The NBA announced Thursday afternoon that John Wall has been fined $15,000 for "directing inappropriate comments towards the officials" after the Washington Wizards' 98-85 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats.
The "inappropriate comments" came after the game, when the All-Star point guard was asked about a foul called against him with 4:34 remaining in the fourth quarter that sent Charlotte point guard Kemba Walker to the foul line for three free throws:
Neither Wall nor Wizards head coach Randy Wittman agreed with the call. Wittman's complaints earned him a technical foul, giving the Bobcats another try from the stripe, helping Walker extend Charlotte's lead from three points to a much more commanding seven. From Joseph White of The Associated Press:
"You seen it on the screen. I ain't touch him. All he did is scream," Wall said. "Ref gave him a call all night because he was screaming. Can't do nothing about it but keep playing basketball. I think they made some unfortunate calls plenty of times."
Wall compounded matters by missing two free throws a half-minute later. Walker then hit a hang-in-the-air 3-pointer with the shot clock running down to make it a 10-point lead.
"I was really upset, I was mad," said Wall, explaining his pair of misses. "I tried to make them, but I was frustrated. ... Plenty of times I drove to the basket. I think I should have been to the line plenty more."
As for the technical, Wittman deadpanned an explanation when asked what he said to the official.
"I had a bad roast beef sandwich today," Wittman said. "And I told him, 'Don't go to this deli that I went to.'"
Good lookin' out on the lunch tip, Randy. Here's hoping the gnarly roast beef didn't make you any sicker than watching Charlotte close the game out on a 15-5 run to hand the Wizards their third loss in five games, bringing Steve Clifford's feisty Bobcats within 2 1/2 games of Washington for the No. 6 seed in the East.
Walker — who finished with 16 points, five assists and three rebounds to help the rampaging Al Jefferson (26 points, 10 rebounds) score Charlotte's fourth win in five games — managed to avoid screaming after the game, but held firm on the matter of Wall making contact, according to Adam McGinnis of Wizards blog Truth About It:
Adam McGinnis: “It looked like Wall touched your leg, what happened on that 3 attempt?”
Walker: “It was a foul. He got me on the wrist.”
AM: “Wall didn’t think so.”
Walker: “No, he didn’t.”
And he didn't do much else down the stretch, notching zero points, one rebound, one assist and one turnover as Charlotte pulled away over the last 4 1/2 minutes.
With the Wizards headed for the playoffs and thoughts of potential postseason matchups reportedly creeping into the Washington locker room, Wittman's club needs to be able to set aside disappointment over the officiating and play the opponent rather than the referees when games get tight. And if they're going to turn their "we can play with anyone" attitude into something more than mere sloganeering, their floor general is going to have to be the one leading the charge, even if he's upset that the whistles haven't gone his way. That can be a painful and difficult lesson for a young star to learn; in Wall's case, it's a fairly expensive one, too.
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