Kawhi Leonard Says Zaza Pachulia Isn't Dirty After Aggravating Ankle Injury

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 14, 2017

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 14: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs shoots a free throw during the game against the Golden State Warriors during Game One of the Western Conference Finals of the 2017 NBA Playoffs on May 14, 2017 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Noah Graham/Getty Images

San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard aggravated his sprained left ankle when he landed on Zaza Pachulia's foot during his team's 113-111 loss to the Golden State Warriors in Sunday's Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

After the game, Leonard took the high road and said he didn't think the play was dirty, per Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

The play that completely changed the game.... https://t.co/RUuuomP58q

The team announced the injury in the third quarter, and CBS Sports put the cost of the setback into perspective:

CBS Sports @CBSSports

Just so we're clear... Kawhi's injury was a VERY big deal. https://t.co/cHSwWF7EMn

Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News shared more from Leonard:

Jabari Young @JabariJYoung

Asked about Zaza's contest, Kawhi didn't think it was dirty #Spurs #Warriors https://t.co/v1WM70zNUG

Pachulia was asked whether he undercut Leonard and responded, per Ben Golliver: "That's really stupid. ... I hate anybody going down like that. ... I'm an athlete too."

Leonard, who finished with 26 points and eight rebounds in just 24 minutes, was enforcing his will as San Antonio extended its commanding early lead before the injury.

The Spurs won Game 6 of their second-round series against the Houston Rockets without Leonard, but the two-time defending Western Conference champion Warriors were a different story.

Stephen Curry poured in 40 points, while Kevin Durant added 34 and said, "You can't listen to people on Twitter. They're irrational" when asked about those suggesting Pachulia slid his foot under Leonard intentionally, per Michael Lee of The Vertical.

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NBA TV shared more of Durant's comments:


“Zaza’s not a dirty player… He just tried to contest the shot… It wasn’t intentional at all.” -Kevin Durant #NBAPlayoffs https://t.co/8JUqkHk9xI

The pressing question now for the Spurs is whether their star can return and be 100 percent in the near future. He will have a quick turnaround with Game 2 coming Tuesday.

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