Did Zaza Pachulia stick his foot under Kawhi Leonard on purpose?

Leonard reinjured his left ankle after landing on Pachulia's foot in Game 1

Courtesy: AP

SAN ANTONIO – It has been less than 24 hours since tipoff of Game 1 between the San Antonio Spurs and the Golden State Warriors in this year’s Western Conference Finals and the talk around the water cooler Monday morning is: Do you think Zaza Pachulia purposefully stuck his foot under MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard?

In Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Houston Rockets, Leonard injured his left ankle during the fourth quarter and did not return for the rest of the game, sidelining him for Game 6’s clinching win.

After nearly five days of rest, Leonard returned to the hardwood to face Curry and company to only later reinjure his left ankle twice early in the 3rd quarter.

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Leonard extended his left foot toward the Spurs bench, stepping on the foot of teammate David Lee after knocking down a corner three-pointer.

Spurs’ Jonathan Simmons entered the game for Leonard with the Spurs up on the Warriors 72-52 with 9:18 left in the 3rd quarter.

Leonard later returned to the game with 8:44 on the game clock and less than a minute later, Warriors’ Zaza Pachulia engaged in a controversial “dirty” play on Leonard.

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Many took to social media to call Pachulia’s slide or extra step under Leonard’s landing area as a “dirty play” to intentionally hurt the Spurs’ star forward. 

During postgame interview, Pachulia was asked to respond to Spurs fans and others who were calling his contested play on Leonard as dirty.

“I mean that’s really stupid (and) I don’t think I should be making a comment. I don’t think I’m that good to be making intentional stuff like that,” Pachulia said. “I’m pretty sure we are capable of beating anybody who’s healthy (and) I’m not standing for it.”

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Leonard was asked during his postgame interview if he thought Pachulia purposely slid underneath him during his fade away shot.


“No. He was contesting the shot, the clock was coming down. I’ll have to see the play,” Leonard said.

WATCH Kawhi Leonard on ankle injury "very painful" adds he doesn't think Zaza Pachulia play was on purpose #Spurs #Warriors Game 1 #KSATnews pic.twitter.com/qKeNrlUIqP

— RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) May 14, 2017

Scroll below to check out reaction from Spurs and NBA fans alike shortly after Leonard’s exit – who scored 26 points with eight rebounds – and of the Warriors overcoming a 25-point deficit to defeat the Spurs 113-111, taking a 1-0 series lead over the Silver and Black.

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