By HOWARD FENDRICH
WASHINGTON (AP) — The jawing and the chippiness kept accumulating in a game Atlanta Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce called “messy” and “wild.”
So did the technical fouls — nine total — and ejections — three in all, including for Russell Westbrook and Rajon Rondo, as Atlanta held NBA scoring leader Bradley Beal to a season low in points, and Trae Young’s 41 helped the Hawks top the Washington Wizards 116-100 Friday night.
“Just need to stay focused,” Atlanta’s Danilo Gallinari said. “Personally I don’t have all that energy to spend on technicals and talking to refs and stuff.”
Westbrook, who matched Beal with 26 points and repeatedly traded words with Rondo, blamed himself for getting tossed in the fourth quarter.
Rondo waved goodbye as Westbrook left.
“I can’t allow myself to stoop down to anybody’s level. It’s not my character,” the past NBA MVP said. “I take full responsibility with all of that. I don’t agree with the second tech, but that’s neither here nor there.”
Wizards coach Scott Brooks also thought Westbrook should have been called for a personal foul there, saying that if “you’re going to call that, you might as well call them early in the game.”
But referee Mark Ayotte said a technical was warranted because Westbrook pushed Rondo, calling it physical taunt.
Young scored 18 in the fourth quarter to hold off a comeback by Washington, which trailed by as many as 23 in the third but got within 10 in the final period.
“He just gives us multi-layered, multi-level, attack mentality,” Pierce said.
The subject of trade speculation, Beal came in averaging 35.4 points for a last-place Wizards team that has been short-handed because of COVID-19 issues, recently had a half-dozen games in a row postponed and is now 3-12.
But with Cam Reddish playing tough defense, Beal missed all eight attempts from 3-point range Friday and entered the fourth quarter with just 13 points.
“I just didn’t have it going,” Beal said. “I told the guys I gave them nothing. I’ve got to be a lot better.”
He drew one of the six techs whistled on Washington, which lost center Robin Lopez in the second half after he got two back-to-back.
“Just too many techs — on both sides,” Beal said.
The Wizards are 0-4 since returning from a series of postponements that left them without a game for 13 days. Six players tested positive for COVID-19, and another three were sidelined after contact tracing.
Rui Hachimura, Davis Bertans and Moe Wagner returned Friday. Brooks expects Deni Avdija, Troy Brown Jr. and Ish Smith to be back for Washington’s next game.
“We understand that nobody’s going to feel sorry for us,” Beal said. “We’ve got to dig ourselves out of this hole.”
Hawks: De’Andre Hunter left in the first half with an injured right knee. … Clint Capela’s 14 rebounds gave him 14 straight games with at least 10.
Wizards: Westbrook’s four assists raised his total to 7,394 and moved him past Maurice Cheeks (7,392) for 13th on the NBA career list.
T ’EM UP!
Westbrook and Rondo were separated by an official and both assessed technical fouls with a minute left in the first half. Beal got a tech in the third quarter, upset after no foul was called when he took a hard fall at the offensive end. Soon after, he was jawing back-and-forth with Rondo, who was on the Atlanta sideline and not in the game at the time. … Lopez was out of the game in the third quarter when Beal was called for a delay of game before attempting a free throw. A medical mask pulled down below his nose and mouth, Lopez said something to an official that prompted his one-after-the-other techs.
Hawks: Open a four-game homestand Monday against the Lakers.
Wizards: Host the Nets on Sunday.