OAKLAND – Anderson Varejao concedes that he looks guilty but insists the visual does not tell the complete truth.
The Warriors center admitted tripping Trail Blazers forward Gerald Henderson Sunday in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals but insists that it was accidental – despite the allegations of Portland coach Terry Stotts and Henderson.
Stotts on Monday described Varejao as using a “leg whip” to take down Henderson, adding that he thought it was a “dangerous play.” Furthermore, Stotts said he thought Henderson’s vehement reaction was appropriate.
“It’s a playoff game,” Varejao said Tuesday morning after shootaround. “We all know it’s going to be like that. I don’t know exactly what he’s talking about.
“I just thought it was a physical play. I got hit in my back and was going down and my feet got stuck somewhere and all of a sudden it hit someone else’s foot. I’m sorry that happened.”
Varejao’s proclamations of innocence also run counter to the findings of the NBA office, which after viewing the video decided Monday to retroactively assess him with a flagrant foul.
After being tripped with 3:29 remaining in the third quarter, Henderson bounced up and went chest-to-chest with Varejao, resulting in a double-technical foul call.
“I was surprised,” Varejao said of Henderson’s reaction. “But looking at the play, he had the right to do it. I understand why he came back at me like that, the way he did. Which is OK. It’s a playoff game. It’s going to be physical. It’s fun when it gets like that.
“When I looked at the play, I went, ‘Whoa!’ It looked like I was trying to do it. I wasn’t. How could I try to do something like that? I was going down and my foot got stuck.”
Varejao and Henderson continued their verbal beef, resulting in another double-tech and automatic ejections with 15.1 seconds left in the third quarter.