 vs #Rockets ... #Spurs pic.twitter.com/68XbREjl4j
Tom Orsborn: D'Antoni knows #Spurs would remain dangerous without Kawhi: "They've got a bunch of weapons. They beat us in OT without him."
Fighting through an ankle injury, San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard sat out much of the fourth quarter and didn't take the court for overtime of his team's 110-107 win over the Houston Rockets, but he insisted he'll play Thursday in Game 6. "Yeah, I'm going to be able to play," Leonard said. "It was frustrating because I wanted to play. But I was happy seeing my teammates out there putting in a good effort and getting the win."
Manu Ginobili replaced Leonard in the lineup with 4:57 to play, but Leonard re-entered the game with 2:59 remaining. Leonard left for good with 34.5 seconds remaining in regulation. "It was tough when we saw Kawhi kind of limping," Ginobili said. "We knew it was going to be a tough one. But they had it tough, too, and they're missing Nene, too. We really hustled down the stretch and made some good plays."
Manu Ginobili said he didn't even want to imagine his team having to play without Leonard in Game 6. He said he feared the injury was bad because Leonard was out down the stretch in such a critical game. But Leonard said he will definitely be on the court Thursday.
Kawhi Leonard rolled his ankle during Game 5 of the Spurs-Rockets series. Initially, the roll was so bad it appeared that he was going to be forced to come out of the game. However, because it's such an important game Leonard did his best to play through the injury. For the majority of the game he managed to do so, but he was forced to sit out the final play of regulation.
Chris Mannix: Gregg Popovich says he doesn't know Kawhi Leonard's status moving forward. Says it was obvious he couldn't go in overtime.
Kawhi Leonard (concussion protocol) is questionable for tomorrow night's Spurs-Hawks game. LaMarcus Aldridge, Dejounte Murray (left groin) and Tony Parker (back stiffness) remain out.
Popovich also said he was hopeful Leonard could return against Atlanta. “He is just moving through the protocol,” Popovich said. “We expect he will be fine, but it just takes awhile. The next possible game is Monday and we hope he will be ready for that.”
Popovich said Leonard is at “step two or three.” “They will tell me when he is ready,” Popovich said. “But he is doing fine so far.” Leonard was in the Spurs locker room before Saturday’s game. Asked by teammate Danny Green how he was doing, Leonard said, “I’m fine.”
Michael C. Wright: Pop said he's "hopeful" Kawhi Leonard can go on Monday. Said he's progressing through the protocol. Said he's on step 2 or 3.
The San Antonio Spurs today announced that forward Kawhi Leonard has entered the NBA’s Concussion Protocol. Leonard, who was hit in the head in last night’s Spurs-Thunder game, will not play in tomorrow night’s Spurs-Warriors contest. The team will provide updates on his return to the court as appropriate.
Jeff McDonald: Spurs confirming Leonard got hit in the head. They don't think he suffered a concussion. We'll update after Pop talks.
Royce Young: Pop said Kawhi got hit in the face/mouth/cheek and the trainer thought he should sit. No additional update as to his status.
Jeff McDonald: Spurs listing Jonathon Simmons as the starter at SF in place of injured Kawhi Leonard. Dewayne Dedmon remains the starter at center.
Melissa Rohlin: Parker (foot) is probable, Leonard (hand) is questionable and Simmons (wrist) is doubtful vs Pelicans. Gasol (fractured metacarpal) is out.
However, when Popovich told reporters that Leonard had an injury that would heal quickly, he then corrected himself, jabbing Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway's now-infamous "alternative facts" quote. "Kawhi [Leonard] is out with an injury that’s not really an injury, but hopefully it will heal quickly," Popovich said . "That’s a figurative statement. It sounds like some of the things that are going on politically in the world. I apologize. I just gave an alternative fact. I shouldn’t have done that. But it wasn’t a lie, so don’t try to pin that on me. I’m tired of you guys pinning that on me."
July 1, 2022 | 7:27 pm EDT Update
Brad Turner: Sources: Lakers have a strong interest in reuniting with free-agent center Thomas Bryant, but with LA just having the veteran minimum to offer he’s in no rush to make a decision. Plus, the Lakers have competition for the services of Bryant, as Toronto is also interested.
Southern University’s Fabulous Dancing Dolls are set to star in the third season of “Why Not Us?,” an ESPN+ series that has NBA All-Star point guard Chris Paul as its executive producer. In eight episodes beginning Aug. 11, “Why Not Us? Southern Dance” will give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to be a member of the Dancing Dolls from tryouts through the year.
July 1, 2022 | 7:04 pm EDT Update
Andy Larsen: FWIW: I’m hearing some pushback regarding the idea that the Jazz are definitely keeping Donovan Mitchell moving forward. Sense is that the Jazz are keeping their options open here: they could retool around Mitchell, or trade him for a massive haul to jumpstart a rebuild. In particular, watch Miami. Obviously, Kevin Durant is their No. 1 target, but if that doesn’t work out, they have been and will continue to be aggressive re: Donovan Mitchell.
Clutch Points: “That shit killed me. He said he ain’t touched the rock?! … He can be so much better than what he is. I don’t know what’s around him. I would love to be able to work with somebody like that.” Kevin Garnett on Lakers’ star Anthony Davis 👀 pic.twitter.com/7wf5VABWG4