It wouldn’t be a real NBA season if we didn’t have a controversial play that many deemed outwardly dirty from Zaza Pachulia. The Warriors’ center is a big, lumbering 7-footer that is at best incredibly clumsy and at worst purposeful in his dangerous play.
The reality is probably somewhere in the middle, with Pachulia often toeing the line between hustle and recklessness. The latest example was less a product of a hard, late closeout (like the one that injured Kawhi Leonard’s ankle last postseason) or a diving attempt at a ball, rather an awkward fall that suspiciously landed him on top of Russell Westbrook’s legs.
Pachulia received no punishment from the NBA regarding the play, but Westbrook, Paul George and many fans cried foul on Pachulia’s fall being intentional with the aim to injure the reigning MVP. While the controversy had died down some since the incident as Westbrook was unharmed by the fall, Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving, who has plenty of experience playing against Pachulia in the three Cavs-Warriors Finals, had some thoughts.
Immediately after the incident, Irving posted an Instagram comment calling for the league to look into it and saying “that sh*t is ridiculous.”