Losing Nene to a suspension in Game 4 certainly changes the complexion of the Wizards’ first-round playoff series against the Chicago Bulls but Washington can actually take some solace in the NBA’s ruling because the outcome could’ve been worse. Video replays showed Marcin Gortat leaving the bench and stepping on the court when the scuffle broke out between Nene and Bulls forward Jimmy Butler. NBA rules stipulate that any player who leaves the bench during an altercation is subject to an automatic one-game suspension. Coach Randy Wittman didn’t expect Gortat to receive any punishment because Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau had already called timeout before Nene butted heads with Butler and wrapped his hands around the back of Butler’s neck in an ugly dust-up with 8 minutes 28 seconds left in the fourth quarter of the Wizards’ 100-97 loss. Wittman proved to be correct, but Gortat admitted that he was somewhat worried about getting a call from the league although he was simply carrying out his usual routine after a timeout. “I’m always one of the first guys jumping onto the court, trying to give a high-five to players and when I seen the fight was going on, I just froze,” Gortat said. “I was right there on the middle of the court. Just because I was there, I could’ve put myself and my team in trouble.” The Wizards will be without Nene on Sunday for a critical game they’ll need to win to maintain home-court advantage in this series. But they are more confident about their chances after going 13-9 in games Nene missed after he sprained his left knee on Feb. 23. They are 0-1 without both Nene and Gortat this season.
Marcin Gortat, Trevor Booker hope to help Wizards regroup without Nene
Washington Post | Apr 27