Thursday, March 31, 2011, 7:15 p.m.
By Frank Hanrahan
Wizards guard John Wall was suspended one game without pay by the NBA for throwing a closed fist and forearm into the midsection of Zydrunas Ilgauskas of the Miami Heat in Wednesday night's game.
The incident occurred with 8:48 remaining in the second quarter of the Heat's 123-107 victory at Verizon Center. Wall was tightly defending Ilgauskas, who, while protecting theball, elbowed Wall in the face more than once. Wall then swung at Ilgauskas, resulting in ejections for both players.
"You would hope out there in a game when a guy throws two elbows and a third one that they would catch the first one with three referees out there and the guy has the ball, because that's what they are watching." Wizards coach Flip Saunders said. "If you nip it in the bud right away, it doesn't escalate."
Which it did, even with Saunders running on the court to help break up the fracas, including a shouting match with Heat forward Juwan Howard.
Ilgauskas was fined 25,000 for making an obscene gesture after his ejection. Howard was also fined 35,000 for his role in the incident. The penalties were announced by Stu Jackson, NBA executive vice president, basketball operations.
The Wizards are already short-handed because of injuries. With Wall missing Friday's game against Cleveland, Jordan Crawford will slide over from shooting guard to point guard, a position he last played in high school.
"It's definitely going to be tough without John," Crawford said. "It really doesn't matter who's out; we are going to give it our all."
Crawford scored a career-high 39 points in the loss to Miami.