Spurs coach Popovich rips Pachulia for injuring Leonard

UNTV News   •   May 16, 2017   •   3267

FILE PHOTO – May 7, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich looks up during the second quarter against the Houston Rockets in game four of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

(The Sports Xchange) – San Antonio star forward Kawhi Leonard will miss Tuesday night’s Game 2 of the Western Conference finals at the Kawhi Leonard, leaving Spurs coach Gregg Popovich irate over what he felt was an avoidable injury.

Popovich lashed out at Warriors center Zaza Pachulia for his defense on Leonard, telling reporters Monday that the play was “dangerous” and “unsportsmanlike” and citing a past pattern of such play by Pachulia.

Leonard aggravated his left ankle injury on Sunday in Game One of the best-of-seven series when he landed on Pachulia’s foot after taking a jump shot early in the third quarter.

San Antonio held a 23-point lead at the time of the injury but couldn’t hold of a furious comeback without its best player and dropped a 113-111 decision.

“Lead with your foot close-out is not appropriate. It’s dangerous, it’s unsportsmanlike, it’s just not what anybody does to anybody else,” Popovich fumed. “And this particular individual has a history with that kind of action. … A totally unnatural close-out that the league has outlawed years ago and pays great attention to it.

“We’ve had a pretty damn good season. We’ve played fairly well in the playoffs … and we’re up 23 points in the third quarter against Golden State, and Kawhi goes down like that. And you want to know if our chances are less? And you want to know how we feel? That’s how we feel.”

Pachulia took exception with Popovich’s assertion that his defensive closeout on Leonard was “dangerous” and “unsportsmanlike.”

“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,” Pachulia said on Monday. “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.”

Leonard injured the same ankle in Game Five of the Western semifinals on Tuesday and sat out Game Six against the Houston Rockets on Thursday. He had 26 points and eight rebounds in just 24 minutes of action.

The All-Star small forward scored a game-high 18 points in the first half as the Spurs stunned the top-seeded Warriors with a 62-42 start.

But Leonard tweaked the ankle when he stepped back into the Spurs’ bench while attempting a three-pointer early in the third period. Then after a brief stint on the bench, he returned and landed on Pachulia’s foot on a jumper, which sent Leonard limping to the bench for good.

The Spurs were leading 78-55 when Leonard left the game with 7:54 remaining in the third quarter. Golden State immediately responded with an 18-0 run to get back into the game.

Popovich said if Leonard remained in the game and San Antonio lost, he would go to practice the next day and “move on. But this is crap.

“And because he’s has got this history, it can’t be, ‘Oh this was inadvertent, he didn’t have intent,’ ” Popovich said of Pachulia. “Who gives a damn what his intent was? Have you ever heard of manslaughter? You still go to jail I think when you’re texting and you end up killing somebody but may have not intended to do that. All I care is what I saw, all I care about is what happened. And the history there exasperates the whole situation and makes me very, very angry.”

NBA roundup: Popovich ties for 3rd on wins list

UNTV News   •   January 9, 2019

FILE PHOTO – May 7, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich looks up during the second quarter against the Houston Rockets in game four of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

DeMar DeRozan had 26 points, nine assists and seven rebounds and Gregg Popovich continued his climb up the NBA’s career wins list as the visiting San Antonio Spurs defeated the Detroit Pistons 119-107 on Monday.

Popovich earned the 1,221st victory of his career, tying him with Jerry Sloan for third on the NBA’s all-time list among coaches. The 23rd-year Spurs coach trails only Don Nelson (1,335) and Lenny Wilkens (1,332).

San Antonio dominated the last three quarters after falling behind early. Just as they did against the Utah Jazz on Saturday, the Pistons got off to a good start, jumping out to a 21-9 lead with 4:55 remaining in the first quarter.

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting for the Spurs, who have won five straight and six of their last seven. Blake Griffin had 34 points and eight assists, and Andre Drummond had 19 points and 14 rebounds in defeat for the Pistons, who have lost five of six.

Rockets 125, Nuggets 113

James Harden produced another sparkling double-double but this time received plenty of help as Houston extended its home-court winning streak to 10 games with a victory over Western Conference-leading Denver.

