Popovich rips Zaza for 'totally unnatural closeout' on Kawhi

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports / Action Images

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich breathed nothing but fire on the microphone while addressing reporters about the controversy in Game 1 against the Golden State Warriors.

Popovich torched Warriors center Zaza Pachulia for his "totally unnatural closeout" when he encroached Kawhi Leonard's airspace while the latter was landing on a jumper. Leonard re-aggravated his ankle injury upon landing on Pachulia's foot, and left the game.

"The two-step, lead-with-your-foot closeout is not appropriate," an irate Popovich began, via Courtney Cronin of Mercury News. "It's dangerous, it's unsportsmanlike, it's just not what anybody does to anybody else. And this particular individual has a history with that kind of action."

"A totally unnatural closeout that the league has outlawed years ago and pays great attention to it. And Kawhi is not there. And you want to know how we feel about it. You want to know if that lessens our chances or not," Popovich continued.

"We're playing very possibly the best team in the league - we don't know what's going to happen in the East - and 9.75 people out of 10 figure the Warriors will beat the Spurs.

"Well, we've had a pretty damn good season, we've played fairly well in the playoffs, I think we're getting better, 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."

Popovich also added: "I don't give a damn about intent, you still go to jail for manslaughter," via Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News.