Warriors

Kawhi Leonard asked about NBA's new 'Zaza Pachulia rule'

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USATI

Kawhi Leonard asked about NBA's new 'Zaza Pachulia rule'

Do you remember Game 1 of the 2017 Western Conference Finals?

A refresher: The Spurs led by 21 with about eight minutes remaining in the third quarter and Zaza Pachulia fouled Kawhi Leonard on a jump shot.

Leonard landed on Pachulia's foot, rolled his ankle (for the second time in a matter of minutes) and did not play again during the series (Leonard made both free throws and then left the game for good). 

At media day on Monday, Leonard was asked about the NBA's new rule for the 2017-18 season.

"Think it's good to protect the player from getting hurt," Leonard told reporters. "I think it's a good rule just for the defender to be cautious."

Months later, does Leonard believe Pachulia's play was dirty?

"It's over with now. Would just rather talk about the new season. If it was dirty, or if it wasn't, it's not gonna help anything right now."

What new rule?

As the Associated Press' Brian Mahoney wrote last week:

"NBA referees will be able to call flagrant or technical fouls on defenders who dangerously close on jump shooters without allowing them space to land, as Zaza Pachulia did on the play that injured Spurs star Kawhi Leonard in last season’s playoffs.

After calling a foul, officials will now be able to look at replay to determine if the defender recklessly positioned his foot in an unnatural way, which could trigger an upgrade to a flagrant, or a technical if there was no contact but an apparent attempt to injure."

When many in the basketball world called Pachulia's play dirty, the Warriors big man said: "That's really stupid."

The Warriors and Spurs meet for the first time this season on Nov. 2 in San Antonio.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Report: Gordon Hayward 'unlikely to return' this season

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AP

Report: Gordon Hayward 'unlikely to return' this season

Despite the severity of Gordon Hayward's injury, there was a small bit of hope that he might be able to return this season.

It appears that won't happen.

Hayward underwent surgery Wednesday night and is "unlikely to return this season," his agent Mark Bartelstein told ESPN.

"We expect him to make a full recovery and return to his All-Star form," Bartelstein told ESPN.

The Celtics' prized offseason acquisition suffered the terrifying ankle injury just five minutes into his Boston debut on Tuesday night. He was diagnosed with a dislocated left ankle and broken tibia.

After playing in Cleveland on Tuesday, the Celtics returned to Boston for their home opener on Wednesday against the Bucks. Prior to the game, a 30-second video message from Hayward to the fans was played in the arena.

“What’s up, everybody? Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who’s had me in their thoughts and prayers,” Hayward said. “I’m going to be all right. It’s hurting me that I can’t be there for the home opener. I want nothing more than to be with my teammates and walk out on that floor tonight. But I’ll be supporting you guys from here, and wishing you the best of luck. Kill it tonight.”

Steve Kerr: #FakeKlay 'perfect metaphor for our conditioning'

Steve Kerr: #FakeKlay 'perfect metaphor for our conditioning'

First, there was #ChinaKlay.

Now, there is #FakeKlay.

In case you missed it, a Klay Thompson lookalike was seated behind the Warriors bench during their season-opening loss to the Rockets on Tuesday. He had the full jersey, the facial hair and the cadence.

A day later, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was asked about #FakeKlay and he used it as an opportunity to state that he felt his players were out of shape.

"I thought it was a perfect metaphor for our conditioning as a team," Kerr told the media in Oakland. "I turned around and was like 'Klay, did you have a few extra burgers last night? What happened?' That was great. I love that guy."

So Kerr is definitely a fan of #FakeKlay. No word yet if the real Klay has met #FakeKlay. We'll let you know if they do cross paths.