OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - Golden State Warriors Zaza Pachulia has shut down his Instagram account after receiving death threats on social media against himself and his family.
The threats stem from the ankle injury San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard suffered at the hands, or feet rather, of Pachulia in Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference Finals.
The Warriors trounced the Spurs in Game 2 and scored a 136-100 victory. But with Leonard out in tonight's Game 2, the threats were heard loud and clear. One read, "Hope your family dies a horrible death." Another person said, "Zaza can die in a burning ditch."
KTVU Sports Director Mark Ibanez reiterated his commentary from Monday where he said Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich made inflammatory and irresponsible statements to the press following the incident where he likened the situation to "manslaughter" and that just because it may not have been intentional that Pachulia shouldn't go unpunished. He also called the Golden State Warrior a dirty player.
The incident is also causing an increase in security at Oakland's Oracle Arena. We asked and during a normal Warriors' game 22 security officers are normally assigned, but tonight, that number has been bumped to 66. The nature of the playoffs also factors into increased security measures.
Popovich addressed the media before Tuesday's game. KTVU asked him if he stood by his comments and whether or not he was aware about the death threats.
Popovich said, "I said everything I was going to say about that yesterday. Tonight's Game 2 and that's what needs to be concentrated on."
No other members of the media pressed Popovich on the statements. There were around 50 members present.