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Bruce Bowen: Zaza Pachulia crossed the line

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich ranted against Zaza Pachulia for his injury-causing closeout of Kawhi Leonard and Pachulia’s seemingly dirty history – which prompted one major question:

How could the man who coached and defended Bruce Bowen be so sanctimonious?

Well, Bowen burst right through that irony, too.

Bowen, via Mike Monroe of Bleacher Report:

“Well, I used to hate it when people called me dirty. I thought it was unfair when people just piggyback on what other people say. And I still do.”

But Bowen has no sympathy whatsoever for Pachulia.

“That play? I’ve watched it and, yeah, I thought he took an extra step,” he said. “Plenty of time to stop where he did, but he continued moving in that direction of Kawhi. That seems like it’s intentional and it’s definitely dangerous.”

“What was his intent?” Bowen said. “You can re-wind something five times and convince yourself of anything. What I saw, he kept moving in that direction after he contested the shot. You know you have to let a player come down. He kept walking into that space, so, for me, that says more about the intent.”

“I don’t know what is going to happen to Zaza,” Bowen said, “but if that had been me, I know what would have happened: suspension.”

I was with Bowen until that last line. He kicked Wally Szczerbiak in the face:

…and got only a fine. There was no plot to unduly punish Bowen.

Bowen is probably still partial to the Spurs, with whom he won three championships and who retired his number. Popovich is obviously loyal to San Antonio.

They have neither objectivity nor the moral high ground. But, in this case, they’re right. Pachulia was dirty.