Folks were and are looking to hate on the Warriors and Kevin Durant for joining forces much like they did when LeBron, Dwanyay and Chris Bosh came together in South Florida. Difference is, the Heat, initially were really unlikable. And really baggy. Not classy and likeable like the Warriors.
The Warriors are good dudes; and never said things like, ‘I’m taking my talents to South Beach.’ Never stabbed the hometown fans who worshipped them in the back on national television like LeBron did. Never rose up with a smoke machine and promised, not four, not five, not six titles. And never glossed themselves “the Heatles.”
These Warriors have never bagged it up like this. They’re good dudes. And they win with class, which is why everyone didn’t turn on them the way they did LeBron and the Heat early on. Even if people wanted to hate on them, they just didn’t give them the chance.
But that could change now that Zaza Pachulia took out Kawhi Leonard. Never mind that the league has since said it happens all the time and that Pachulia will not face any discipline and that the play will stand. Spurs fan isn’t hearing any of that.
And the only guy more furious than Spurs fan, is Spurs coach, Gregg Popovich who makes it sound like Pachulia went all Gillooly on Kawhi, waiting for him to come off the practice floor and smashing him in the ankle with a lead pipe. That the foul was inappropriate, dangerous, unsportsmanlike and not something that anyone does to anyone else.
That part about how it’s not something that anyone does to anyone else? Ehhhhh! Like I said yesterday, Pop knows more about basketball than this entire listening audience combined, but that’s not true. Because that sort of thing that does go on.
In fact, according the NBA’s Senior VP of Replay and Referee Operations, Joe Borgia, it happens all the time, quote: “we see this quite often in the NBA. That defender just goes a little too far. You’re not allowed to take the landing area away from the jump shooter.”
So contrary to what Pop says, it does go on. And Pachulia is not the only guy who has done it. Far from it.
In fact, Pop himself used to have a guy who did it, in Bruce Bowen. And when Bowen was doing it, Pop went to the mat for him, insisting that he wasn’t doing anything wrong and that he shouldn’t change for anyone or anything.
The USA Today has a story about a Reddit user who found a story from the San Antonio Express back in 2006 where an enraged Popovich defended Bowen for doing essentially the same thing he’s now killing Pachulia for.
When then NBA disciplinarian Stu Jackson called Bowen and threatened to fine him, Popovich wanted to know why Bowen was singled out and why other guys who were doing the same thing, weren’t: quote: “Did (the league) call them? Did they call those guys Nowitzki landed on when he sprained his ankles the past three, four years? The answer is no.” He added, “The people who cry about it are just frustrated about having to go against Bruce.”
Sort of like the people who have to go against Pachulia? How is it different? What? Like that was ok then, but not now? Or it was ok when your guy was doing it, but not when someone does it to you?
I get that Popovich is mad. And he’s frustrated. And he’s taking up for his guys. And that he just lost his best player and with that, probably any shot he has of winning this series, after blowing a 25 point lead in Game one. But Pop’s argument would be much stronger if he didn’t have a guy who did the same types of things years back; the types of things that Popovich himself defended.