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Wizards' Bradley Beal accepts fine but calls choke of Evan Fournier unintentional

Wizards' Bradley Beal accepts fine but calls choke of Evan Fournier unintentional

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).

[RELATED: Wizards vs. Kings: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch]

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Survey of NBA general managers reportedly shows divide in how teams want to proceed with season

Survey of NBA general managers reportedly shows divide in how teams want to proceed with season

A conference call between NBA general managers and commissioner Adam Silver on Thursday revealed a divide as to how the GMs think the league should proceed if able to finish the 2019-20 season, according to a report by The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor.

GMs were given a survey, the results of which were revealed on the call, and according to the report, they were split on several things:

  • Half the general managers voted to skip the rest of the regular season and go straight to the playoffs

  • More than half voted to reseed the playoffs 1 to 16, regardless of conference

  • About 75 percent voted in favor of a play-in tournament for bubble teams to determine the final playoff seeds; the other 25 percent voted in favor of a World Cup-style group stage

The play-in tournament was reported as a potential option by ESPN on Wednesday. Labeled as a “playoffs plus” format, it would allow teams just outside of the playoff picture like the New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs and Sacramento Kings -- all separated by just 1.5 games -- a way to play themselves into the playoffs if the regular season is in fact canceled. 

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The Wizards, currently the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference and 5.5 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot, weren’t mentioned in the report, but it did say 20-24 teams would be included. This would likely include Washington.

According to O’Connor, teams with top seeds like the East-leading Bucks and West-leading Lakers favor the play-in option over a group stage, likely because they get an easier matchup against lower-seeded teams and a less difficult path to a title. And because teams will always vote in their own best interest, the survey isn’t an indication of what will ultimately happen.

“There was zero commitment to any one plan,” one of the GMs told O’Connor. “But it was a call to gather more information.”

On Friday, Silver will talk with the league’s board of governors to discuss formats to resume the season, a potential timeline for return, and more. But nothing is expected to be determined on that call either.

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Scott Brooks: Bradley Beal is one of the NBA's best overall players

Scott Brooks: Bradley Beal is one of the NBA's best overall players

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks always has nice things to say about Bradley Beal, his star shooting guard. But on Thursday night's 'Wizards Greatest Hits' broadcast on NBC Sports Washington, he took it up a notch with his praise.

While speaking with host Chris Miller as they watched back the Wizards' Jan. 2019 win over the Knicks in London, Brooks shared some very high compliments of Beal.

"He is really one of the best players in the league," Brooks said. "All-around, not only at guard, he is one of the best players in the league. His game has improved so much over the past three years. He's getting better every year."

As they watched the fourth quarter of that Wizards-Knicks game, Brooks went on about how Beal can flip a switch during crunch time and how sometimes all it takes is a quick conversation between them.

"There are times where I need him to take over a game. I just say 'Brad, it's time,'" Brooks said.

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The best line from Brooks may have been when Beal not making the 2019-20 All-Star team came up. Brooks' coaching peers vote on the reserves and they famously left Beal out, which made for some history combined with his scoring average at the time.

Brooks wants to know from other NBA coaches: "If you don't think he's an All-Star, then why are you double-teaming every single time we play?"

If you get an answer to that question, Scott, be sure to let us know.

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