HomeBasketball TodaySpurs' Zach Collins Turns Up the Heat in Donovan Mitchell Faceoff

Spurs’ Zach Collins Turns Up the Heat in Donovan Mitchell Faceoff

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Zach Collins wasn’t backing down from his skirmish with Donovan Mitchell after the Spurs game against the Cavs.

The back and forth that led to the ejections of Cleveland Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell and San Antonio Spurs center Zach Collins started with around a minute left in the Spurs 117-101 loss to the Cavs on Saturday night. It continued verbally after – and with words almost as sharp as elbows.

Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff called it “dirty a– play” on Collins’ part.

ClutchPoints asked the third-year Spur for his reaction to that criticism.

“Probably was,” Collins answered, confirming that the corresponding fine will be worth his actions.

Zach Collins details his altercation with Donovan Mitchell

Zach Collins and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich looking serious

The confrontation between Collins and Mitchell came to a head with 54.7 seconds remaining in the game, though the Spurs big man said it started a short time before.

“He went up for a lay up a play or two before and I was guarding him. That’s where I was supposed to be and he went up and clocked me with an elbow. I didn’t like it so I came down and hit him back and that’s when it got crazy,” the seven-year veteran, who missed an entire season while with the Portland Trail Blazers due to injury, detailed.

“He just hit me in the face,” Mitchell said. “I felt like it was dirty, so I just pushed him back. I knew I was probably going to get ejected, but it’s my second or third time getting ejected. If you push me, I push you back. That’s that.”

While both players were ejected, Collins was called for a flagrant 2 foul. That’s assessed when a player’s contact is deemed “unnecessary and excessive” and leads to an automatic ejection.

“The kid was upset at a play that happened before, and he retaliated. Donovan did what Donovan does, he stood up for himself. I understand the rule, but if a guy takes a cheap shot on you, again you should be able to protect yourself,” the fifth-year Cavaliers coach explained.

Donovan Mitchell and Zach Collins

Neither player mentioned any kind of previous history in discussing Saturday’s incident.

The Cavaliers, whose five-game win streak is currently tops in the NBA, controlled the contest throughout, leading the Silver and Black by five after the first quarter, 12 at the half, and 11 after three. The lead grew to as big as 26 in the second half of a win that improved their record to 31-16, which is good for third place in the Eastern Conference.

Mitchell poured in a game-high 31 points and dished out a team high seven assists against the 10-30 Spurs. With 28.2 points per game, the five-time All-Star again leads Cleveland in scoring this season.

Collins scored ten points and grabbed nine rebounds in his second game back after missing the previous three games with a right ankle sprain. The 26-year-old veteran has started 24 games this year, beginning the season in the starting line-up next to Victor Wembanyama. When the Spurs moved Wemby to play more minutes at center, Collins took on a reserve role. For the season, he’s averaging 12.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game.

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