I'm a Warriors fan, but Zaza should've been disciplined
Saturday's matchup between the Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder was once again another chippy game between the two teams. Although the shoving between OKC forward Carmelo Anthony and Golden State's Kevin Durant caught the attention of media for a slim second, one event caught the eyes of the millions watching on TV for much longer: Warrior center Zaza Pachulia's "fall" onto the legs of Thunder Russell Westbrook.
Now it's obvious Zaza and Russ don't like each other as seen in previous encounters. In a game last season, Zaza fouled Russ and proceeded to stare over him, as he lay on the ground. After that game, Westbrook told reporters in response to a question about that specific play "I'm gonna get his a** back".
Being a Warriors fan since I was born, I stand up for my team and whatever the team goes through. I support them through thick and thin. Yet, Pachulia's play on Saturday was different, and therefore I feel he should've been disciplined by the league.
The play on which this whole fiasco started happened late in the 3rd quarter. Westbrook drove to the lane, put up a shot that didn't go in, and fell to the ground after trying to go for a rebound. Warrior Nick Young was going for the rebound as well and fell with him. As they were both on the ground, Pachulia fell on to Westbrook's leg, nearly injuring Westbrook. Some might say that Young's leg hooked onto Pachulia's leg which brought Pachulia to the ground. This claim, however, is flawed. Young's leg was barely hooking onto Pachulia and it surely could have not brought down a 6'11 270 pound man.
Furthermore, when Pachulia fell on Westbrook, the ball had gone up the court, away from where those three players were. So, to make matters even worse, the ball was leaving the area and THEN Pachulia fell. Very unsportsmanlike.
What the NBA should've done is either fined or suspended Pachulia. Because there was so much debate onto whether the fall was deliberate or not, the NBA would have likely not suspended Pachulia but rather fined him. Yet, they didn't and made a mistake.
Pachulia is considered one of the dirtiest players in the game, and as a fan for the team he plays on, I'm not ignorant. His past with the Mavericks showed many instances of foul play and his time with the Warriors has seen numerous occurrences as well. His behavior needs to change quickly or retaliation may arise from players he has scrapped with.
The NBA had their chance to make a statement and they didn't. If the Warriors won't discipline and the league won't take action, these things will continue to happen, shedding a bad light on my hometown team.