- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 6, 2018

Washington’s modest winning streak ended at four games Saturday night thanks to the incomparable Giannis Antetokounmpo (34 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists) and just 18 points in the fourth quarter during a 110-103 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. Three points from the night that resulted in Matthew Dellavedova’s first career ejection:

Everyone is upset. Bradley Beal sprang to his feet after Dellavedova whipped him to the ground with a horse-collar-style grab while Beal was going full speed with 7:24 to play in the fourth quarter. Dellavedova reacted as if he did nothing wrong. Instantly, his legacy sprang to mind. All those times in the playoffs when Dellavedova spurred discussion about what the difference between dirty and aggressive is. The foul earned Dellavedova his first ejection after it was ruled a Flagrant 2. Afterward, Beal, Scott Brooks and John Wall were irritated with what transpired.

“There’s no place in the game for that,” Beal said. “There’s a difference between making a play on the ball and wrapping your arms around somebody’s neck. It was what it was. He fouled me and got thrown out for it. I don’t really have an opinion about it. One thing I didn’t like was how the ref went after me versus trying to control him. I have a right to react the way I did. It’s over.”

Brooks tried to step away from the topic before circling around to his thoughts.

“I don’t want to get involved in what other players do,” Brooks said. “The referees, they have to handle it and the league has to handle it. It’s a professional respect that you want to play with. You want to play physical, you want to play tough, you don’t want to go out there and put your opponent in a tough position. I thought the referees handled it the right way. Unfortunately, it happened. Should never happen. Those plays should never happen.”

Then, there was Wall, who was not as politely objective in his assessment.

“Whatever [their] team can say, and other people can vouch for him, to me I always thought he’s just a dirty player,” Wall said. “I’ll give him credit, he plays hard. I take nothing away from with that. But, I just feel like he’s a dirty player. A guy going full speed, don’t grab him by his shoulders. Grab him by his waist or whatever else. The ref did what they had to do and they got him out of there. Then, kept continuing playing basketball.”

Wall was asked what the difference between dirty and aggressive is.

“I play aggressive,” Wall said. “Guys play aggressive. It’s a difference. That’s not the type of play that you do, then stand there like nothing happened. If we do that to somebody, their team’s going to react the same exact way. He’s known for undercutting guys, trying to box them out. Stuff like that. I give no credit for that. I give credit for him being a hard player that’s hard-nosed, one of the old-school type of players that plays very physical. When it comes to doing dirty plays, I have no respect for it.”

Endangerment is the key here. Much like when a player is in the air, pulling someone down near the shoulders and neck while they are going full speed is the type of play that can lead to a significant injury.

“C’mon, man,” Wall said. “He could have got a concussion. He’s going full speed, you snatch him back, he could hit his head on the floor, now he’s got a concussion, now it’s something different.”

For his part, Dellavedova continued to wonder what all the hub-bub was about.

“[John] Wall threw the ball up to [Bradley] Beal and I tried to run him off the three,” Dellavedova said. “He decides to drive it, so I tried to hold him up and he slipped because he went down. I was just trying to hold him to prevent him from getting the and-one, and then he just went to the ground.”

No Porter. Otto Porter missed the game because of a hip problem. He was worked on before the game began to see if he could get ready to go after coming out of Friday night’s game early, but he did not play. When Porter’s hip bothers him, it locks up his lower back. He’s dealt with this issue for a couple seasons. However, he has rarely missed games. Porter played 80 games last season and 36 of 40 this season.

Dormant in the fourth. Friday night, the Wizards scored 15 points in the fourth quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies. Saturday, they scored 18 in the fourth. “We just didn’t make shots,” Beal said. “We are going to have nights like that. It’s not an excuse, but both teams were coming off a back-to-back. They shot it a little bit better than we did. That’s that. The ball is not going to go in every night. I feel like we defended well, but we probably could have done a little bit better down the stretch. For the most part, I think everything was pretty solid.”

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