By Lewis Gould
It was an NBA game between the Wiz and the Rockets in an arena in Houston.
But it might as well have been on a playground.
The Rockets John Wall and the Wiz Russell Westbrook, who were traded for one another a couple of months ago, stood near the free throw line midway through the fourth quarter and barked at each other.
Wall had just accounted for all of the Houston Rockets’ points during a critical 9-2 run — getting two buckets, sinking two free throws and dishing for a 3 in the key spurt, giving Houston a double-digit lead in what turned into a 107-88 win. The heated exchange of words that prompted double technical fouls to be called — “just basic basketball trash talk,” Wall said — happened after Wall stumbled on a Westbrook drive that resulted in a foul with 5:16 remaining.
“That’s what two competitive guys do,” said Wall, who had nine of his 24 points in the fourth quarter of the Rockets’ third consecutive victory. “Russ been kicking my ass for years. This is only my third win against Russ, I think, since I’ve been in the league. So that means that he’s a hell of a talent.
“I know he’s going through injuries, same as I was, and we’re just trying to keep getting better, trying to lead our teams. But [it was] just two competitive guys trash-talking. This ain’t the first time we trash-talked before, and we know how good that he can be.”