The scoreboard malfunction at the Phone Booth last night gave the game an AAU feel, according to Trevor Booker.
The technical staff was hard at work trying to fix the game clock at the scorers table, Jordan Crawford strolled out of the locker room before he could be asked any questions, and Wale was sitting in the media area fuming about an exchange with the opposing team’s broadcasters. This was the scene post-game after the Wizards fell to the Toronto Raptors in what can loosely be described as a weird night at the Verizon Center.
The Wizards were plagued by the turnover bug in their first game back from the All-Star Break, coughing the ball up 17 times for 24 Toronto points. Wall easily had his worst game of the season turning the ball over seven times and going 1-for-12 from the field with nine points on the night. No one could really point out what was wrong with Wall. All signs led to just an “off night”.
Bradley Beal did not have an off night, however, as he continued his rookie dominance. He wound up with 25 points, four boards and an assist to go with his three-for-six shooting from three-point range. The level of confidence and comfort in his game has only been improving since the month of December, and he’s beginning to show that sky is the limit when it comes to how he can provide for this team. But with Wall playing the way he did, it just wasn’t enough to stop Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan who both had 24 points apiece.
Jordan Crawford did have an off night in a completely different sense. Given another “DNP-Coach’s Decision”, Crawford spent the entire night on the bench with a 45-degree body lean wrapped in towels from head to toe. He looked like a young Bulldog whose owner had abandoned him in the D.C. pound after finding a shinier, more reliable German Shepherd. Crawford didn’t give any time to the media last night, strolling out before the locker room opened, and Wittman didn’t have any comment on the situation other than that every guy has to wait their turn in the rotation.
Also having an off night, the Verizon Center could not get the shot and game clocks running for the game and had to resort to a high-school basketball style game clock set in front of the scorers table and shot clocks on the floor by each basket. The substitutions and game breaks were all announced via air horn, and the PA announcer verbally counted down the seconds on the shot clock from five all the way down to one and sometimes announced the score.
As if that all wasn’t weird enough, rapper Wale ended up confronting the Toronto broadcast team in the third quarter after they misconceived some jawing between him and Rudy Gay. Video of the Toronto broadcast shows the broadcasters referring to Wale as “Wall………ay” as a “local rapper” and then mentioning that he’s “…no Drake....that’s for sure.”
Wale must have been watching Twitter closely as word must have got to him. He was seen at the broadcast booth in the 100 level of the Verizon center and later video was posted of him during the broadcast yelling at the broadcasters while they were live on-air.
I spoke to Wale (who oddly was sitting alone in the media room after the game), and he said that the jawing back and forth between him and Gay was misconceived. Other sources confirmed that he was telling Gay that he needs to get into a Wizards uniform, which led Gay to make the “call me” motion with his hands. Wale mentioned that he didn’t aggressively confront them, but wanted to speak to the broadcasters as he felt he was being disrespected in his “own house” (although the video and bystanders seem to prove otherwise about the ‘non-aggressive’ thing).
So there was a little bit of something for everyone at the Verizon Center Tuesday night. If you liked tough, physical basketball; you got it. You want drama? Sure, they’ll throw that in, too. Unpredictable complications? Why not? And with the trade deadline approaching in a little more than 24 hours, it looks like you’ll have plenty more of this to come.