Durant defends Pachulia for controversial fall on Westbrook


Russell Westbrook accused Zaza Pachulia of trying to hurt him on a play in Saturday's game, but Kevin Durant thinks the Golden State Warriors center did nothing wrong.

The play in question came in the third quarter, with the Oklahoma City Thunder trailing 75-66. Westbrook put up a short floater and missed. He went for the rebound, but got tangled up with Nick Young and fell to the floor under the basket. 

Pachulia, who had trailed the play, then fell directly on Westbrook's legs.

"I don't think Zaza is trying to hurt anybody. He is clumsy. A lot of big guys are," Durant told reporters on Sunday.

"But I watched the tape. I saw Nick's foot get caught up with Zaza's leg, and it might have tripped him up a bit. I don't think he was trying to hurt Russ.

"But it did look to the fans' view, I'm sure to them, it looked kind of like a weird play. I slowed it down, and I saw some clips and pictures everywhere that Nick's leg got caught up in Zaza's leg. I don't think he was trying to hurt him at all. It was an unfortunate play, and I'm glad Russ didn't get hurt."

Westbrook was upset Saturday, and he seemed incredulous when a reporter asked him what happened on the play.

"What do you mean what happened? What'd you think what happened? Don't lie, don't lie, you saw the instant replay four times," Westbrook said. "What happened?

"Don't ask me dumb questions, man. Obviously it was intentional. So, don't ask me if it was intentional. Nobody touched him. He fell on my leg, tried to hurt me. But hey, that's how it goes."

When asked about Westbrook's accusations, Pachulia refused to comment.

"No comment. That's childish. Come on," he said. "I'm not responding to that."

It does not help that Pachulia has a reputation for suspicious-looking plays. Recall last season, when he slid his foot under Kawhi Leonard as the Spurs star launched a jumper in the Western Conference Finals. Leonard landed on Pachulia's foot and aggravated his sprained ankle, causing him to miss the rest of the series.

Pachulia and Westbrook have also tangled before, the former knocking the Thunder star to the floor in a game last season.

Thunder forward Paul George agreed Pachulia's move appeared intentional.

"You know Zaza," George said. "You know his history. You know nobody pushed him. He aimed where he was gonna fall. That's Zaza making a Zaza play. He's on the end of hurting a lot of guys."

Celtics guard Kyrie Irving checked in via Instagram, writing: "The league has to take a look at this, man. This s*** is ridiculous."