The Charlotte Bobcats continue to be one of the NBA's most pleasant surprises. Their 98-85 win over the Washington Wizards was Charlotte's fourth in five games, and they appear set to take an Eastern Conference playoff berth that very few people saw coming.
UPDATE: Friday, March 14 at 5:53 p.m. ET
Wall has been fined $15,000 for his public critique of the officials, according to The Associated Press.
--End of update--
But not everyone is elated with the Bobcats' winning ways. In a battle of electric young guards, Charlotte's Kemba Walker got the better of Washington's John Wall. The loser, Wall, was in a foul mood after the game, and he was in the mood to blame both Walker and the officials, per TrueHoop's Adam McGinnis and CSN Washington's J. Michael:
The problem, according to Wall, was that refs were all too eager to buy Walker's exaggerated screams and call a foul on the Wizards. Here is a clip of the interview:
You seen it on the screen: I didn't touch him. All he did was scream. The refs gave him the call all night because he was screaming. Can't do nothing about it; we keep playing basketball.
The play in question came at the 4:34 mark of the fourth quarter, with the Bobcats leading, 83-80. The refs called a foul on a three-point attempt from Walker. Wizards head coach Randy Wittman protested, earning a technical from the bench.
Walker made all three free throws from the personal foul, plus the extra one from the technical, and suddenly the Bobcats' lead was stretched to seven.
Did the foul call unnerve Wall? He drew a foul on Bobcats center Al Jefferson one possession later, but missed both free throws, adding to Washington's problems.
Walker sank a three-pointer the next time down the court, pushing Charlotte's lead to double digits. The Wizards did not score again until the lead had grown to 14 and the game was essentially over.
John Wall may be an All-Star this season, but he is still only 23 years old. Whether or not the foul call was justified, he still has a responsibility, as his team's best player, to rally his troops instead of falling apart. The kid still has a lot to learn.