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Free-throw discrepancies bother Wizards in loss to Spurs

Free-throw discrepancies bother Wizards in loss to Spurs

For the second game in a row, Bradley Beal played 38 minutes and didn't register a free-throw attempt. It wasn't because the Wizards' best shooter was settling. The whistles just didn't go his way and everyone, including Markieff Morris who was ejected and coach Scott Brooks, was peeved after a 112-100 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.

"We felt like there were a lot of calls that shouldn't have been called," said Beal, who had a game-high 25 points on 11-for-23 shooting, six rebounds, five assists and two steals. "At the end of the day, that's something that we have a little bit of trouble with is the referees. Sometimes we worry about them too much and it kind of affects our game a little bit on the other end. We've just gotta do a better job of locking in and focusing on defense more than anything."

The Spurs outshot the Wizards 29-14 at the stripe. Otto Porter, who at 6-foot-8 is 176 pounds, was hit with an offensive foul after Danny Green (6-6, 215) fell after contact in the third quarter. Morris picked up two fouls by the midway point of the first quarter and then came two whistles in the span of three seconds in the third to give him four fouls. 

Morris ranted at the officials and was assessed two technicals which led to his ejection at 7:30.

"They overreacted to what I said," Morris told CSNmidatlantic.com as he left the locker room after the game. "Got to throw it away and move on."

[RELATED: VIDEO: Wizards' Markieff Morris ejected vs. Spurs]

Brooks was diplomatic in his evaulation of how the game was called but clearly wasn't happy with it, either. The NBA will fine players, coaches and front-office personnel for publicly criticizing the officiating.

"We put them on the free-throw line too much is one thing. They made a lot of shots late in the shot clock, some tough shots," Brooks said. "But they do it all the time. It's not like it just happened. They're so disciplined and (have) so much experience ... But we put them on the free-throw line 29 times and we couldn't get there. That's definitely a big part of their win."

John Wall had 21 points on 8-for-16 shooting, but all seven of his foul-shot attempts came in the second half. No one else on the Wizards had more than two.

"We're trying to be more physical, more aggressive from the start of games," Wall said when asked about Morris' early fouls. "When you do that, you feel that teams that are more physical, more aggressive get the whistle. I think we attacked the basket early in the first half and didn't get a couple calls that we felt like we should've gotten. It might've been some frustration. If they were doing the same exact thing we were doing, they would've gotten some calls. ... Sometimes you're going to get them. Sometimes you're not."

[RELATED: Takeaways from the Wizards' double-digit loss to Spurs]

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Wizards release statement on the passing of John Wall's mother

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Wizards release statement on the passing of John Wall's mother

The Washington Wizards announced the passing of John Wall's mother, Frances Pulley on Friday. 

Wall's mother had been battling cancer before her passing. She was 58. 

In a statement on Twitter, the Wizards said, "Sending thoughts and love for John Wall and his family after the passing of his mother, Frances Pulley. She will forever be a part of our #DCFamily."

Zach Leonsis, the senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Monumental Sports & Entertainment, also released a statement

"Thinking of @JohnWall and his family right now. Keeping you guys in our prayers. So terribly sorry for your loss and know that she will be remembered forever. #DCFamily

Wall's Kentucky coach, John Calipari also expressed his condolences for his former star: 

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Bradley Beal sees a young John Wall in the Grizzlies rookie sensation Ja Morant

Bradley Beal sees a young John Wall in the Grizzlies rookie sensation Ja Morant

WASHINGTON -- It is not often you see a rookie find initial success in the NBA to the degree Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant has, already with borderline All-Star numbers at the age of 20. And oftentimes, opponents are careful throwing out player comparisons for guys his age, wanting to see more before they anoint anyone.

Morant, though, is a different case and questions from media members at Wizards practice this week as the team gets set to face him for the first time naturally led to parallels to great players. On Thursday, Brooks brought up unprompted how much Morant reminds him of Russell Westbrook, his former player in Oklahoma City.

And on Friday, Bradley Beal invoked a teammate of his when breaking down what makes Morant so good.

"He loves to get up and down. He's really fast with the ball. It reminds you of John [Wall] in a lot of ways. He plays with his pace," Beal said.

Through 19 games this season, Morant is averaging 18.7 points, 6.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He is shooting 42.2 percent from three on 2.2 attempts.

The threes have been surprising to most, as he shot a relatively modest 36.3 percent his final year in college at Murray State. But also surprising maybe just how lethal he has been at attacking the rim.

Sure, that was a big part of his game in college. But this is the NBA where athletes are much bigger and stronger. And he isn't the biggest guy either, weighing in at 175 pounds according to Basketball-Reference.

But despite lacking in size, he has shown an ability to finish through contact rarely seen from any player.

"I think he has a no-fear type of mentality. So, you have to respect his aggressiveness," Beal said. "He'll get respect from a lot of players in the league, a lot of refs in the league because of his aggressiveness and... with all the posters he has. So, he's an assassin. You gotta respect his game."

Beal likely won't draw the defensive assignment on Morant. That will probably go to Ish Smith and back-up point guard Chris Chiozza, who is with the team while Isaiah Thomas recovers from a left calf injury.

Beal knows it is going to be tough for the whole Wizards team to contain Morant. He said the trick will be trying to stay in front of him, though he knows that is easier said than done.

Really, Morant is such a unique player that the Wizards can only gameplan and prepare so much until they actually experience facing him for the first time.

"He's gonna be a handful," Beal said.

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