SAN ANTONIO — Zaza Pachulia can handle being the villain of the Western Conference finals.
The Golden State Warriors big man would even understand if Kawhi Leonard were angry with him after the ill-fated meeting of their feet in Game 1, when the San Antonio Spurs star rose for a jumper and came down with a sprained left ankle that might have ended his season. That much will be determined Monday. Leonard is listed as questionable for Game 4, and the Warriors will be trying to complete a sweep.
But what Pachulia can’t tolerate and what he wishes Spurs coach Gregg Popovich would have considered when he fanned the rage of so many fans by deeming the 33-year-old a dirty player and even comparing the play to “manslaughter,” are the social media threats to his family that have left them all shaken. While Pachulia was hesitant to share too many details, the situation was serious enough that security guards were deployed to the entrance of his childrens’ school in the San Francisco Bay Area as a precaution.