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Mark Cuban defends Zaza Pachulia after attracting much heat for Kawhi Leonard incident

Dallas Mavericks boss Mark Cuban came to his former player’s defense when asked if he thought Golden State Warriors center Zaza Pachulia had any ill intent with his closeout of forward Kawhi Leonard during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on Sunday.

“No, that’s not how Zaza plays,” Cuban said in a tweet in response to a post by The Ringer.

Pachulia’s closeout was the second roll of the ankle that knocked out the San Antonio Spurs star out of the game. The previous one was self-inflicted after he stepped back into his own bench and sprained his left ankle by stepping near one of his own teammates.

The Warriors big man has faced an onslaught of backlash from the incident after Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich went off on a rant detailing his history of dangerous plays with other Spurs players and noting that intent is not what matters, but the outcome of it.

The outcome so far has been a blown double-digit lead after Leonard left, as the Warriors went on a 16-0 run, eventually catching up and leading by as many as five points at the end of the game.

San Antonio also declared Leonard out for Tuesday’s Game 2, leaving a task which will prove the Spurs’ mettle once again, as they hope to steal one on the road at Oracle Arena.

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