A "devoted, lifelong" San Antonio Spurs fan has filed a lawsuit naming Zaza Pachulia and the Golden State Warriors as defendants, alleging the center's actions against Kawhi Leonard in Game 1 "devastated the quality of the Spurs' chances of being competitive" and diminished "the value of the tickets purchased by plaintiff subsequent to their purchase."
"All we are asking from the court is that this type of behavior, that can and does cause serious injury to our team and those that love it, not be allowed in San Antonio," Alfonso Kennard Jr., lead attorney for the plaintiffs, told the San Antonio Express-News.
During the Warriors' win Sunday in the opener of the Western Conference finals, Pachulia rotated over to contest a long 2-pointer by Leonard near the Spurs' bench, closing out the move under the forward's feet. Leonard then landed on Pachulia's foot, further tweaking his already-sprained left ankle. Leonard missed Tuesday's Game 2 loss and remains questionable for Saturday's Game 3 at San Antonio.
The lawsuit, which was filed in Bexar County district court in Texas and names Juan Vasquez and a local memorabilia store as co-plaintiffs, states Pachulia acted "without excuse or justification, intentionally and maliciously invaded the landing zone of an opposing athlete, Kawhi Leonard."
"My approach to this game for 14 years that I've been in the league is to play hard and [give] 100 percent of whatever I have," Pachulia said Monday after practice. "So I don't agree with the calls that I'm a dirty player. I'm not a dirty player. I love this game, and I'm playing hard. That's what I was taught since day one."
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich argued that Pachulia's play was "dangerous" and "unsportsmanlike." The NBA ruled Pachulia won't face any discipline and that the play will stand as called.
"It's just not what anybody does to anybody else," Popovich said.
The plaintiffs' demands in the lawsuit also include damages no greater than $73,000, a temporary restraining order issued that requires the defendants restrain the conduct described and other relief the plaintiffs are ruled to be justly entitled to.
According to local reports, District Judge Norma Gonzales on Wednesday rejected the request for a 14-day restraining order.
"The important part is the temporary injunction," Kennard said, according to CBS affiliate KENS5, referencing the next potential step of the lawsuit. "It sets the parameters of what parties must abide by pending resolution of the underlying lawsuit."
Information from ESPN's Chris Haynes was used in this report.