Leonard out, Spurs fuming ahead of Game 2 vs. Warriors

Leonard out, Spurs fuming ahead of Game 2 vs. Warriors

OAKLAND, Calif. — San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich shifted the attention of the Western Conference finals away from his team’s problems Monday and squarely onto what he labeled the unsportsmanlike means by which the Golden State Warriors grabbed an early lead in the best-of-seven series.

While disclosing that Kawhi Leonard would be held out of Game 2 on Tuesday night, Popovich blasted Warriors center Zaza Pachulia for contact on the Spurs star that the coach compared to manslaughter.

“This is (baloney). It can’t be, ‘Oh, this was inadvertent; he didn’t have intent,’” Popovich said less than 24 hours after Pachulia, attempting to defend a 3-pointer, stepped underneath Leonard and caused an ankle injury that will keep the Most Valuable Player candidate out of Game 2, and perhaps longer.

Leonard underwent an MRI on his left ankle/foot Monday. It came back negative, which keeps the door open for him to return when the series shifts to San Antonio on Saturday.

“Who gives a (darn) what his intent was?” Popovich continued. “Have you ever heard of manslaughter? You still go to jail, I think, when you’re texting and you end up killing somebody, but may have not intended to do that.

“All I care is what I saw. All I care about is what happened. And the history there exacerbates the whole situation and makes me very, very angry.”

Popovich went on to cite three examples of unsportsmanlike acts Pachulia, formerly of the Dallas Mavericks, performed on his players.

One involved former Spurs big man David West, who is currently one of Pachulia’s…