Spurs television host Andrew Monaco did not think that Zaza Pachulia’s close-out on Kawhi Leonard in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals – which caused Leonard to roll his ankle – was dirty.
At least not at first.
But then he thought more about it.
“When I first saw it, it was no, and then the more I look at it, I’m kind of wondering,” Monaco said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “And then you look at the history that Zaza has had with the Spurs, especially when he was with Dallas. The time he got tied up with Kawhi, they get on the floor, and he won’t let Kawhi’s arm out and they rolled over. And then the time he was swinging his elbows as David West – now his teammate – was defending him, same game. It’s the history that he’s had with the Spurs that makes it a little less obvious, but the first time I saw it, I was like, ‘Man, that’s just unfortunate.’ Now I’m not so sure.”
The Spurs collapsed without Leonard, squandering a 23-point second-half lead and losing 113-111. LaMarcus Alridge had 28 points, but fellow staters Danny Green, Patty Mills, and Pau Gasol combined for just 18 points on 6-of-18 shooting (.333), including 2-of-10 (.200) from three-point range.
That can’t happen in Game 2 on Tuesday.
“The Spurs have to do this collectively,” Monaco said. “They need that total effort. If you’re not getting that, (it’s tough to beat Golden State). They cannot afford to have that many players be off their game.”
Of course, even if the Spurs’ role players are in top form, does San Antonio have any shot of beating Golden State at ORACLE if Leonard doesn’t play?
“Any there team, I would say no chance,” Monaco said. “But because of the veterans that they have, (they have a chance). But there’s a little more doubt on this team. I think the longer they play without Tony Parker and no Kawhi Leonard, I think it makes it a lot tougher against a team like Golden State. You hate losing those two pieces against a team as good as the Warriors.”