Russell Westbrook

Westbrook, George rip Zaza over latest incident; Kyrie Irving chimes in

Westbrook, George rip Zaza over latest incident; Kyrie Irving chimes in

Yet again, Zaza Pachulia and Russell Westbrook got tangled up in a controversial play.

With just over two minutes remaining in the third quarter on Saturday night, Westbrook missed a driving layup. As he came down, he fell to the floor with Nick Young.

While Westbrook was on the ground, an untouched Pachulia fell on the Thunder guard's legs.

After the game, Westbrook got into a contentious back-and-forth with reporters regarding the incident with Pachulia.

Reporter: Do you think it was intentional?

Westbrook: Did you see it? What'd it look like? Did anybody touch him? Yes or no? Oh, you didn't see it? But why you asking me 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. Obviously it was intentional. Nobody touched him, he fell over my leg, tried to hurt me, but hey, that's how it go.

Reporter: Do you think that's something the league needs to look into?

Westbrook: Hey man, they'll see it and take a look at it. They'll see it.

Reporter: You've had a couple run-ins with Zaza. Do you think he's a dirty player?

Westbrook: Yeah, for sure. For sure.

Westbrook's teammate Paul George had some choice words for Pachulia after the Warriors' 112-80 win.

"You know Zaza. You know his history. Nobody pushed him. He aimed where he was going to fall. That's Zaza making a Zaza play. He's on the end of hurting a lot of guys," George told reporters.

Thunder players weren't the only ones to call out Pachulia for his actions on Saturday night. Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving posted a comment on a video of the play on Instagram.

"The league has to take a look at this man, that s*** is ridiculous!!" Irving wrote.

Last season, Pachulia stood over Westbrook after fouling him during a game at Oracle Arena.

Warriors seek revenge against Thunder after two blow-out losses

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USATSI

Warriors seek revenge against Thunder after two blow-out losses

OAKLAND -- Never in the Steve Kerr era have the Warriors been swept in a season series. Their best chance to keep it that way comes Saturday.

That’s when the Warriors (45-14) face Oklahoma City, against whom they are 0-2, and neither game was close. Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4:30, with postgame coverage immediately after the final horn.

While integrating stars Carmelo Anthony and Paul George with reigning MVP Russell Westbrook, the Thunder (34-26) have had an uneven season, but managed to find their best in two double-digit wins over the Warriors.

The teams will meet once more this season, April 3 on OKC’s home court.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 9.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Stephen Curry vs. Russell Westbrook: They won’t always be assigned to each other, but no two point guards strike more fear into opponents than these two. The Warriors concede it’s too much to ask one individual to contain Westbrook, so they’ll often send help in an effort to keep him from being productive in the paint. The Thunder are well aware of the damage Curry can inflict. The winner of this battle gives his team an infinitely better chance to prevail.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: F Draymond Green (R shoulder soreness) is listed as probable. F Jordan Bell (L ankle inflammation) and G Pat McCaw (L wrist fracture) are listed as out.

Thunder: G/F Andre Roberson (L patellar tendon rupture) is listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 6-4.

Thunder: 4-6.

GAME OFFICIALS

Scott Foster (crew chief), Pat Fraher, Scott Wall

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors have dropped the first two meetings, 108-91 on Nov. 22 in Oklahoma City and 125-105 on Feb. 6 in Oakland. The Warriors swept four games last season and are 14-6, including postseason, against OKC in the Steve Kerr era.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE GIFTS: No team this season has punished the Warriors for their turnovers as harshly as OKC has. The Thunder scored 72 points off 47 Warriors giveaways in two games. If the Warriors don’t take care of the ball, they’re inviting more of the same.

THE GLASS: OKC C Steven Adams leads the NBA in offensive rebounds (5.3 per game), helping the Thunder ring up 35 second-chance points, to 21 for the Warriors in the first two games. The Warriors will have to be more aggressive in the paint.

KD VS. PG: A captivating matchup of two superb small forwards. Kevin Durant is the more gifted scorer, Paul George the more consistent defender. PG won earlier this month with 38 points, six steals and five rebounds to KD’s 33 points and 6 rebounds.

Warriors vs Thunder finally bigger than Durant vs Westbrook

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Warriors vs Thunder finally bigger than Durant vs Westbrook

OAKLAND -- The Kevin Durant-Russell Westbrook subplot, which received the sensationalized treatment of a Pay-Per-View title fight, has its resolution. It’s history, so Warriors-Thunder is now about the fate of two basketball teams.

Which is as it should be when the challenger, Oklahoma City, has smoked the defending champion Warriors twice in a row this season. That fact is plenty enough to generate drama.

“In two games against them, we really weren’t very competitive,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

In the first meeting, last Nov. 22, the Thunder attacked like a school of piranha. The Warriors led for all of about four minutes and not at all after the first five minutes. OKC scored 13 points off 10 first-half turnovers, went up 17 at the half and as much as 26 before taking a 108-91 victory in Oklahoma City.

If that got the full attention of the Warriors, it didn’t seem make a difference when the team confronted each other 18 days ago in Oakland. The Thunder rolled to a wire-to-wire 125-105 win that raised eyebrows around the NBA.

When the Warriors get their third crack on Saturday at Oracle Arena, there will be stakes. Not so much for OKC, but certainly for the Warriors.

“They beat us twice, so we definitely want to win,” Durant said, as if reading directly from the platitude pamphlet. “We want to play good basketball for four quarters and we want to win every possession.”

This is not “one of 82,” or “just another game.” This is about a team taking up for itself, fighting back after being twice bullied. The Thunder forced 47 turnovers, off which the scored 72 points. The Warriors didn’t merely lose those games. They were handled, throttled, backhanded and boot-stomped.

A proud team such as the Warriors doesn’t suffer such humiliation unless it is helpless, and that’s the last thing they are against an OKC team that has lost 26 games, as many as four in a row (twice) and by as much as 25, to the Lakers no less.

“We didn’t play with enough force,” Durant said, referring to the first two games against the Thunder. “They’re long and athletic, so we’ve to got to play with a little bit more force. And I’m confident that we will.”

The Warriors have lost several games this season against vastly inferior teams, even at Oracle. They’ve been sloppy enough to give away games and passive enough on defense to invite defeat. These factors have dropped them into unfamiliar territory, with the second-best record in the Western Conference and facing what looms as a bloody battle over the final seven weeks for the overall No. 1 seed.

Now, with the All-Star break behind them and the regular-season finish coming into view, they’d like to erase those memories quickly, beginning with the beginning.

“We’ve just got to come out with a sense of urgency,” Durant explained. “We’ve got to take the game. We can’t sit back and be relaxed and expect the game to just go our way. Sometimes, we can do that. But most of the time, we’ve got to go out there and take it.”

That’s the thing with the Thunder. With the irrepressible Westbrook leading the charge, they seem to find another gear when taking the floor against the Warriors.

The Warriors know they have an extra gear. They don’t know if it’s enough to chill the Thunder.

“The main focus is ourselves,” Kerr said. “But you go into a game knowing that a team has beaten you twice, handily, you have to take that into account and play accordingly,” Kerr said. “I think our guys will be ready to go.”

Durant seems ready, at least mentally.

Asked about his comments during All-Star Weekend, when he admitted being primarily guilty for the deterioration of his relationship with Westbrook, while also making reference to them having talked, Durant brushed away elaboration.

“Does that have anything to do with basketball?” he asked. “It don’t really matter what we talked about. The only thing that matters is the basketball court. We got a tough one tomorrow.”

Give the man points for keeping with the facts.