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Bradley Beal sorry for getting ejected vs. Warriors, but Wizards won't change identity as tough team

Bradley Beal sorry for getting ejected vs. Warriors, but Wizards won't change identity as tough team

The Wizards have built an identity led by John Wall, Bradley Beal and Markieff Morris as a team that will never back down to conflict and often be the instigators in a war of words. Usually, they know how to toe that line and use it to their advantage. On Friday, they succumbed to the other side of that sword.

It was an extreme case, to be fair. Beal and Draymond Green earned ejections after a fight in the final minute of the first half of the Wizards' loss to the Warriors. In most games, an eye for an eye would leave things relatively equal. But with Morris already out due to injury and the Warriors still having three All-NBA players on their roster, a close loss resulted in the Wizards kicking themselves for losing their composure. Beal's departure cost his team and he knows it.

Beal apologized to his teammates not once, but twice; at halftime and after the game was over. He felt that Green pushed him over the edge, but did not consider than an acceptable excuse.

"I told my teammates that I can’t put myself in a situation like that to leave them out there to battle it out against a tough team without me out there," he said. "It’s unacceptable by me. I have to show better leadership and control as well."

The chaos began with Beal and Green jockeying for position on a rebound. Green was in front of Beal, but quickly turned around and the two engaged in a double headlock.


But that moment was a culmination of two quarters of chatter between the teams including Beal and Green, who exchanged words after a first quarter play when Stephen Curry took a charge from Wall. The Wizards thought it was a flop.

"The refs didn’t really do too much early on. So, when you let it go on it kind of gets to a certain point where it gets like that," Wall said.

The incident could lead to suspensions for Beal, Green and others who either left the bench or found themselves in the middle of the melee. The Wizards aren't sure how the league will respond, but Wall couldn't fully blame Beal for his actions.

"He needs to protect himself as a grown man. You never want somebody to get into a fight or get ejected but I’ve been in that situation before where I was ejected and we had a chance to win where I apologized," Wall said.

And Wall can speak as well as anyone on the Wizards' mindset as a feisty team. They like to talk and don't shy from confrontation. That plays into the motto they stated last season as 'Death Row D.C.' They want to be the team that no one wants to mess with, the team that can win with physical play and tell you all about it afterwards.

On this particular night, it may have come back to bite them, but Wall doesn't expect them to soften up.

"We’re a team that no matter who you are, the defending champs or not, that’s how we play. That’s how we were brought up to compete. We know they’re the defending champs, they’ve been to three straight Finals and they’re a great team, but we’re trying to get what they’ve got. We’re not going to back down from anything they say or anything they do," Wall said.

Their style of play has earned the Wizards a growing list of rivals and the Warriors are on it. Last season they had a dispute at Oracle Arena after the Warriors ran up the score late in a blowout. Then-Wizards guard Brandon Jennings pushed Warriors center JaVale McGee when he took a three in the final minute. There was the Wall-Curry incident in this game and also a game back in 2013 when Wall was ejected for getting in the face of Klay Thompson.

All in the last calendar year, the Wizards have had beef with the Warriors, Suns, Bucks, Hawks, Magic and of course the Boston Celtics. You can add the Lakers to that list now, too, with what happened this week with LaVar Ball. The common theme: the Wizards aren't afraid of confrontation, whether verbal or physical, in the media or on the court itself.

Though the Wizards and Warriors only see each other two times per season, it has become a rivalry. The next time they see each other is on Feb. 28 at Capital One Arena, and surely the Wizards will keep all of this in mind, but also know they can't let it affect their chances to win.


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Best moments from Wizards' loss to Hornets, including Oubre and Beal's big dunks

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Best moments from Wizards' loss to Hornets, including Oubre and Beal's big dunks

Here are the best plays or moments from the Washington Wizards' 129-124 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night...

1. The Wizards couldn't do much to stop Dwight Howard in this one, but he did have one of his shots blocked. It was by the rim, though.

Watch Howard rise for an alley-oop, only to be rejected by the rim. 

That was about the only thing Howard did wrong. He finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds.


