Golden State Warriors acting head coach Mike Brown said LaMarcus Aldridge had a play against Stephen Curry that was very similar to the Zaza Pachulia-Kawhi Leonard incident, except referees didn’t call it.
Leonard landed on Pachulia’s foot after taking a jumper, which caused him to roll his ankle and exit game one of the 2017 Western Conference Finals. Pachulia was called for a foul on the play.
According to Brown though, when Aldridge nearly did the same thing to Curry, the refs did not blow their whistles.
“A couple plays or a play later [after the Leonard incident], Steph shot the ball and LaMarcus Aldridge went to contest, and he went underneath Steph, and Steph avoided landing on his ankle by falling to the ground. I even asked two of the three officials. I said, Hey, that’s the same call that you just called on Zaza, and both of them told me that the difference was that Kawhi landed on Zaza’s foot. Steph avoided landing on LaMarcus’s foot, and that’s why they didn’t call the foul or whatever they called on Zaza. So it’s the same play.
Here is the Aldridge close out on Curry — less than a minute after Zaza/Kawhi — that Mike Brown was referring to after practice pic.twitter.com/ZHJXiRzBLR
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) May 15, 2017
“Zaza is not a dirty player. LaMarcus is not a dirty player. It’s a tough basketball play, and you hate to see anybody get injured on a situation like that. But you go back and watch the film, and they’re both identical. Two guys shooting the ball. Two big guys going out to contest. They slide under the shooter a little bit. Neither one, I don’t think, on purpose. One happens to land on one’s foot and the other one doesn’t.”
Brown, who is calling the shots for the Warriors while head coach Steve Kerr is still recovering from back surgery complications, didn’t find anything wrong with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s fiery comments earlier in the day though, pointing out, “He’s protecting his guys. He’s doing what he should do to protect Kawhi.
“Obviously, as a team, we’ve talked about what Pop said. But I didn’t say don’t let it get in your head. We feel like he’s a big boy and he can handle it.”
Brown actually worked in the past for Popovich as an assistant coach for the Spurs.
“It’s part of this business,” Brown added. “You’re in the public eye and people are going to have opinions. Pop has his opinion. We just move forward.”