Wizards’ Trevor Ariza on ejection in loss to Toronto: “It was just bad”

Washington Wizards forward Trevor Ariza (1) handles the ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, in Washington. The Mavericks won 87-78. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
This is really upsetting. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Trevor Ariza was fuming after getting called for his second offensive foul in the third quarter of the Wizards’ 101-88 loss to the Toronto Raptors. Ariza got up to complain to referee Kevin Scott, collected a technical foul, then shouted another expletive as he walked by referee Joey Crawford and picked up another.

As he made a beeline to the locker room after getting ejected for just the third time in his career, Ariza was even more upset because he didn’t get all that he really wanted to say off his chest.

“If I was going to get ejected, I should’ve gotten my money’s worth,” Ariza said with a smile.

Ariza was having a hard time staying engaged in the contest before he got tossed, though he did make a pull-up three-pointer that tied the game at 45 just before halftime. When he left the game, Ariza was getting outscored by DeMar DeRozan, 17-6, and the Wizards trailed 66-53.

“It was a frustrating day. All the way around,” Ariza said. “But that’s no excuse for our lack of focus, or whatever, starting with me. I wasn’t into the game, so I take full responsibility for that.”

Ariza hadn’t been kicked out of a game since Dec. 15, 2009, when he was with the Houston Rockets. That incident also came while playing against Toronto. Ariza was a having a horrible game, scoring one point on 0-for-9 shooting, when he lost the ball and threw a forearm at the head of DeRozan, then a rookie. Ariza later got suspended one game.

On Friday, Ariza was pushed over the edge when the Raptors point guard slid under him as he drove along the base line. A few minutes earlier, Amir Johnson moved in front of him to draw a charge. When asked if the ejection was the result of the questionable calls, Ariza cracked a smile to avoid collecting another fine for criticizing the officials. The ejection cost him $2,000.

“It wasn’t the way I was playing. It was just, I don’t know, it was just bad,” Ariza said. “It was a frustrating day.”

The ejection was the lowlight of a terrible third quarter for the Wizards in which they surrendered 36 points and scored just 16. The game was slipping away when Ariza got thrown out but Coach Randy Wittman still thought the Wizards had a chance to come back.

“I never think the game is over,” he said. “Thirteen points in this league is not over. I still felt it. It was a sequence there when the guys finished the game.  If we could have made that open three to knock it to 13 when they were bringing Lowry and those guys back in, you never know in this league and there was plenty of time left at the time that Ariza was thrown out.”

The Wizards move on from Toronto to Sunday’s game against a Golden State Warriors team that is riding an eight-game winning streak and presents more matchup problems, especially with marksmen Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

“You may say that,” Ariza said. “But everybody in this league can play. Toronto was a good team and they’ve been playing well. We’ve just got to come out and execute our game plan, not really worry about anybody else. I feel like when we’re playing our game, we’re a good team as well. If we’re playing the right way and doing what we’re supposed to do, they need to worry about us.”

Michael Lee is the national basketball writer for The Washington Post.
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