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Russell Westbrook, Paul George call out Zaza Pachulia after dangerous fall

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Another physical game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors has reignited the debate about Zaza Pachulia’s style of play.

Late in the third quarter of the Warriors’ 112-80 victory, Russell Westbrook drove to the basket and got tangled with Nick Young while battling for the rebound. Both players fell to the floor. A moment later, Pachulia entered the picture and came crashing down on Westbrook’s legs.

In Westbrook’s view, this was no accident.

“Obviously it was intentional,” Westbrook said after the game. “Nobody touched him, he fell over my leg. He tried to hurt me. But hey, that’s how it goes.”
 

Asked if he thought was Pachulia a dirty player, Westbrook said “Yeah. For sure.”

Paul George echoed Westbrook’s assessment: “He aimed where he was going to fall. That’s Zaza making a Zaza play.”
 

Westbrook and Pachulia have tangled before. Last season the two collided near center court in a Jan. 18 game at The Oracle. Pachulia was assessed a Flagrant 1 foul, but the lasting image was Pachulia standing over Westbrook.

Pachulia has a history of being involved in questionable incidents, including the closeout on Kawhi Leonard in Game 1 of last year’s Western Conference finals that ended Leonard’s season.

The Warriors and Thunder will meet again April 3 at Chesapeake Energy Arena.



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Report: Pau Gasol to join Trail Blazers

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Free agent center Pau Gasol has agreed to a one-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Gasol, 39, who was limited to just 30 games last season because of a variety of injuries, has career averages of 17.0 points and 9.2 rebounds over 17 NBA seasons.



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Report: Furkan Korkmaz returning to 76ers

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Free agent forward Furkan Korkmaz has agreed to a two-year contract to return to the Philadelphia 76ers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Free agent forward Furkan Korkmaz has agreed to a two-year contract to return to the Philadelphia 76ers, agent Mike Lindeman of Excel Sports tells ESPN.

Korkmaz, 21, brings back a rotational forward with the ability to spread the floor with his shooting. The loss of JJ Redick in free agency – and Kyle Korver’s decision to choose Milwaukee over Philadelphia – brought some increased urgency to keep Korkmaz on the Sixers roster.

 The 21-year-old Korkmaz, who was the 26th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, averaged 5.8 points and 2.2 rebounds in 14.1 minutes last season.

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Report: Kevin Love to withdraw from World Cup

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Cavaliers forward Kevin Love is the latest player expected to withdraw from Team USA’s training camp for the FIBA World Cup, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

This news comes just one day after Damian Lillard reportedly withdrew from the World Cup. Love, who played in just 22 games last season because of a shoulder injury, averaged 17.0 points and 10.9 rebounds in 2018-19.

During the previous two weeks, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum reportedly decided not to compete in the World Cup this year.

Although the guard ranks will be somewhat depleted of NBA stars, Team USA continues to have a deep pool of players available.



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