The San Antonio Spurs have not asked the NBA league office to review Zaza Pachulia's foul on Kawhi Leonard from the team's 113-111 loss to the Golden State Warriors during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on Sunday, according to Mike Monroe of the Rivard Report.
Gregg Popovich confirmed to reporters (via Michael C. Wright of ESPN.com) that Leonard will likely miss Game 2 after Pachulia's closeout on a Leonard corner jumper resulted in the Spurs superstar landing on Pachulia's foot and twisting his ankle.
Popovich questioned Pachulia's closeout Monday.
"A totally unnatural closeout that the league has outlawed years ago and pays great attention to it," he told reporters, per Nunzio Ingrassia of Fox Sports. "And Kawhi’s not there. And you want to know how we feel about it. You want to know if that lessens our chances or not."
Popovich cited Pachulia's history while questioning the incident.
"The play where he took Kawhi down and locked his arm in Dallas—he could have broken his arm," he said. "Ask David West, his current teammate, how things went when Zaza was playing with Dallas and he and David got into it. Then think about the history he's had and what that means to a team what happened last night."
He continued, "Because he's got this history, [people say] 'It was inadvertent. He didn't have intent.' Who gives a damn about what his intent was. ... All I care is what I saw, all I care about is what happened. The history there exacerbates the situation and makes me very, very angry."
Leonard, on the other hand, said he did not believe Pachulia intended to hurt him.
Leonard's injury is a huge blow for a Spurs team fresh off blowing a 23-point lead in Game 1. But it's also a concern after Leonard missed the end of Game 5 and all of Game 6 in the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets with an ankle injury. His status going forward in these playoffs is now a major question mark.
The Spurs cannot afford to lose their MVP candidate against a loaded Warriors team that includes Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green and has gone 9-0 this postseason. Whatever Pachulia's intent—and whether the league office has anything to say about the incident—Leonard's injury could become a huge factor in the Western Conference Finals.