There's no question that Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals changed course when Kawhi Leonard went down with an injury.
The San Antonio Spurs built a 25-point lead in the first half and were up by 23 when Leonard left with an injury. The Golden State Warriors immediately went on an 18-0 run and won 113-111.
Here's the play in which Leonard got injured (For app users, click here):
Nice Zaza.... pic.twitter.com/F2oDk2ljl6— Taylor Hair (@Taylor_Hair5) May 14, 2017
As you can see, Zaza Pachulia didn't jump when he contested Kawhi's shot but continued to run under Leonard after the shot was taken.
Most NBA observers would recognize this as a dirty play and not only a foul, but a flagrant one at that. It's common knowledge in NBA circles that the easiest way to injure someone on an otherwise common foul is to run under them as they contest a shot so that the shooter lands on a defender's foot and suffers an injury.
Given the attention that the injury will get in the coverage of this game, you wonder if the NBA will take a look at it and further penalize Pachulia for that play.
After the game, Kawhi Leonard described what happened and while he didn't think that Pachulia injured him on purpose, he admitted that he hadn't seen the replay.
We're likely to learn Kawhi's status going forward on Monday, whether Pop will hold him out until Game 3, which won't be played until Saturday, or if Kawhi may be done for the playoffs.
Remember, Kawhi went into this game with that ankle already injured and then tweaked it earlier in the 3rd quarter.
Stay tuned to KENS 5 and KENS5.com for updates on his status.
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