Harden paired 32 points with 14 assists. The Rockets also received a career-high 31 points from center Clint Capela (plus nine rebounds) and 21 points apiece from P.J. Tucker and Gerald Green. The Rockets bounced back after having their six-game win streak end Saturday against the Trail Blazers.

Houston finished 22 of 47 from behind the arc to outflank the Nuggets, who had a five-game winning streak snapped and lost to the Rockets for the second time this season. Nikola Jokic paced Denver with 24 points and 13 rebounds.

Celtics 116, Nets 95

Marcus Smart drained 3-pointers on consecutive possessions in the first quarter to begin a game-changing run by host Boston, which went on to beat Brooklyn.

The Celtics have won three straight and four of five. The Nets, who were trying to reach .500 beyond the midway point of the season for the first time since the 2013-14 campaign, had a three-game winning streak snapped and lost for just the fourth time in the last 16 games.

Kylie Irving, who returned after missing two games with a left eye injury, scored 17 points to lead a balanced Celtics attack. Seven other players scored in double figures for Boston. Rookie Rodions Kurucs scored 24 points and drained five 3-pointers for the Nets.

Bucks 114, Jazz 102

Giannis Antetokounmpo recorded 30 points and 10 rebounds to help Milwaukee register a win over visiting Utah.

Malcolm Brogdon added 21 points for the Bucks, who won for the 10th time in their past 12 games. Brook Lopez contributed 15 points and eight rebounds, Thon Maker also scored 15 and Khris Middleton had 14 points and seven rebounds.

Donovan Mitchell scored 26 points for the Jazz but missed all five shots while going scoreless in the fourth quarter. Rudy Gobert added 14 points and 15 rebounds.

Lakers 107, Mavericks 97

Los Angeles put together a dominant third quarter to rally from a 15-point deficit and win at Dallas.

Brandon Ingram scored a season-high 29 points, Lonzo Ball had 21 and Michael Beasley, with 13 points, was key contributor in a third quarter the Lakers won 32-13. Los Angeles earned just its second victory in seven games playing without injured star LeBron James.

Mavs rookie Luka Doncic finished with a team-high 27 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

Pelicans 114, Grizzlies 95

Anthony Davis had 36 points and 13 rebounds as host New Orleans defeated Memphis. The Pelicans, who handed the Cavaliers their ninth consecutive loss on Saturday in Cleveland, gave the Grizzlies their sixth consecutive loss.

The Pelicans last won consecutive games during a three-game winning streak from Nov. 16-19. Memphis dropped to 3-13 since a 107-103 victory against the host Pelicans on Dec. 7.

Frank Jackson came off the bench to add 17 points for the Pelicans. Mike Conley led Memphis with 22 points and 10 assists, JaMychal Green came off the Grizzlies’ bench to score 16.

Kings 111, Magic 95

De’Aaron Fox led a balanced attack with 20 points as host Sacramento followed up a record-setting shooting performance with one of its best defensive efforts of the season in a victory over travel-weary Orlando.

The Kings limited the Magic to 36.8 percent shooting and the third-lowest scoring output for a Sacramento opponent this season en route to their second straight season-series sweep of Orlando.

Terrence Ross came off the bench to score 20 points for the Magic, who were playing their fifth straight on the road and second in two days, having lost to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.

Trail Blazers 111, Knicks 101

Jusuf Nurkic scored 20 points to lead six Trail Blazers in double figures as Portland swept to a victory over visiting New York.

CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard both added 17 points, and Lillard had nine assists for the Trail Blazers, who won for the ninth time in 13 games. Seth Curry scored 13 points, and Jake Layman and Evan Turner had 10 apiece for Portland.

Enes Kanter came off the bench for 18 points and 14 rebounds, Emmanuel Mudiay scored 17 points, and Noah Vonleh contributed 16 points and 14 boards for the Knicks, who have lost in 14 of their past 16 outings.

—Field Level Media

NBA roundup: Curry, Warriors win 3-pointer battle with Kings

UNTV News   •   January 7, 2019

Stephen Curry connected on 10 3-pointers as part of a 42-point performance Saturday night, helping the Golden State Warriors outlast the host Sacramento Kings 127-123 in a game that featured the most combined 3-pointers in NBA history.

