From the start, Friday night showcased Bradley Beal’s confidence. The rookie guard put together his best performance of the season with a team-high 22 points (on 7-for-14 shooting), four rebounds and demonstrated the aggressiveness that Coach Randy Wittman has been encouraging.
In the final minute of the Wizards’ 101-91 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, though, Beal tried to block a shot by Monta Ellis and wound up with a flagrant-two foul that sparked a minor fracas. (Check out the replay here.)
NBA rules stipulate that a player charged with a flagrant-two foul can receive a fine not exceeding $50,000 and/or a suspension by the commissioner. It’s also possible the league can reduce the call to a flagrant-one, which doesn’t come with additional punishment, when it reviews the play.
“It was just a foul. I went for the ball but I got a flagrant-two, so it is what it is,” Beal said. “I guess [Brandon Jennings was] defending his teammate, came up and pushed me but it’s just all a part of basketball. It’s physical but it is what it is. I just have to deal with it.”
Ellis intercepted a bad pass with just 25.9 seconds to go and raced down the court with Beal and Trevor Booker in pursuit. As Ellis went up to attempt the shot, Beal and Booker reached to swat the ball away. The rookie’s arm hit Ellis on the head and sent the Milwuakee guard flying into the photographers at the baseline.
Jennings took exception to the play and as Beal and Booker tried to help Ellis up, Jennings ran over and with a two-handed shove pushed the Wizards rookie into the camera crews. Booker quickly got Jennings away from Beal, who got up and confronted his opponent but the situation resolved itself quickly as referees separated players. Jennings received a technical foul and was ejected.
“He fouled me hard and my teammate reacted,” Ellis said. “To be honest, they never showed the replay – but when somebody is up that high, if you can’t block the shot I don’t think that you should try to make a basketball play at the end of the game like that.”
Said Jennings: “I know a team never wants to give up an easy basket, but in that type of situation I feel like you should just wrap a guy up instead of pushing him or fouling him hard when he’s in the air.
“Freak accidents happen – you know me, I was just trying to protect my teammate,” Jennings continued. “I didn’t think I was going to get kicked out for it – the way [Ellis] fell, I didn’t know if he was hurt or anything like that – my mind was just to run over there toward him and move everybody else out of the way.”
Wittman told reporters he hadn’t seen the replay of Beal’s foul but said he wants to see the Wizards maintain their intensity even in the late stages of a game that was already out of reach.
“We don’t want to hurt anybody but you want to play it out,” Wittman said. “I want our guys to stay aggressive. We don’t want to do anything over the line, and I don’t know if that was or not. Like I said, I can’t comment.”