Sports

Warriors’ center Zaza Pachulia on not playing in the postseason: “It’s all about the team”


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OAKLAND – Throughout his life, Warriors center Zaza Pachulia has learned movement is a means of survival.

The Georgian center’s latest journey has taken him to the bench in favor of JaVale McGee as the team looks to push towards a second straight title.

So far, McGee has played well in the role, averaging 12.5 points and 1.5 blocks in two playoff wins over the San Antonio Spurs, including a 10 point, seven rebound performance in a 116-101 win Monday night.

With McGee playing a prominent role in the starting lineup, the Georgian center is remaining upbeat despite not playing the first two games of the postseason.

“It’s all about the team,” Pachulia said following Monday’s game. “JaVale is playing great. There are no worries. Playoffs are fun, obviously, I want to play, but at the same time, we’re in a position to win two [championships] in a row.”

Over the last two games, the Warriors are holding the Spurs to 40.6 percent from the field, posting a 97.1 defensive rating. McGee has been a big part of that effort, averaging 1.5 blocks in the series. In Game 1, McGee held Spurs center LaMarcus Aldridge to just 14 points on 5 of 14 from the field. When McGee isn’t on the floor, Kerr has enlisted big man Kevon Looney to play backup center minutes, opting for a frontcourt man who can guard multiple positions over Pachulia’s playmaking ability.

During his tenure with the Warriors, Pachulia started his first 118 games with the team. However, with the Warriors reeling defensively at the all-star break, Kerr decided to start McGee, stating the starting center position will be based on the opposing matchup.

Since the change, McGee has flourished, posting a 103.2 defensive rating — a stat estimating how many points a player allows per 100 possessions — over his last 23 games of the regular season

A silver lining in Pachulia’s demotion has been the communication of coach Steve Kerr. Typically, Kerr will inform the players of their assignments during the morning shootaround hours before the game.

“Steve has been clear about that,” Warriors backup center David West said. “It’s a matter of being ready. Knowing what the matchup is going to be. Now with a series, it doesn’t change from night to night. I think Zaza, JaVale, Loon, and (Jordan Bell), those guys have handled it as well as you can.”

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Source:: The Mercury News – Sports

      

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