Zaza Pachulia insists closeout on Kawhi Leonard the ‘right defense,’ denies intention to hurt
Warriors big man Zaza Pachulia says he is not a dirty player. AP

WHILE Gregg Popovich cited Zaza Pachulia’s history of questionable defensive moves, the Georgian center insists he simply plays hard each time, brushing off insinuations he intended to take out Kawhi Leonard.

"That was the right defense from my side to challenge the shot," Pachulia said after practice on Monday.

The Warriors center slid under Leonard’s tender left ankle as the Spurs forward attempted a shot, a move that Popovich called dangerous and inappropriate.

Popovich coach noted instances Pachulia played rough against Leonard, Patty Mills, and former Spurs forward and now Pachulia’s Warriors teammate David West.

Pachulia insisted he “had no idea (Kawhi) landed on his foot” and says he feels bad for the Spurs star.

"I wish that he hadn't landed on my foot and honestly I had no idea he landed on my foot until I turned back and he was already on the ground, because as soon as he released the ball I turned around trying to chase the rebound and see where the ball was going."


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