NBA News: Russell Westbrook Sides With Spurs Following Controversial Play From Warriors' Zaza Pachulia

By Nikko Villanueva, Posted: 05/16/17 08:41AM EDT

Golden State Warriors center Zaza Pachulia drew flak for what many called a dirty play that led to San Antonio Spurs All-Star Kawhi Leonard hurting his ankle. Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich already ripped the Warriors big man and among his supporters is Oklahoma City Thunder's triple-double machine, Russell Westbrook. 

Uproxx was one of the first media outlets to report Westbrook's show of support to Popovich. House of Highlights posted a video of Popovich talking about the play that led to Leonard leaving in Game 1 and the Thunder star liked it. 

The report mentioned that during the regular season, there was a moment when Pachulia floored Westbrook via a screen. The Warriors veteran stayed on top of the MVP candidate which led to them having a mild altercation. Perhaps this prompted Westbrook to side with Popovich and the Spurs, although it is no secret that there is a feeling of dislike towards Golden State. 

Popovich's statements directed at Pachulia were made Monday while he was speaking to reporters, ESPN reported. It was a rare sight since the five-time NBA champion coach was livid. 

In a separate report by ESPN, it was stated that the Warriors' Pachulia responded to Popovich. The 33-year-old expressed respect to the Spurs coach but defended himself. 

"My approach to this game for 14 years that I've been in the league is to play hard and [give] 100 percent of whatever I have. So, I don't agree with the calls that I'm a dirty player. I'm not a dirty player. I love this game and I'm playing hard. That's what I was taught since day one," Pachulia explained according to the report.

The Warriors-Spurs series will continue today, still at the Oracle Arena. Popovich shared that Leonard would likely miss Game 2, although the results of his MRI were negative which is good news. 

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