Washington Wizards point guard John Wall has felt ignored by officials whenever he aggressively drives to the rim. This has been his season-long gripe that naturally has carried over to the rough-and-tumble playoff series against the Boston Celtics.
“No. Nah,” Wall responded when asked directly if he believes he gets respect from officials.
While this is nothing new, on Thursday Wall revealed for the first time that he views himself similarly to LeBron James in this aspect.
“I think I get the same treatment as LeBron gets when he drives,” Wall said ahead of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal round. “I think I’m too big and physical, so guys bounce off me and they think I’m supposed to play through it, so I just keep playing and, like, coach tells me, don’t worry about it. Just try to finish plays without worrying about the fouls. So that’s all I can do.”
Wall, who sprained his right ankle in Game 1 and fell on his left wrist early in Game 2 but will play on Thursday, is a sturdy, 6-foot-4, 210-pound point guard. However, Wall contends that his size works against him when trying to get the benefit of the doubt. Take for instance the moment in Game 2’s overtime when Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley swiped the ball from him for a costly turnover leading to a layup.
“He’s pretty good, I played against Avery for a long time but it doesn’t bother me. I mean, he’s a great defender, but it don’t bother me as much,” Wall said, smiling. “Like, if everybody look at the last play, if you look, he was holding my whole arm. The whole time … but the ref told me he couldn’t see it.
“I moved the ball in my right hand, my whole left arm caught to my body,” Wall said. “Like I was in a straitjacket.”
Teammate Bradley Beal has an idea to break out of this vise: Play just as physically as Boston does.
“That’s their way of taking us out of the game. They want to make it physical. They want to make it a little nasty. We just got to be the same way. We’ve got to hold, we’ve got to grab a little bit, we got to hit guys. Keep it clean but at the same time, make sure they feel us,” Beal said. “We’re two really good teams, who are really competitive. We don’t like each other, on top of that. … It’s a fight.”