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.

Victor Oladipo’s practice dunk better than anything he – or maybe anyone – did in dunk contest (video)

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Victor Oladipo has grown into far more than just a dunker.

In fact, in Saturday’s dunk contest, he didn’t look like a dunker at all.

The Pacers star missed all three attempts of his first dunk, and a Black Panther mask was by far the biggest draw of his second. Oladipo was eliminated after the first round.

Maybe Dennis Smith Jr. wasn’t the only eliminated dunker who left something in his bag. This Oladipo dunk – 180 degrees, throwing ball off the backboard with his left hand while in mid-air, dunking with his right hand – while preparing in Los Angeles was awesome.

Larry Nance Jr. had the contest’s best dunk. This would have rivaled it.

Pelicans owner Tom Benson hospitalized with flu symptoms

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METAIRIE, La. (AP) — New Orleans Saints and Pelicans Owner Tom Benson has been hospitalized with flu symptoms.

A statement released Wednesday by the NFL and NBA clubs says their 90-year-old owner is resting comfortably at Ochsner Medical Center, a hospital which also serves as a major sponsor and which owns naming rights to the teams’ training headquarters.

Benson has owned the New Orleans Saints since 1985 and bought the New Orleans Pelicans in 2012.

In recent years, Benson has overhauled his estate plan so that his third wife, Gayle, would be first in line to inherit control of the two major professional franchises.

 

Report: Seattle hosting Kings-Warriors preseason game

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Kevin Durant spent his rookie season in Seattle, before the SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder. He has said Seattle fans deserved to see him grow up in the NBA after supporting his promising start.

They’ll get their chance.

Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee:

The Kings and Golden State Warriors have scheduled a preseason game next season in Seattle, according to multiple league sources.

The Oct. 6 meeting between Northern California teams will be the first NBA game in the Key Arena since the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City after the 2007-08 season and became the Thunder.

This game will be loaded with storylines. Not only Durant, but the Kings considered moving to Seattle a few years ago. And of course, the return of NBA basketball to Seattle.

At some point, Seattle will get its own team again. For now, this preseason game creates intrigue there.

Report: Kawhi Leonard cleared medically, seeking second opinion

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he’d be surprised if Kawhi Leonard played again this season, a stark reversal from just a month ago. Back then, even while announcing Leonard was out indefinitely with a quad injury, the San Antonio coach said Leonard wouldn’t miss the rest of the season.

What’s going on?

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

After spending 10 days before the All-Star break in New York consulting with a specialist to gather a second opinion on his right quad injury, All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard bears the burden of determining when he’s prepared to play again, sources told ESPN.

Leonard has been medically cleared to return from the right quad tendinopathy injury, but since shutting down a nine-game return to the Spurs that ended Jan. 13, he has elected against returning to the active roster, sources said.

The uncertainty surrounding this season — and Leonard’s future which could include free agency in the summer of 2019 — has inspired a palpable stress around the organization, league sources said.

At first glance, this sounds like Derrick Rose five years ago. Even after he was cleared to play following a torn ACL, the then-Bulls star remained mysterious about when he’d suit up. His confidence in his physical abilities seemed to be a major issue, and he was never the same player since (suffering more leg injuries).

But the Spurs famously favor resting players to preserve long-term health. They seem unlikely to rush back Leonard. They might even sit players who want to play more often. And Leonard isn’t Rose.

Still, it’s clear something is amiss in San Antonio. Maybe not amiss enough to end Leonard’s tenure there, but the longer this lingers, the more time for tension to percolate.