BOSTON -- For most of Boston's 117-108 win over Washington on Wednesday, it was a physical game with tempers on both sidelines riding high. Too high, actually.
Following the game, Boston's Jae Crowder and Washington's John Wall were involved in an incident that's likely to result in both getting fined.
A video replay shows them jawing with each other, with Crowder's finger touching Wall's nose and Wall retaliating by slapping towards Crowder's face.
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Following the game, Crowder was in no mood to talk about the incident.
When asked about it, his initial response was,"Y'all want to talk about the game?"
While Crowder declined to speak about what happened, Wall addressed the matter inside the Wizards locker room.
“Just some altercation,” Wall said. “We knew there was going to be some trash talking. We knew it was going to be physical game. That’s all it was. Just a little trash talking and a physical game.”
There was no mistaking the incident between Crowder and Wall was fueled in large part because of the physical nature of the game in which the referees allowing more physical contact than usual.
“We talked about that at halftime,” said Crowder, referring to the physical play allowed by the game officials. “The refs (weren’t) calling it tight, so we were able to get up into guys and play a little physical.”
For the game, there were three technical fouls called -- one each against Isaiah Thomas and Washington’s Bradley Beal and Markieff Morris -- with each stemming from the players feeling as though they were fouled and a call wasn’t made.
At the half, Celtics coach Brad Stevens told his team they needed to stop complaining about the calls and non-calls, and just play hard, physical, tough-minded basketball.
“[Stevens] said the team that complains the most is going to lose,” said Thomas, who rushed over to the Crowder-Wall incident, though it was broken up by the time he arrived. “We were complaining a lot in that first half. The second half, we took it to them. We were the more aggressive team. We were fighting back. And it started on the defensive end.”
Wizards coach Scott Brooks echoed similar comments about Boston’s defense in the second half.
“They got physical,” Brooks said. ‘They got their hands on us and we couldn’t get anything done and we turned the ball over a few times.”
Beal, who was seemingly able to get any and every shot in the first half, was a different player down the stretch.
He led the Wizards (19-19) with 35 points, but he only scored two in the decisive fourth quarter.
“Beal got going but we shut his water off for most of the fourth quarter,” Thomas said. “And we went from there.”
And while the Wizards spent a good deal of the postgame interview session complaining about Boston’s defense – Otto Porter Jr. went so far as to say the Celtics play dirty – Thomas said he loves games when the officials let both teams play more freely.
That’s surprising to hear when you think about how often Thomas drives into the lane, draws contact but no call is made.
“I love them, other when I’m getting killed in the paint,” said Thomas who scored 20 of his game-high 38 points in the fourth. “As a basketball player, as a pro you just have to adjust your game and that’s what we did tonight.”