2. Bradley Beal didn't have a great shooting night, as he finished 7-for-22 despite dropping 22 points. He had a few nice dunks in the first half including this one:

3. John Wall had a strong game with 31 points and 11 assists on 13-of-26 shooting. This was his best assist, a thread-the-needle dish to Markieff Morris.

4. Here's another dunk from Beal, this one with two hands for good measure:

5. This was the best dunk of the night. Kelly Oubre, Jr. caught the Hornets sleeping with a nice putback slam. 

The Wizards closed their road trip a disappointing 1-2, but at least the game was entertaining.


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Wizards have letdown on defense, fall to Hornets in overtime

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Wizards have letdown on defense, fall to Hornets in overtime

The Washington Wizards lost the Charlotte Hornets 129-124 in overtime on Wednesday night at the Spectrum Center. Here's analysis of what went down...

Frustrating loss: The Wizards will not head into the Thanksgiving holiday a happy bunch. After an impressive road win at the Milwaukee Bucks, they let a winnable game slip away against the Hornets. They were up nine points with 3:32 left in the fourth, yet allowed the Hornets to force overtime and then dominate the extra period.

Defense was the problem for Washington. After holding opponents to 95 points or less in six of their last seven games, the Wizards gave up 129 points to an average offensive team. Yes, 15 of those points came in overtime, but the Wizards won't be happy with their defense after this one. They will probably regret the 53 bench points they gave up more than anything.

Beal, Wall heated up late: Neither John Wall or Bradley Beal had a rhythm in the first half, but both woke up later on for the Wizards. Wall had eight points in the first half, but on 3-for-11 shooting. Beal had seven points, but also on 3-for-11 from the field.

Stars can only be held in check for so long and Wall and Beal broke ultimately broke through. Wall had 11 points in the third quarter and Beal had seven. 

For a while it looked like Wall and Beal had taken the game over, but the Wizards couldn't take advantage despite Wall ending up with 31 points and 11 assists and Beal having 22 points, four rebounds and two steals.

Beal's night was highlighted by a series of dunks in the first half, including this one with two hands:


Howard was a beast: The Wizards did a good job limiting Dwight Howard this past spring when they faced the Hawks in the playoffs, but they had no such luck on Wednesday in their first meeting with Howard's Hornets. Howard was dominant down low with 26 points and 13 rebounds. The Hornets did a good job feeding him in the post and when he has position there are little options beyond sending him to the free throw line. 

Marcin Gortat (eight points, 11 rebounds) is a good match for Howard on most nights. They know each other well as former teammates with the Orlando Magic. Gortat had a fine game, but Howard was at his best on Wednesday. He was coming off of a 25-point, 20-rebound performance and he kept it going against the Wizards.

Howard also blocked Beal's buzzer-beater at the end of regulation. Beal got the ball with two seconds left and tried driving to his left down the baseline. Howard read the move and swatted the ball out of bounds. Howard then had a big bucket with less than a minute to go. He had a putback on an airballed three that was a backbreaker for the Wizards, who needed a stop.

Meeks and Scott were a plus: The Wizards got a nice boost from their bench from Jodie Meeks (nine points) and Mike Scott (13 points), two guys who have proven this season to be instant offense when they're at their best. Scott came in and hit a three with a pair of midrange jumpers in the first half. Meeks was getting it down in the paint with floaters and layups on nice cuts to the basket. 

Scott hit three threes and is now shooting 44.8 percent for the season. It's only on 29 attempts, but that's not bad at all.

Lamb was a problem: The Wizards had a lot of trouble with Hornets reserve Jeremy Lamb, who has been Charlotte's most improved player so far this season. He was a force off the bench with 24 points in 37 minutes. Lamb has always had a lot of potential as a freak athlete with a sweet jumper. He may be starting to truly put it all together.

The Wizards even tried Kelly Oubre, Jr., one of their best defenders, on him. But Lamb kept getting buckets and added seven rebounds and five assists. 

Up next: The Wizards are off for Thanksgiving and Friday. They pick back up on Saturday with the Portland Trail Blazers in town. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.