The Warriors went 21-for-47 from beyond the arc while the Kings made a franchise-record 20 in 36 attempts. The 41 3-pointers were one more than the previous record of 40 set in a game last season between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Curry, who finished 14-for-26 from the field and 10-for-20 on 3-pointers, scored 20 of his 42 points in the fourth quarter, none bigger than a three-point play off a Draymond Green assist that put Golden State ahead for good at 123-121 with 2:03 to go.

Kevin Durant backed Curry with 29 points and nine assists, while Klay Thompson added 20 points. Buddy Hield buried a career-high eight 3-pointers in 13 attempts to account for most of his scoring on a 32-point night for the Kings.

Raptors 123, Bucks 116

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 43 points and grabbed 18 rebounds for the Bucks, who had won five in a row and six straight at home.

Trail Blazers 110, Rockets 101

Jusuf Nurkic scored 25 points and grabbed 15 rebounds as host Portland ended both Houston’s six-game winning streak and James Harden’s five-game run of scoring at least 40 points.

CJ McCollum scored 24 points, and Damian Lillard contributed 17 points and 12 assists for the Trail Blazers. Harden finished with 38 points after missing a layup in the closing seconds.

Austin Rivers scored 21 points, and Clint Capela added 13 points and 21 rebounds for the Rockets, who lost for only the third time in the last 11 meetings with the Blazers.

Nuggets 123, Hornets 110

Nikola Jokic had 39 points and 12 rebounds, Paul Millsap scored 18 points and host Denver topped Charlotte.

Gary Harris added 17 off the bench for Denver, which has won five straight and nine of its last 11.

Kemba Walker led Charlotte with 20 points, while Marvin Williams, Bismack Biyombo and Malik Monk scored 16 apiece.

Jazz 110, Pistons 105

Donovan Mitchell racked up 26 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals, and visiting Utah defeated Detroit.

Ricky Rubio contributed 18 points, Joe Ingles had 16 and Derrick Favors added 13 for Utah. The Jazz erased an early 18-point deficit.

Blake Griffin led Detroit with 34 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Reggie Bullock supplied 19 points and Andre Drummond, playing in his 500th career game, had 15 points and 18 rebounds.

76ers 106, Mavericks 100

Furkan Korkmaz buried a key 3-pointer with 1:34 remaining to stall a Dallas rally, helping host Philadelphia hold on for the win.

Ben Simmons recorded a triple-double with 20 points, a game-high 14 rebounds and a game-high 11 assists while Joel Embiid provided a double-double with a game-high 25 points and 12 rebounds, leading the 76ers to a third consecutive win despite the absence of Jimmy Butler, who missed the game with an illness.

Wesley Matthews connected on four 3-pointers to account for a majority of his team-high 18 points for the Mavericks.

Pelicans 133, Cavaliers 98

Jrue Holiday and Julius Randle scored 22 points each as visiting New Orleans handed reeling Cleveland its ninth consecutive loss.

Seven Pelicans scored in double figures. Anthony Davis had 20 points and 10 rebounds, Elfrid Payton scored 13 points and E’Twaun Moore added 10. Randle also had 12 rebounds and eight assists.

Jordan Clarkson led the Cavaliers with 23 points, Jalen Jones and Collin Sexton had 15 each, Cedi Osman scored 13 and Tristan Thompson had 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Spurs 108, Grizzlies 88

Derrick White scored 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the floor, and LaMarcus Aldridge added 18 points as San Antonio bested visiting Memphis to earn its fourth straight victory.

San Antonio led by 20 points at the half and by 88-66 after three quarters and survived a 14-0 run by Memphis early in the final quarter before cruising to its 12th win in the past 15 games. Patty Mills added 15 points for the Spurs, with DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl scoring 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Mike Conley led Memphis with 21 points while Jaren Jackson Jr. and Dillon Brooks added 15 each for the Grizzlies. Marc Gasol grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds while JaMychal Green pulled down 10 boards.

—Field Level Media

Highlights of Tuesday’s NBA games

UNTV News   •   December 14, 2017

Dec 12, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) runs back up the court during the second half against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeat the Spurs 95-89. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

(The Sports Xchange) – Highlights of National Basketball Association games on Tuesday:

Mavericks 95, Spurs 89

Kawhi Leonard made his long-anticipated season debut Tuesday and looked to be in mid-season form, although his San Antonio Spurs fell apart in the fourth quarter without him and lost to the Dallas Mavericks 95-89.

