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Crying Foul on Officiating

By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 24, 2008

Perhaps Wizards Coach Eddie Jordan has finally had enough of Cavaliers Coach Mike Brown claiming that the Wizards played a dirty brand of basketball in Games 1 and 2.

Jordan said his players have been on the receiving end of several hard fouls and other contact. In Game 1, Andray Blatche was elbowed in the face by LeBron James, and in Game 2 Blatche was hit in the face by Anderson Varejao.

Also in Game 2, Roger Mason Jr. was knocked down by Devin Brown while attempting a layup, and Antonio Daniels hit the floor hard on a foul by Delonte West.

Varejao was assessed a flagrant 1 foul for his hit on Blatche, but none of those plays received the kind of attention given to the hit Brendan Haywood put on James in the third quarter of Game 2. That foul earned Haywood a flagrant 2 and with it an automatic ejection.

Jordan hasn't commented directly on Haywood's ejection but he sees a double standard in the way the games are being called and in the way the physicality displayed by both teams has been portrayed in the media.

"Well, if they are like the fouls they gave on us, you have to at least act like you are going for the ball and you can throw your body at anybody the way you like," Jordan said yesterday. "Just watching the fouls they gave on us, it was, you know, pretend you are going for the ball and throw your body at the guy. So that's a good technique."

Haywood said he meant no harm to James and believes that James is receiving special attention because of Brown's constant complaining through the media.

"If that's Delonte West I fouled like that, do they throw me out of the game?" Haywood asked. "Probably not."

Not surprisingly, James saw things differently.

"I thought he was going to get suspended for what happened," James told reporters yesterday. "But he's not, so we're prepared for him to be in the lineup and we'll continue to do what we've been doing offensively and defensively."

Washington's players are clearly tired of hearing they are somehow bending the rules, and yesterday all-star forward Antawn Jamison said he wants Haywood to continue playing the way he played in the first two games.

"He's been protecting the paint all season and I expect him to continue doing that," Jamison said. "If a guy's coming down the middle, you're not going to let him have layups. That's not dirty. The same thing with Gilbert [Arenas] when he hits the floor. It's just basketball."

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