Zaza Pachulia

Zaza Pachulia gets 2018 championship ring, visits ex-Warriors teammates

Zaza Pachulia gets 2018 championship ring, visits ex-Warriors teammates

OAKLAND – Even now there are times when the Warriors long for the assets of Zaza Pachulia, who did so many “little” things exceptionally well that it amounted to a unique greatness.

Take his picks, for example. Zaza is one of the best in the NBA at using screens to get in the way of defenders trying to get to his shooters.

Take his humor, for another example. The 6-foot-11, 270-pound center was quick with a quip, which often was made funnier by an accent from the Republic of Georgia.

Pachulia, one of the league’s ultimate blue-collar teammates, returned to Oracle Arena on Sunday as a member of the Detroit Pistons. He wanted to beat the Warriors, with whom he spent the past two seasons, but he wanted a reminder of the success he enjoyed with them.

Zaza wanted the jewelry he earned as a member 2017-18 NBA championship team.

He was presented his ring by the teammate to whom he was closest: Klay Thompson. The two met at midcourt a couple minutes before tipoff, with Thompson presenting the ring and Pachulia receiving a long ovation as a video tribute played on the big screens above.

“The championship ring experience is amazing,” Paculia said before the game. “But what I value the most is the friendships and relationships I’ve built with some of the guys and the things I learned from the coaches.

“That’s the most important thing because life is more than basketball. The friendships and relationships are going to go on for the rest of my life. I’m just lucky to experience such a time with this team on the court and, more important, off the court.”

Pachulia made 127 regular-season starts and 15 more in the postseason during his two seasons with the Warriors. His two young sons, Davit and Saba, were regular visitors at the Warriors practice facility in downtown Oakland, using the place as their playground.

Pachulia exchanged pregame hugs with most of the Warriors, with Kevin Durant interrupting his pregame routine to for several minutes to engage in conversation with Zaza and his sons.

[RELATED: Zaza shares Steph's text message]

“It’s great seeing them,” Pachulia said of his former teammates. “We’ve been in a lot of battles and winning a championship brings you even closer . . . because you truly understand each other. Without the culture and chemistry that you build, it’s impossible to win.

“Those guys are special to me. They’ve been great to my family and I call them family as well.”

Warriors vs. Pistons watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

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USATSI

Warriors vs. Pistons watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

OAKLAND -- Following Saturday's 126-91 beatdown courtesy of the Dallas Mavericks, the Warriors are set to welcome an old friend as the Pistons come to town Sunday evening. 

Pistons big man, Zaza Pachulia, who was a member of the Warriors' last two championship teams, will receive his ring Sunday. Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4 o'clock with Warriors Outsiders, followed by Warriors Pregame Live at 4:30 and scheduled 5:40 pm tip-off.

[RELATED: How to watch Warriors-Pistons live online on the MyTeams app]

Pachulia, who signed with the Pistons last summer, is a critical piece of the Warriors championship fabric. Signed in 2016, Pachulia was a mainstay in the frontcourt during the 2017 championship run, averaging 6.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists, starting every game. Last season, with coach Steve Kerr tinkering with lineups mid-season, Pachulia lost his starting spot following the All-Star break and played in just seven postseason games. However, his lasting impact in Golden State will be his professionalism and guidance to the team's young bigs like Jordan Bell and Kevon Looney. 

On Sunday, the Warriors will reward those qualities with his second championship ring.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Warriors


F Kevin Durant 
F Draymond Green
C Andrew Bogut
G Klay Thompson
G Stephen Curry

Pistons

F Blake Griffin 
C Andre Drummond
G Reggie Jackson
G Wayne Ellington
G Bruce Brown

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: Kevon Looney (Right Forearm Contusion) is questionable. DeMarcus Cousins (Load Management, Return from Achilles Injury), Andre Iguodala (Rest) and Damian Jones (Left Pectoral Surgery) are out.

Pistons: No injuries to report

ROTATION OUTLOOK

Warriors

After a one-game absence for rest, Curry is back in the lineup. Durant will hope to play better after a 9-of-25 performance Sunday.

With Cousins out, look for Bogut to get the start as Steve Kerr prefers to keep the rotation intact. 

Curry will look to get his shot back on track. In his last game, Thursday's win over Indiana, he made just 5-of-15 from the field. Over his last five games, he's shooting just 42.3 percent. 

Pistons

Detroit, like Golden State, will be playing their second game of a back to back Sunday afternoon. 

Griffin has been fantastic this season, averaging 24.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 5.4 assists, earning his sixth All-Star appearance. 

Joining Griffin on the Pistons imposing frontline is Drummond, who's averaging 15.4 rebounds this season and could provide a headache for the Warriors all night long. 

Officials: Josh Tiven (#58), Tyler Ford (#39), Ray Acosta (#54)

Zaza Pachulia shares text Steph Curry sent him during radio interview

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AP

Zaza Pachulia shares text Steph Curry sent him during radio interview

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Saturday afternoon at 4 P.T., streaming live on the MyTeams app.

On Sunday evening, the Warriors host the Pistons at Oracle.

You know what that means, right?

Zaza Pachulia is back!

On Friday morning, the big man who won two titles with the Warriors was a guest on 95.7 The Game.

He talked about the excitement surrounding receiving his 2018 championship ring, what he learned during his two seasons with Golden State, the narrative that he's a dirty player, and much more.

And just before the conversation came to an end, Zaza closed with this:

"Can't wait to see everybody and I just want to give a shoutout to Steph Curry and Jarron Collins who just texted me to tell me that my voice sounds beautiful ... can't wait to see them."

I wonder if that's the first time anybody has ever told Zaza that his voice sounds beautiful. Maybe his wife has said it once or twice before.

[REWINDZaza Pachulia trolls Kevin Durant about Omri Casspi's 20 points]

The 35-year old is averaging 4.1 points and 4.2 rebounds in 13.4 minutes per game this season.

He scored a season-high 11 points in Detroit's huge win over the Raptors last Sunday.

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