The Spurs’ All-Star forward missed the first 27 games of the season because of a quad injury. He quickly displayed his all-around excellence, producing 13 points on 6-of-12 shooting and adding six rebounds, one assist, one steal and a block.

Leonard did it all in 16 minutes as coach Gregg Popovich promised a gradual reintroduction. Leonard’s lone offensive rebound was a tip-out to himself that led to a bucket for a 55-50 San Antonio lead, and Popovich pulled him for good soon after.

The Mavericks, sparked by guard J.J. Barea’s aggressive drives to the basket, opened the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run, went up 91-80 with 4:01 to go and held on to snap the Spurs’ four-game winning streak as well as end their own three-game skid.

76ers 118, Timberwolves 112 (OT)

Joel Embiid had 28 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, and J.J. Redick scored 26 points as Philadelphia pulled out an overtime victory over Minnesota.

Ben Simmons was held scoreless until 1:17 remained in regulation, but he ended up with seven points and eight assists for Philadelphia. The 76ers snapped a four-game losing streak by scoring the first six points of overtime and holding on in the back-and-forth game.

Jimmy Butler scored a season-high 38 points for Timberwolves, who shot only 40.7 percent from the field. Karl-Anthony Towns had his league-leading 22nd double-double with 19 points and 16 rebounds, and Andrew Wiggins scored 20 points for Minnesota.

Knicks 113, Lakers 109 (OT)

Kristaps Porzingis scored 37 points as New York emerged with an overtime victory over Los Angeles.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope paced the Lakers with 24 points. Los Angeles rookies Lonzo Ball (17 points, eight rebounds, six assists) and Kyle Kuzma (19 points) played well in their Madison Square Garden debuts.

Kuzma hit a 3-pointer with 23.9 seconds left to tie the game at 99, but New York’s Michael Beasley had two baskets and an assist on a Doug McDermott layup during a 69-second run in overtime to give the Knicks a six-point lead they would not relinquish.

Cavaliers 123, Hawks 114

Setting a season high with 20 3-pointers, Cleveland topped Atlanta.

LeBron James scored 25 points and tied a career high with 17 assists. He made two 3-pointers. Kyle Korver (19 points) drained six 3-pointers, and Kevin Love (17 points, 12 rebounds) added four treys, as did Jose Calderon (14 points, tying a season high).

Taurean Prince paced the Hawks with 24 points, and Kent Bazemore added 20.

Nuggets 103, Pistons 84

Jamal Murray fired in 28 points and reserve Trey Lyles tossed in 20, leading Denver to the easy victory over slumping Detroit.

Wilson Chandler scored 18 points, while Mason Plumlee supplied 10 points and a season-high 13 rebounds for the Nuggets, who never trailed. Gary Harris added eight points, six rebounds, nine assists and four steals.

The Pistons lost their seventh straight, their longest skid since dropping 10 in a row during February and March 2015. Langston Galloway led Detroit with 18 points.

Nets 103, Wizards 98

Allen Crabbe shook off a rough shooting night to hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 44 seconds left as Brooklyn beat Washington.

Crabbe was among seven Nets in double figures, finishing with 13 points. He shot 3 of 15 overall, 3 of 14 from 3-point range on a night when Brooklyn made 23.3 percent from long range.

Bradley Beal led Washington with 28 points but only scored three points in the fourth quarter. He shot 11 of 33 and missed all seven of his 3-point attempts.

Kings 99, Suns 92

Zach Randolph scored 11 of his 17 points during the final five minutes, and his three-point play with 44.9 seconds left helped lift Sacramento past Phoenix.

George Hill scored 18 points, and Buddy Hield contributed 14 points off the bench as Sacramento ended a three-game home losing streak.

TJ Warren scored 18 points to lead the Suns, who have dropped four in a row and nine of their past 11. Reserve Mike James scored 17 points in 20 minutes, Tyler Ulis added 10 points, and Tyson Chandler had seven points and 10 rebounds for Phoenix.

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