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Wizards defend Wall following suspension wire reports

WASHINGTON -- Wizards rookie John Wallwas suspended for Friday night's game against Cleveland due to his part in a scuffle against Miami earlier this week.

Wall was playing tight defense Wednesday night against Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who appeared to elbow Wall in the face at least once while protecting the ball. Wall then swung his right hand at Ilgauskas, earning him a one-game suspension.

Washington coach Flip Saunders said he hoped Wall wouldn't be suspended, and pointed out that Ilgauskas elbowed Wall three times.

"We were hoping that he wouldn't because of the mitigating circumstances," Saunders said. Anytime when you're playing and a guy gives you three elbows, you're going to respond.

"The rule is pretty black and white. If you throw a punch, you lose a game."

Wall and the rest of the NBA will learn from this experience, Saunders said.

"Next year, they'll know that they just can't go out there and punk him. He's got to learn in that kind of situation, there's something called a push," Saunders said.

Last year's No. 1 draft pick was defended not only by his coach, but also by Wizards' owner Ted Leonsis. In his blog, Leonsis wrote: "We have his back. We are in this together. He learned a lesson here but we support him 110%."

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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