Gregg Popovich has every reason to be in a bad mood (even more than usual). When Kawhi Leonard left Game 1 after rolling his ankle (twice), the Warriors seized back control and overcame a massive deficit to take a 1-0 series lead in the Western Conference Finals. What’s worse for the Spurs is that Kawhi will be forced to sit out Game 2 as well.
That development didn’t sit well with Pop, given that a lot of folks believe it’s a direct result of a dirty play on the part of Zaza Pachulia, who slid underneath Kawhi’s feet when he elevated for a jump-shot in the third quarter. It prompted the acid-tongued Spurs coach to absolutely go off on Zaza when speaking to reporters on Monday, at various points alluding to his history of questionable play and even likening it to the topic of manslaughter in terms of whether intention matters in these scenarios.
His outrage is perfectly justified. But might it also be a bit hypocritical, given not only Pop’s stewardship of one of the dirtiest players in league history, but also his vociferous public defense of said player? Because the internet exists, and because karma is a cold and unstoppable cosmic force in our universe, here’s what Pop had to say about Bruce Bowen back in 2006 in an article with the San Antonio Express News:
Bowen was legendary for stepping on shooters’ feet and/or sliding his own feet under theirs in much the same manner that Pachulia did on Sunday. Defending Bowen’s actions at any point in the past, present, or future is downright comical. If you don’t believe us, here’s all the evidence you’ll ever need.
Pop has always been one to recognize the irony in any given situation, but even this still might be a bridge too far. Now that he’s said his peace, he’ll have to direct his full attention to figuring out some way to actually compete with the Warriors without his best player on the court when Game 2 tips off at 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday night.