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Zaza Pachulia on track to play Game 1 [report]


More than one full week off from game action has allowed the Warriors to fully rest up, and their most notable injury, the one that’s kept center Zaza Pachulia out of the last two-plus games, has reportedly healed – no pun intended.

Pachulia suffered a heel contusion in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals against the Spurs and did not return in the series. All the while, he was in the spotlight for other reasons. His closeout in Game 1 that left aggravated Kawhi Leonard’s ankle injury was the subject of much controversy and even resulted in Pachulia’s family being threatened.

But now, with the San Antonio series firmly in the rearview mirror, Pachulia is expected to suit up on Thursday night when the Finals begin in Oakland.

He told reporters at practice on Saturday that he was glad to move on from the series against the Spurs and all the off-court distractions that went along with it. He scored 11 points and gathered nine rebounds in 26 minutes in the series opener against San Antonio, all of which were playoff-highs for Pachulia.

The last thing Golden State or any of its players need headed into the Finals are distractions, as there will surely be plenty that arise during the series against the Cavaliers. Pachulia has averaged 6.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game in the playoffs so far, and will be counted on, along with JaVale McGee, to take on Cleveland’s front line of Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson.

In two regular season games against the Cavs this year, Pachulia had 8 points and 18 rebounds in 34 minutes of action. When Thursday rolls around, Pachulia will likely be in the starting lineup, as he has been for all 80 games he’s played in during the regular season and playoffs for Golden State.