Aside from the $4,000 penalty that comes with the 15th technical foul on John Wall, the NBA could levy a heavier one on the Wizards' point guard after his frustrations boiled over after a 95-88 loss at the Utah Jazz.
"We didn't lose this game," said Wall, who showed marks on his left arm that drew blood that he said didn't result in a whistle. "The refs made us lose this game. We fought hard to give ourselves a chance."
Game officials reviewed a play in the third quarter when he went around a screen from Rudy Gobert and appeared to strike him with an open hand in the midsection/beltline area. Gobert reacted as if he was hurt but quickly got back into the play to continue. The two players had words with each other as well.
Wall was assessed a technical which puts him one away from an automatic one-game suspension with six games left in the regular season.
"I don't know. I was just chasing over the screen. I guess my hand accidentally hit him in the stomach or whevever it hit him at," Wall said. "That happens throughout the course of a basketball game. Guys fighting over screens. It's not like I ran into him and hit him on purpose. I didn't know what happened. The ref said it was a technical foul. There was nothing exchanged between us (previously)."
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There could've been more whistles in what was a physical game throughout. Marcin Gortat was plowed over by Gobert for what appeared to be a charge but there was no call. Gobert finished the layup uncontested. Wall made a steal and missed a layup when replays showed that Gordon Hayward didn't come close to the ball and touched his arm.
The lack of calls has been a growing frustation for coach Scott Brooks and his team. Bradley Beal and Wall did attack the rim much better than they did in a 102-92 loss vs. Utah on Feb. 26. And while this one was more competitive and on the line in the final minutes, they didn't do enough to win.
When Wall was given his 14th technical he was hopeful that it would be rescinded as was Brooks. That didn't happen after the league reviewed it.
A couple days after Brooks suggested that his team complained too much when Markieff Morris was ejected in a 133-124 loss to the L.A. Clippers, he was dumbfounded by these events.
"They said it was a hostile act." Brooks said. "I've been around a lot of fights back when I played. Come on, hostile act? That's ridiculous. We have to control our emotions but he's playing defense. He went through a screen. ... It wasn't controlling our emotions. If anything, it's accidental contact."
The juggling act has taken a toll. Wall has been careful not to be too aggressive in his posture towards game officials, and he still got a technical.
"I haven't been saying nothing to the refs lately because I know what situation I've been in," said Wall, who attempted just four foul shots as did Beal. "But the way they were officiating today makes no sense. You shoot 31 freee throws to 16, We were the agggressive team that attacked the basket. I try to get something rescinded before. It never works in my favor."
The assumption is that Wall is using expletives or speaking harshly to officials, but he said that's not the case. Even a year ago, he recalled an incident in a game vs. the Orlando Magic when the he felt as if the now-retired Joey Crawford baited him by addressing him in a condescending tone. Something similar, according to Wall, took place Friday on another play.
"I asked the ref why I didn't get one call when I drove baseline, Gordon Hayward pushed me out of bounds. He said, 'Well I didn't shoot the ball, you did.' They're saying slick stuff to me," Wall said. "If I go and tell people about it, (the NBA is) not going to believe my word over their word. Once I say something they feel like is negative towards them, they're going to run to the media then I'm getting fined. If you're going to hold the players accountable you should hold the refs accountable. If you're talking to them in a respectable manner they need to talk to you in the same way."
Aside from Wall's hard foul on Marcus Smart in a blowout of the Boston Celtics earlier in the season -- retaliation for what he felt was roughhouse tactics -- he doesn't have the reputation of a flopper or cheap-shot artist.
"Playing defense fighting over a screen. He's not a dirty player," Beal said of the technical. "Doesn't have that label. ... Kind of unfair."