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'You guys think I did it on purpose?' Zaza Pachulia endures questions about Kevin Durant injury

'You guys think I did it on purpose?' Zaza Pachulia endures questions about Kevin Durant injury

Imagine you're an NBA player and you accidentally hurt your new superstar teammate during a game. Without him, you lose. 

Now imagine that you have to answer a zillion questions about how you injured your own guy, in precise detail, immediately after the fact.

Yup, Zaza Pachulia's night was objectively, indesputably awful. 

All 275 pounds of him fell backwards into Kevin Durant in the first quarter of Tuesday's loss to the Wizards. Durant hyper-extended his left knee and was declared out.

The Warriors were still awaiting the results of his MRI after the game. 

"I just saw the replay and I had no idea [Durant] was behind me," Pachulia told the crowd of press surrounding him outside the locker room. "It was just a basketball play."

Right after that answer, someone asked again if he realized he'd fallen on Durant. 

"No, I didn't know he was behind me," he insisted. "Do you guys think I did it on purpose?" 

No, no! That's not what anyone meant, the scrum assured him. But did he talk to Durant at halftime?

"No, I just texted him. I texted him and he's not around," Pachulia said.

"We care about each other. Obviously when somebody goes down, hopefully it's nothing serious, but even small injuries, we care about each other." 

A different reporter asked how much the Warriors missed Durant on the floor, and if that had anything to do with the bleak atmosphere in the postgame locker room. 

"Of course, he's just a huge part of our team and what we do," Pachulia said. "Obviously KD is the number one reason, but at the same time because we lost the game." 

Then, from the back of the crowd, another voice apologized for not hearing Pachulia's answers, then asked if he could re-explain how he'd injured Durant. 

"Nothing much to say my friend. It's just a basketball play. Nothing much to say. I just fell and he was behind me and I had no idea." 

Woof. 

MORE WIZARDS: Kerr commented on Wall's of 'cheap shoes' in feisty exchange

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Wizards' Troy Brown Jr. says it was scary hearing Rudy Gobert contracted coronavirus

Wizards' Troy Brown Jr. says it was scary hearing Rudy Gobert contracted coronavirus

By the time Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus and the NBA subsequently suspended the 2019-20 season, a number of teams who'd played Utah leading up to the suspension had to self-quarantine as a precaution. 

One of them was the Washington Wizards.

They suffered a 10-point loss to the Jazz 12 days before Gobert tested positive, so they urged their players to self-quarantine for several days. Fortunately for the Wizards, no player ended up tested positive for the virus.

Washington's second-year wing joined Chris Miller on the Wizards Talk Podcast and gave a window into what his reaction was to the fact he had played the Jazz leading up to Gobert's positive test. 

"I wasn't touching [Gobert]," Brown said with a laugh. "I didn't go in for no layups or anything like that. But all jokes aside though, it was one of those things that was scary because I didn't know really what to expect coming out of it."

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Heading into the league's suspension, Brown was enjoying a strong season where he showed a lot of improvement from his rookie year. He was averaging 9.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists on much better shooting splits (45.3% FG, 34.5% 3P in 19-20 vs. 41.5% FG, 31.9% 3P in 18-19). 

Brown seemed to have much more success coming off the bench with a unit in which he had more ball-handling opportunities. We'll see if he can continue to grow when basketball returns, though the 20-year-old is forced to focus on the challenges that come with isolation. 

"It definitely is a lot easier being with my family and being in my own space and being able to make decisions for myself," Brown said. "Being in D.C. was kind of hard because I didn't have anybody else there besides my dog, living by myself in quarantine. I feel like it's those people that are struggling with the quarantine stuff being isolated by themselves because you don't really know what to do."

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Arizona's Nico Mannion, likely lottery pick, declares for NBA Draft

Arizona's Nico Mannion, likely lottery pick, declares for NBA Draft

The 2020 NBA Draft, whenever and however it ends up taking place, is shaping up to be heavy at the guard position. One of the highest rated prospects entered his name into the mix on Tuesday.

Arizona point guard Nico Mannion, a 6-foot-3 pass-first point guard, declared for the draft after one year in college. He is projected by most mock drafts to be taken in the lottery.

That means he could be one of the best options on the board when the Wizards make their first round pick. They currently have the ninth-worst record in the NBA.

Mannion, who turned 19 last month, is a gifted passer and is also known for his outside shot, though the percentages weren't there in college. He shot just 39.2 percent from the field and 32.7 percent from three. He averaged 14.0 points and 5.3 assists for the Wildcats.

Mannion is one of several prospects who could present an interesting decision for the Wizards on draft night. Teams often say they choose the best player available, but his style of play and position could clash with their highest-paid players.

Mannion is a pass-first point guard and so is John Wall, whom they have signed to a supermax contract. Whether they could play together or at least coexist in the same rotation would have to be determined by Wizards brass.

The Wizards also have point guard Ish Smith under contract for next season. He has carried a heavy load this season and will likely take up rotation minutes next year as Wall's back-up.

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