The Western Conference finals series between the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs in the 2017 NBA Playoffs has been overshadowed by the closeout controversy.
What exactly is the closeout controversy?
Well, it started with Zaza Pachulia. During a play in the third quarter of Game 1, Kawhi Leonard sprained his left ankle after landing on Pachulia’s foot as he closed out on the Spurs star.
Leonard went down and was forced to leave the game as the Warriors eventually climbed back from a huge deficit to win the Game 1. After the game, people on social media were calling Pachulia a “dirty player” and debating whether or not he intentionally put his foot out so Leonard would land on it. The controversy even urged basketball pundits to call out NBA officials to revisit or change the rules for such plays.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was furious about the play, ranting to the media how Pachulia’s action was unsportsmanlike. Netizens were divided on the issue, some were siding with Pop, some were saying he was bitter about losing Game 1.
Just when you though the controversy was over, the closeout talk continued after Game 2, which the Warriors won. A video surfaced of LaMarcus Aldridge closing out on Kevin Durant in the second period of the game.
That closeout ???? pic.twitter.com/Vbwy8uVrCX
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 17, 2017
But Durant was quick to defend Aldridge in the postgame interview, saying he felt there was no malicious intent on the part of the Spurs big man.
Kevin Durant on the LaMarcus Aldridge closeout in question pic.twitter.com/QZ5oX26I4B
— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) May 17, 2017
What is your opinion on this whole closeout controversy? Do you think players do this intentionally when they close out on shooters?