Washington Wizards small forward Kelly Oubre Jr. will be suspended without pay for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals between the Wizards and Boston Celtics, the league announced.
His suspension is not a surprise. Oubre ran at Olynyk after a foul was called on Olynyk and the play was whistled dead. When he collided with Olynyk, the Celtics’ 7-footer flew to the ground. Oubre also made light contact with official Monty McCutchen. Oubre said Saturday that he reached out to McCutchen to apologize.
“Just a consequence for my actions,” Oubre said of the suspension. “Right now I’m just looking forward to my next game I’m able to play and getting better till then. [Sunday] my teammates are going to step up, hold it down. We’re a next-man-up team, so I have no worries on that.”
The league said in a statement that Oubre was suspended “for charging and making forceful and unwarranted contact” with Olynyk.
“The league has to do what they have to do,” Oubre said. “They have to handle that situation. It’s in the past, it happened, they made it their rule and I have to follow it.”
Losing Oubre takes away one of Washington’s best and most versatile defenders. The 6-foot-7 small forward has often been charged with guarding Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas. That has been a shared duty between Oubre, John Wall and Bradley Beal. All have had good and bad moments in the process.
In Game 3, Oubre played just five minutes, yet Washington held Thomas to 13 points a game after allowing him 53.
That was also a game where Otto Porter was able to post Thomas effectively. The Wizards will continue to pursue ways to attack Thomas’ defense in order not to let him rest on that end.
One of the other wrinkles in Game 3 was Washington coach Scott Brooks summoning Bojan Bogdanovic as his first substitution. After Bogdanovic made his first 3-pointer, Brooks called a play for him. Bogdanovic finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds. He had 10 points in the first two games combined. He also did not play often, something Brooks said was his fault
“I think he was much better because I gave him a better opportunity,” Brooks said Saturday. “I said it before the last game, it’s on me. I made a mistake of not playing him more minutes in Game 2. But he has great experience. He’s been playing pro ball forever in a lot of big games in Europe, not only for his pro team but for his country. Guys feel comfortable with him. When he’s open, he’s going to make that shot and he’s a shot-maker but he’s not just a shot-maker. He can put the ball on the floor, he can get an offensive rebound and he competes on the defensive end. Definitely [Sunday] night I can see him play good, quality minutes.”
Without Oubre, Brooks said he is considering multiple ways to make up the spot in the rotation. Those include possibly increasing the minutes for some players already in the rotation or putting ones who have been on the fringe, or out of it, into the lineup. Tomas Satoransky comes to mind as an option.
“I’m looking at all options, maybe give some extra minutes, maybe add another guy, maybe change some spots on the floor with different players playing different positions,” Brooks said. “Those are all on the table right now. We just have to pick one by tomorrow early evening. Whoever I pick I have full confidence in the guy or the situation we pick that they’re going to play well.”
Boston leads the series 2-1 after winning the first two games at home, one in overtime. Game 4 is Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at Verizon Center. The series shifts back to Boston for Game 5 on Wednesday at 8 p.m.
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