A day after Bradley Beal was hit with the first fine from the league office for aggressive behavior -- grabbing Evan Fournier around the throat momentarily in a fracas during a game last week vs. the Orlando Magic -- he accepted it.
"He's a good player. Playing hard. It was just a scuffle, a bunch of people in the mix. Our hands were going places," said Beal, who was physical in defending the shooter in the Wizards' 94-91 win. "Not intentional. It is what it is. We have strict rules in the NBA so we got to abide by them no matter who you are."
It could've been larger than $15,000 but Beal quickly released his hand and didn't attempt to strike Fournier as both rallied to their teammates' side as the Magic's Bismack Biyombo and the Wizards' Kelly Oubre shoved each other after a foul.
Fournier hurt the Wizards in their first meeting, an 88-86 win for Orlando, and Beal was intent on not letting him have space. He held him to 2-for-9 shooting, and game officials allowed both to be aggressive on one another. Fournier, however, took six foul shots. Beal didn't get any.
"I didn't want Fournier to catch the ball. I didn't even want him to even breathe a little bit," Beal said about his defense in that game that coach Scott Brooks called his best effort of the season. "It's important. I have to step up. I have it tough every night so each night I got to bring it. It starts with John (Wall) and I. Once we set the pressure, set the tone it just motivates and gets everybody else going."
(Note: The first part of this last quote about not letting him breathe wasn't a joke or said in jest by Beal. Just accidental humor to those listening).