For the second straight NBA Finals, there’s controversy over a member of the Golden State Warriors punching a Cleveland Cavaliers player below the belt in Game 4.
One year after Warriors forward Draymond Green was suspended for Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals for punching LeBron James in the groin, center Zaza Pachulia is in a similar situation after taking a cheap shot at Cavs guard Iman Shumpert. The two got into it late in the third quarter after Shumpert continued to grab at the basketball in Pachulia’s hands that already was called a jump ball.
Pachulia’s punch was blatant, but it’s unlikely he’ll receive any significant punishment for it. For starters, both he and Shumpert received technical fouls on the play, whereas James didn’t do anything illegal in his tiff with Green last season. Green also had racked up four flagrant foul points, which was the actual reason for his suspension in the last Game 5.
Pachulia didn’t seem too worried about it, either.
“Well, they’re going to review everything,” Pachulia said Friday, per The Mercury News. “They’re reviewing the missing stats. They’re reviewing everything. I don’t expect anything. Just normal game playing. There was a lot of hard fouls throughout the game because again it’s the Finals and that’s you don’t want to give up anything. So I don’t expect anything to happen. Just a regular play.”
The series moves back to Oakland, Calif., on Monday for Game 5.
Thumbnail photo via Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports Images