The frustration has been boiling with John Wall when it comes to the lack of foul calls he receives when he attacks the paint, and in his mind it never was more evident than in Wednesday night's loss to the Charlotte Bobcats. On what turned out to be a game-changing play, Wall was whistled for fouling Kemba Walker on a three-point attempt with the shot clock about to expire. At best, based on replays, the contact was minimal.
"I didn't touch him. All he did was scream," Wall said. "The ref gave him calls all night because he was screaming."
The Wizards (33-31) were called for 22 fouls, twice as many as the Bobcats (31-34) who only had two at halftime -- none among their starters. When that was pointed out in the locker room postgame, it drew some puzzled looks. Yes, Charlotte is a good defensive team -- good enough that Bradley Beal admitted the coverages confused him and put him "in a daze" en route to 7-for-18 shooting -- but not that good.
"This was like a playoff game," Wall said. "They called it too tight with certain calls that didn't go our way, but it's still not the reason why we lost."
The Bobcats had a 22-9 edge in attempted free throws. They were plus-11 in points there. It's becoming a pattern for the Wizards, who coach Randy Wittman said lacked aggression. The last time his team took more foul shots than an opponent was Feb. 27 at the Toronto Raptors.
By time Wall went to the foul line for the first time Wednesday, with 4:31 left in the game, they were trailing 87-80 and he was distracted by anger.
"I was really upset," he said. "I was mad. I always wait until the three-minute mark of the fourth quarter to get a call. Plenty of times I jumped to the basket. I think I should've been to the line plenty more."
And take into account this context: Twice this season, in losses at the Oklahoma City Thunder and at home to the Denver Nuggets, Wall had the ball on final possessions and was blatantly fouled. The Thunder's Jeremy Lamb hacked him across the forearm and Wall misfired on the layup at the buzzer. Nate Robinson admitted afterward that he pulled Wall's arm as he caught the ball on the move to the basket, causing him to lose possession as Denver won.
Wittman was hit with a technical for arguing the call on Wall vs. Charlotte. Coupled with the three foul shots, Walker made that one too for a four-point swing that was too much to overcome. Wittman wouldn't touch the topic when asked after the game what he told the official.
"I had a bad roast beef sandwich today and I told him don't go to this deli that I went to," Wittman quipped.
Wall simply left with a bad taste in his mouth and likely will get a letter from the NBA issuing a fine, or a warning, for criticizing officials.