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.