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Warriors’ Zaza Pachulia: ‘I’m not a dirty player’

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Golden State Warriors center Zaza Pachulia says he has “a lot of respect” for Gregg Popovich, but he disagrees with the San Antonio Spurs coach’s assertion that his defensive closeout on Kawhi Leonard in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals was “dangerous” and “unsportsmanlike.”

“My approach to this game for 14 years that I’ve been in the league is to play hard and [give] 100 percent of whatever I have,” Pachulia said in response to Popovich on Monday after practice. “So I don’t agree with the calls that I’m a dirty player. I’m not a dirty player. I love this game, and I’m playing hard. That’s what I was taught since day one.”

Source: Chris Haynes of ESPN

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Sources: Kevin Love Takes Heat from Cavs Over Absence

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The Cleveland Cavaliers held a fiery team meeting in the practice facility locker room prior to Monday’s practice, during which several players challenged the legitimacy of Kevin Love’s illness that led him to leave Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma City early and miss Sunday’s practice, league sources told ESPN.

Several players were pushing for the Cavaliers’ management and coaching staff to hold Love accountable for leaving the arena before the end of Saturday’s game, and then missing Sunday’s practice, league sources told ESPN.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN

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Sources: Kawhi’s Rehab Process Creating Chilling Effect on Team

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Months of discord centering on elements of treatment, rehabilitation and timetables for return from a right quadriceps injury have had a chilling impact on San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard’s relationship with the franchise and coaching staff, league sources told ESPN.

Under president and coach Gregg Popovich and general manager RC Buford, the Spurs have a two-decades-long history of strong relationships with star players, but multiple sources describe Leonard and his camp as “distant” and “disconnected” from the organization.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski and Michael C. Wright of ESPN

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Doc Rivers Thinks All-Star Game Draft Should be Televised

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Clippers head coach Doc Rivers believes the NBA should expand its All-Star rosters to 15 players on each side. “I wish the league would go to 15,” Rivers said, prior to Monday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. “Whatever we dress [in regular games], we should have All-Stars.”

Rivers, like many players, coaches and fans also believes that the upcoming All-Star Game draft between captains LeBron James and Stephen Curry should be televised. As an added bonus, Rivers also believes that the league’s coaches’ vote should be made public as well.

Source: Nick Friedell of ESPN

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