Extremely Pissed Russell Westbrook, On Zaza Pachulia: "He Tried To Hurt Me"

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The Warriors pounded the bejeezus out of the Oklahoma City Thunder Saturday night, to the tune of 112-80. 80 points is the fewest scored in a game this season by the Thunder, and 32 points is their biggest margin of defeat. It was a wipeout: the Warriors won every quarter, and held the trio of Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony to a disastrous 11-of-46 shooting from the floor.

Late in the third quarter, in transition, Westbrook drove into Nick Young and shot a contested floater that glanced off the front of the rim. Westbrook made a futile stab at grabbing the offensive rebound, and both he and Young tumbled to the floor by the baseline as Steph Curry emerged with the ball and tore off the other way. Then something very, umm, suspicious happened: Zaza Pachulia, who’d been trailing the play and suddenly found himself standing over Westbrook and Young, sort of flopped to the floor, landing directly across Westbrook’s legs. I dunno, man—judge for yourself:

After the game, a seething Westbrook made the assembled press suffer for asking him about the play, before finally coming right out and accusing Pachulia of attempting to cause him injury:

This is obviously not the first time Pachulia has been accused of recklessly using his body as a weapon against opposing superstar players: you will remember a livid Gregg Popovich going on an extended tirade after Pachulia undercut Kawhi Leonard during last season’s playoffs, a move that basically ended that Warriors-Spurs series before it had really begun*.


I obviously cannot know what Pachulia’s intentions were Saturday night—he is, after all, a big lumbering oaf, and there were bodies on the floor at his feet, and shit happens—but, man, it doesn’t look great. If nothing else, that Pachulia often finds himself too awkward to stop himself from doing harm to opposing players (but not himself) means he owes apologies around the league. Russ was salty after an embarrassing loss, but also, sheesh. That play looks iffy as hell.