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Golden State Warriors' Zaza Pachulia facing boo crew in San Antonio

OAKLAND, CALIF.—Stephen Curry pulled Zaza Pachulia aside and made one thing clear to the Warriors big man: We got your back.Other teammates echoed that message.Pachulia will most certainly receive a villain’s welcome for Game 3 of the Western Conference final Saturday at AT&T Center regardless of whether he is on the court, simply because he was involved in the play that injured Kawhi Leonard in the series opener.“I think he’ll be booed pretty badly,” Golden State’s Draymond Green said. “I’ve definitely been in that situation before. He’ll get it pretty good, but he’ll be fine.”Leonard, whose status for Game 3 remained unclear Friday, didn’t play in Game 2 after reinjuring his tender left ankle in the third quarter of Game 1 when he came down on Pachulia’s foot after shooting a long jumper.Article Continued BelowSan Antonio lost 113-111 without him, squandering a 20-point halftime lead, and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was peeved. The next day, Popovich called the play “dangerous” and “unsportsmanlike” and insisted Pachulia has a history of such.“Zaza’s got a thick skull, so I know when he gets out there he’s going to be able to play,” Curry said. “I know guys in the locker room have told him, ‘As best you can, block out as much of this noise as possible because it doesn’t matter. We know what kind of person you are, be apologetic for Kawhi about what happened but you don’t have to apologize for your intent on how you’re guarding that play, whatever you want to call it.’ So, moving on, he’ll be ready, he’ll be the same Zaza, confident. That’s what we expect, and he knows that we have his back. And hopefully that’ll go a long way. I talked to him. I don’t think he needed to hear it but just knowing that we all have his back is, I think, huge, especially at this juncture with the spotlight and microscope that everybody’s under.”Without Leonard, the Spurs took a 136-100 thumping in Game 2, prompting Popovich to question their belief and effort. Asked Friday whether San Antonio might come out differently Saturday, Pop said succinctly, “I believe that.”

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