CHICAGO — Washington Wizards guard Tomas Satoransky scored a career-high 25 points in Saturday’s 101-90 win over Chicago but saw his night end early following a questionable flagrant foul 2 by Bulls forward Bobby Portis.
The play in question occurred with 2:35 left in regulation and the Wizards leading by 10. Satoransky went up to try to finish at the rim as Portis came over to try to block his shot. There was a collision in midair as Satoransky fell hard on the floor as blood trickled from the side of his head. He laid on the ground for several moments as trainers came over to check on him before heading to the locker room.
On replays, it appeared that Portis went for the ball, but after video review, Portis was assessed a flagrant foul 2 and ejected from the game.
“Everybody knows the rule,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “It’s a dangerous play. I’m sure if he had to do it all over again, he probably would have taken it back. It’s a competitive moment. He was trying to prevent the dunk. But it’s one of those things, unfortunately it happened, but he’s going to be all right.”
Satoransky was evaluated after the game and was seen after the examination holding an ice pack to his head. While Brooks didn’t know the results of the exam right after the game, he did not sound concerned that Satoransky would miss much time after the hard foul. Satoransky did not speak to reporters after the game.
“I went for the ball,” Portis said. “Tried to block it, it was a tight game, tried to make a basketball play, for our team, to help our team stay in the game. Things happen.”
Portis acknowledged that he was surprised the foul was upgraded to a flagrant 2.
“I was surprised,” Portis said. “I don’t think it was contact near the head. I went for the basketball. They called what they called, and you have to live with the result.”
Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg echoed Portis’ sentiments.
“I don’t think it was a dirty play,” Hoiberg said. “I think he was going over to try to make a play, prevent a layup. That’s what I saw.”
Both Hoiberg and Portis said they did not get an explanation from officials, but Hoiberg did not think that Portis’ history, notably knocking out former teammate Niko Mirotic in a fight during a preseason practice, had anything to do with the upgraded flagrant.
Portis’ teammate Denzel Valentine disagreed with that assessment, asserting that Portis has a reputation now throughout the league because of the incident with Mirotic.
“He definitely made a basketball play,” Valentine said. “I just looked at the video. He went for the block. Bobby is a great guy, I know he has a reputation now just because of what happened at the beginning of the season [with Mirotic], but he’s a great guy. He’s out there playing hard — he plays hard, he does the dirty work, and I think he gets picked on sometimes. But it is what it is, he’s going to continue to play hard and be who he is, and we all have his back. That’s our brother, and we’re going to fight for him.”
Portis, who turned 23 on Saturday, said this was the first time in his career that he was assessed a flagrant 2.
“It’s something new for me,” Portis said. “I’m not going to be involved with it too much in my career, but at the same time, the refs called what they called. You got to respect the refs. I went for the basketball and tried to make a basketball play to help my team stay in the game. That’s what that was. No injuries intended on Satoransky, just competing [and] playing hard like I always do.”