Thomas goes bump in the night, gets himself tossed
Contact with official earns quick ejection from Friday’s game
TRAIL BLAZERS 122, WIZARDS 103 (FRI.)
WASHINGTON — The Washington Wizards were already short-handed, then Isaiah Thomas was lost less than 90 seconds into Friday night’s game when he was ejected for making contact with a referee.
That left them too depleted to keep up with the Portland Trail Blazers and their potent backcourt. Damian Lillard scored 35 points, CJ McCollum added 24 and the Trail Blazers beat the Wizards 122-103 to snap a five-game losing streak.
Hassan Whiteside added 23 points, 21 rebounds and five blocks for Portland.
“A lot of winnable games we kind of squandered, so this was one we needed to get,” McColllum said after he and Lillard bounced back from combined 11-of-36 shooting in a loss to the Knicks. “Now we’ve got to move forward.”
Thomas was tied up along the sideline by Portland’s Carmelo Anthony. As he broke away from Anthony, he made contact with referee Marat Kogut, who stumbled. Thomas was thrown out with 10 minutes, 32 seconds left in the opening quarter.
“He made physical contact with the referee,” referee Mark Ayotte said in a pool report. “It was definitely just a push during the dead ball contact with the referee.”
Wizards coach Scott Brooks thought the contact was accidental.
“They were in a scrum and were fighting for the ball,” he said. “I had a view that it looked like he lost his balance. But [Kogut] had a better view and then they looked at it, so you would hope they made the right call.”
Thomas wasn’t in the locker room after the game. On Saturday, he was fined $25,000 by the NBA for “making inappropriate contact” with an official.
“I didn’t really pay much attention to the contact and I was standing right there,” Lillard said. “I thought he just fell into him. And that was it. They reviewed it and they kind of stood their ground on it.”
Thomas received a two-game suspension after walking into the stands to confront two fans following a timeout in Philadelphia on Dec. 21.
Jordan McRae scored a season-high 35 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter, for Washington. Garrison Mathews added 18 points and Ish Smith scored 16 for the Wizards, who have lost four of five.
Playing without Bradley Beal, Washington’s top three scorers were reserves.
Beal is day to day. He returned Wednesday against Orlando after missing two games with lower leg soreness and collided with the Magic’s Jonathan Isaac early on. Brooks said the collision aggravated Beal’s injury.
McCollum started an 11-1 run in the third quarter with a jumper and then added a 3-pointer to make it 73-64. Whiteside scored four straight points on a tip-in and layup and, after a Washington free throw, Lillard hit two foul shots to put Portland up 79-65.
McRae’s 3-pointer pulled Washington within 103-96 with 5:54 left, but Lillard answered with five quick points to make it 108-96.
“We’re a young team,“McRae said. “We’re trying to figure out ways to win those games in the last five minutes. You’ve got to get stops [and] you’ve got to be efficient on the offensive end.”
Wizards guard Isaiah Thomas reacts as he is ejected less than 90 seconds into Friday’s game for making contact with an official.