The Golden State Warriors finally solved the Oklahoma City Thunder Saturday night, demolishing them by 32 points to defeat them for the first time this season.
Warriors’ fans were hyped, especially in the third quarter, when Golden State broke the game open by outscoring the Thunder 30-10 in the final 9:20 of the quarter.
A game that had postseason vibes, unfortunately, was overshadowed by two guys who aren’t getting together in the offseason for lunch, Zaza Pachulia and Thunder guard Russell Westbrook.
Pachulia — who’s been replaced by JaVale McGee in the starting lineup — was vital during the Warriors’ third-quarter spurt as he was able to keep Thunder center Steven Adams off the offensive glass. In 19 minutes of action, he was an astonishing plus-27. Who’d a thunk that?
The answer is nobody, but the story is about Pachulia falling onto Westbrook’s knee, and not many people believe it was accidental, including Westbrook himself.
Zaza just fell hard on Russell Westbrook’s legs on purpose… pic.twitter.com/BwXaCbFZgD
— Justin Jett (@JustinJett_) February 25, 2018
Last night, I was the reporter Westbrook lashed out on for asking him if he thought Pachulia’s play was dirty:
Westbrook: “What did it look like? What it looks like? Anybody touch him? Yes or no?”
Me: “I didn’t see the replay.”
Westbrook: “Oh, you didn’t see it? But why you asking about something you didn’t see? Well then if you didn’t see it, don’t ask me a question. Don’t ask me dumb questions, man. Obviously, it was intentional. So don’t ask me if it was intentional. Nobody touched him, he fell on my leg, tried to hurt me. But hey, that’s how it goes.”
— warriorsworld (@warriorsworld) February 25, 2018
I later asked Paul George if he believed the play was dirty, and here’s his response:
“You know Zaza,” George said. “You know his history. You know nobody pushed him. He aimed where he was gonna fall. That’s Zaza making a Zaza play. He’s on the end of hurting a lot of guys.”
A mistake I made was not watching or paying close attention to Pachulia landing on Westbrook. I should have while recognizing the history between the two. My mind was on Carmelo Anthony getting into it with Kevin Durant and Draymond Green, and the brewing rivalry between the two teams.
I wish I had prepared myself better for Westbrook. Every time I’ve been in a scrum, attempting to speak to him, he always seems to be agitated and disinterested in talking to the media.
Whatever. I don’t take it personally, nor should anybody else, but what I love about Westbrook is when he does speak, he’s going to tell it like it is, and I respect that.
Also, I really don’t know if Pachulia’s clumsiness caused him to fall onto Westbrook’s knee, or if he intended to add a little extra mustard once he fell onto his knee. It’s dicey, and knowing Pachulia’s history, it wouldn’t be surprising if the NBA popped him for a game.
However, it’s unfortunate that the scene in the postgame scrum, and of course Pachulia reintroducing himself to Westbrook, overshadowed the statement the Warriors made to the NBA.
The defending champs have a turbo button while the rest of the league can barely top-out in fifth gear, and that’s what the basketball world should be discussing.
But we love drama, and Saturday night provided plenty of it.
Bonta Hill of 95.7 The Game can be heard from 12-3 on the Greg Papa Show. Born and bred in San Francisco, he is a sports junkie who loves to sit in the lab (home), eats breakfast food for dinner, and has a newfound love for tequila. Follow at your own risk on Twitter @BontaHill.