Kawhi returns to Oracle, the place that changed his life 2 years ago

He was injured in the first game of the Western final with the Spurs in an action with Pachulia. If it were not for that play, surely he would not be in Toronto now.

The road that took Kawhi Leonard to Canada has been difficult to decipher. A player who was called to mark a new era of success in San Antonio ended up disenchanted with his franchise to the point of requesting the transfer. What is easier to discover is what originated everything. The moment is registered, there is a date and place, and also protagonists. It was himself and Zaza Pachulia, on May 14, 2017 at the Oracle Arena, in the first match of the Western Final.

That day the Spurs were dominating the Warriors by 23 points and Kawhi had 26 and 8 rebounds in 27 minutes of game. It was the third quarter and in a shot in suspension from the side, Pachulia, then pivot of the Oakland, came out to punt the shot. When Kawhi went to put his feet on the ground he stepped with one of them on the Georgian player, which with a probably unnecessary movement had put him under. The result was that the forward of the Spurs had to leave and did not play anymore, nor that game nor in the rest of the series. Diagnosis: ankle injury.

The Spurs, who were threatening to take the field advantage to the Warriors at the first hurdle, let themselves go back 23 points and ended up conceding a 4-0 that had nothing to do with what was shown until the end. famous play. The following season Kawhi was going to play only nine games because of a persistent thigh problem, a condition that was never clearly explained. But the real war of the player was being disputed behind the scenes, with the entire franchise, starting with his mentor, Gregg Popovich. Kawhi lost confidence in all of them, it is said that because the team questioned his commitment and the importance of the injury. Someday the truth will be known about it, or not. The only thing clear is that the relationship reached a point of no return and in the summer of 2018 both parties agreed: the best thing was to separate.

Así arrived in Toronto, a city that without him there is no doubt that they would not have arrived up to this point. Who knows what would have happened if Pachulia had not left her foot under Leonard's. Surely the Spurs would have won the game, maybe the series and maybe a new ring. What is clear is that that day changed his destiny, that of the Spurs, the Raptors and, it could also be that of the Warriors themselves.

La Regla Pachulia

A that move caused one of the last rules of the NBA to control the anti-regulation actions on the track. Zaza Rule was popularly called, in honor of the name of the player for whom it was implemented. It says that "when a player recklessly occupies the space that belongs to another, the referees will signal fault and use repetitions to decide if this should be flagrant . After the game, the League will review this type of moves and may also change the degree of seriousness of the fault ".

Photos from as.com
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