The NBA suspended Wizards forward Nene for one game after his altercation with Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler. Nene will be forced to miss Sunday’s critical Game 4 at Verizon Center for head-butting and grabbing Bulter around the neck with both hands and attempting to throw him down, NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn announced.
The incident occurred with 8 minutes, 28 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of the Wizards’ 100-97 loss Saturday when Nene made a winding, fastbreak layup and bumped into Butler. Nene gave Butler an elbow and Butler retaliated by nudging Nene on the hip. When Nene turned to face Butler, Butler charged and they locked foreheads and glared at each other until the situation turned into a scuffle.
Nene grabbed Butler by the back of his neck with his right hand, then clamped down with his left hand, pulling Butler into him as he backpedaled. Officials stepped in separate the two but Nene received two technical fouls and was given an automatic ejection. Washington Post
This is a worst case scenario for the Wizards. Game 3 had a lot of surprising things take place, although typical for a Bulls’ victory. No one ever knows who the next hero will be for the Bulls because no one has a huge impact on every game other than Joakim Noah. Mike Dunleavy’s is not scoring 35 points again, but the Bulls likely won’t have to score a ton because of Nene’s absence.
The Wizards are a franchise with a ton of bad luck over their history as Bill Simmons noted in a Friday column for Grantland:
Now THIS is an obstacle. Since they lost Game 5 of the 1979 Finals to Seattle (R.I.P.), here’s your Washington basketball history in fewer than 90 words without mentioning that (a) they missed the playoffs 22 times in 35 years, and (b) they won only two playoff series total: Kwame over Pau; C-Webb for Mitch; Sheed for Strickland; Rip for Stackhouse; Gilbert vs. Jarvaris; $100 million for Juwan; the Rubio/Curry pick for Miller and Foye; Kenny Green one pick over Karl Malone; Wes Unseld, then Ernie Grunfeld; MJ ruining LaBradford Smith; past-their-primes Bernard, Moses and MJ; Andray Blatche’s extension/amnesty; top-12 picks on Hot Plate Williams, Muggsy Bogues, Tom Hammonds and Jared Jeffries; top-six picks on Vesely, Porter, Cal Cheaney and Mel Turpin; Gheorghe Muresan AND Manute Bol; and again, Kenny Green ONE PICK BEFORE KARL MALONE.
In other words, Wizards’ fans are nervous. This kind of bad break is par for the course. The Bulls were on the ropes and Nene let them off. Let’s see if the Wizards can defeat their own bad luck. – AL