John Wall: ‘We didn’t lose this game. The refs made us lose this game’

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The Wizards lost to the Jazz, 95-88, last night.

At least that’s what the official scoring says.

John Wall has a different take.

Wall:

The way they’ve been officiating today doesn’t make no sense. To shoot 31 free throws to 16 – we’re an aggressive team that attacks the basket. That don’t make no sense. I had to get this bandaged up, because I’m bleeding, and the ref tells me it’s not a foul. It’s getting out of hand.

If you want us to compete at a high level like we’ve been doing – we didn’t lose this game. The refs made us lose this game.

We fought hard. We gave ourselves a chance. But you don’t shoot no 31 free throws to 16 the way we attack the basket as a team. So, that’s how I feel about it.

Certain guys are getting calls that don’t deserve it, and this is the second time of me saying this.

And fans can say I’m being rude or being disrespectful. I’m not. I’m just being bold with what I feel like our team should be getting credit for, because we’re an aggressive team. We’re a good team, and we’re not a sorry team. We’re a good team that come out and play hard every night, and we deserve certain calls.

Today I asked the ref why didn’t I get one call when I drove baseline and Gordon Hayward pushed me out of bounds. He said, “Well, I didn’t shoot the ball. You did.” So I mean, they’re saying slick stuff to me but if I go tell people about it, they’re not going to believe my word over their word.

But once I say something that they feel is negative toward them, they’re quick to run to the media. Then, I’m the one getting fined.

I feel like it should be vice-versa. If you’re going to hold the players accountable, you need to hold the refs accountable. If you’re talking to them in a respectful manner, they need to talk to you the same way.

I understand why Wall was frustrated. Washington drove 30 times against Utah and drew just three fouls (10%), per NBA.com. The Jazz drew five fouls on their 31 drives (16%).

But the Wizards have drawn fouls on 15% of their drives for the season, above the league average of 14%. And Utah is an excellent defensive team, uniquely capable of defending without fouling. Plus, four of the Jazz’s free throws came with Washington intentionally fouling late.

Wall makes a better point about his interaction with referees. Being prideful and competitive are detriments to quality officiating. Referees should not interact combatively with players. The NBA’s refs anecdotally seem to be doing better with that, but perhaps the issue isn’t completely resolved.

This mostly sounds like a frustrated player after a loss, one where Wall got a technical foul for hitting Rudy Gobert in the groin. But Wall might have also been campaigning for a more favorable whistle in the playoffs. Either way, the next step will likely be identical: a fine from the league. But, no matter his intent, if this helps Wall and the Wizards get more favorable calls in the postseason, it’ll be worth it.

Warriors hope to get Shaun Livingston, Matt Barnes back for second round

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Golden State Warriors hope to get injured reserves Shaun Livingston and Matt Barnes back from injuries for the second round of the playoffs after getting more than a week off between series.

The Warriors said Saturday that Barnes has been upgraded to probable for Tuesday night’s Game 1 and Livingston remains questionable but is hopeful he will be ready to return. Star forward Kevin Durant is expected to be a full go after missing two games and being limited to 20 minutes in Game 4 last round because of a strained left calf.

Barnes has been sidelined since April 8, while Livingston sprained a finger on his right hand in Game 1 of the first-round against Portland.

Golden State begins the second round at home on Tuesday night against the winner of Sunday’s Game 7 between the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz. The Warriors have been off since sweeping the Trail Blazers last Monday, giving them more than a week between games.

“I’m trying to make sure I rest it as much as I possibly can, because when I do come back I plan on staying all the way back,” Livingston said Saturday. “Hopefully it will be ready for Tuesday.”

After taking Tuesday and Thursday off following their first-round sweep, the Warriors practiced for a second straight day Saturday. They plan to practice again on Sunday and then again Monday once they know their second-round opponent.

There is no update on the status of coach Steve Kerr, who missed the final two games of the first round because of complications from two back surgeries. Kerr talks daily with interim coach Mike Brown and took part in coaching meetings Friday but was not at practice on Saturday.

PBT Extra: Rockets vs. Spurs far more than Kawhi Leonard vs. James Harden

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Kawhi Leonard vs. James Harden. Two MVP candidates matching up in the second round of the NBA playoffs.

However, the San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets is much more than that.

It’s a battle of pace. It’s a chess match between two of the best coaches in the game. It’s about which team’s role players are going to step up.

I talk about all of that in this latest PBT Extra. Plus, of course, when Leonard will guard Harden.

How to start your Saturday night: Watching 15 minutes of best plays from NBA season

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There are no NBA playoff games Saturday night, the first night since the start of the postseason there hasn’t been one game. Don’t worry, there are two games on Sunday, including Game 7 between the Jazz and Clippers.

But if you need a Saturday night fix, this will have to do: 15 minutes of the best plays from last season, as compiled by NBA.com.

Go ahead, watch it. You’ve got nothing better to do.

 

Paul Millsap says the expected, he will “most likely” opt out of contract

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This is ranked right next to “overeating can lead to weight gain” on the list of surprising things, but we will dutifully report it anyway:

Paul Millsap is going to opt out and officially become a free agent this summer.

Atlanta’s owner as well as Mike Budenholzer, the coach and head of basketball operations, have both said they plan to do whatever it takes to re-sign Millsap with the Hawks. Millsap didn’t sound like someone eager to leave after the Hawks were eliminated from the playoffs Friday.

“It’s been great. I’m looking to expand this and see where the franchise can go. These last four years has been great. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Even with both sides singing Kumbaya, keeping Millsap in Atlanta likely means a five-year contract at or near the max, which for a 32-year-old player means the Hawks would regret the last year or two of that deal.

Not that the Hawks have much of a choice here, they have to come in big and keep him. For one, they can’t afford to lose Al Horford and then Millsap for nothing in back-to-back years. If they were going down the rebuilding road, they needed to trade Millsap at the deadline (or last summer) to make sure they got something in return. Atlanta explored trade options at the deadline, but then pulled back (rumored to be because of an edict from ownership, which didn’t want to see the team blown up after the Kyle Korver trade).

By not making that trade the Hawks signaled their intention to remain a good team — a 43-win team this season that got them the five seed — with Dennis Schroder and Dwight Howard, one that draws well at an arena that historically has not been that full, and see if they can add on. They strike me as a team that will win between 42-50 games a year and be middle of the pack in the East for the next few years, unless they can find a way to add an elite player (which is incredibly difficult).

But if the Hawks can’t re-sign Millsap, then the plan gets blown up. So expect them to come in with a big offer come July 1.