The Wizards' 119-117 loss to the Celtics was perhaps Washington's wildest game of the season. Boston forward Jae Crowder explaining his late fourth quarter technical came because of a verbal spat with Wizards coach Randy Wittman added another layer of bizarre at the scene.
“Wittman was saying some stuff that I didn’t like," Crowder said inside the Celtics locker room. "I feel like he was getting away with a lot of curse words and inappropriate words to me, and I retaliated and I got hit with a technical.”
Crowder hit the game-winning layup with 3.9 seconds left moments before John Wall's daring layup attempt missed. Crowder was also hit with a technical with 22.8 seconds remaining as Wall prepared to shoot a free throw and the Celtics leading 114-110.
The Celtics forward and Wizards big man Nene stood side-by-side along the lane before Wall attempted the second of three free throws. Boston fouled the point guard as he tried a 3-point shot.
Crowder and Nene weren't standing silent. Television replays showed the animated pair talking when Crowder's attention appeared to veer in the direction of Washington's bench. Referee Tony Brothers slapped Crowder with a technical moments later.
“That’s what I was arguing with Tony," said Crowder, calmly stating to reporters his take on Wittman's reaction. "Tony said he didn’t hear anything from Wittman. I’m not going to outburst on a coach and say something like that for no reason.”
What did he hear Wittman say?
"Oh, he was saying something about me being soft and bleep, bleep, bleep hitting me on the John Wall foul. Boxing out Nene and he hit me with a little backhand. But, some stuff about that," Crowder said.
The Wizards declined comment until Monday's afternoon game against the Portland Trail Blazers because Wittman concluded his postgame press conference prior to Crowder speaking.
What made the timing of Crowder's technical more important beyond the time on the clock is that it came after Wall missed the first of his three free throw attempts following the foul.
Gary Neal sank the technical free throw and Wall made his final two attempts, cutting the lead to 114-113. The Wizards tied the game at 117-117 on Garrett Temple's two free throws with 13.9 seconds left.
Crowder finished with 22 points, eight rebounds, six assists and one decisive basket after Temple's free throws. As for why Wittman started with him, that remains a mystery to the three-year veteran.
“I didn’t know where it was coming from," he said. "It’s new to me. I understand we play them next week. I honestly don’t know where it was coming from.”
Washington concludes its five-game homestand and season series with Boston on Jan. 25. The Celtics are 3-0 this season.
The spat with an opposing coach was a first for Crowder.
“Never. Everybody on the bench was like, ‘why would you keep talking to a player?’ First of all, it wasn’t a player. It was Wittman. They’re like ‘what?’ It was a shock to everybody. I never had that happen in my time playing basketball. I never had an interaction with the coach," he said.
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