Wizards assistant coach Mike Batiste left his seat to confront a fan sitting behind the team's bench in the closing seconds of Washington’s game against Miami on Monday night.
With 13.4 seconds remaining in the contest, Batiste hopped over his seat and moved toward the stands to approach a heckling fan, according to NBC Sports Washington. The fan had reportedly said something that was “out of line,” but it's unclear exactly what was said or who began the exchange.
Wizards centers Montrezl Harrell and Thomas Bryant rushed over and intervened before Batiste or the fan made physical contact with one another. Harrell then guided the Washington coach down the tunnel and into the locker room.
“I was kind of at the scorers' table, so I turned around after I think it kind of began,” Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said of the incident, per NBC Sports Washington. “To my understanding, a fan or several fans said something that was out of line. Obviously, we have to take the high road and just can't indulge in that. I think it was a situation where something was said that was a bit over the line and I think it got the best of one of our coaches. Either way, you have to take the high road.”
The league has not yet announced a punishment for Batiste or the fan following Monday's incident.
The altercation is just the latest in a string of unsavory interactions involving NBA fans in recent years. Former Wizards and current Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook had popcorn thrown on him by a Sixers fan during last year's playoff series, marking one of multiple instances in which a fan was ejected.
“I think I've seen it happen around the league or various leagues. We're just more aware of it, maybe,”Unseld said Monday. “But it does happen and, I think in the last probably year-and-a-half since fans have been back in arenas, at times yeah, it has gotten a bit more egregious”
“So, it's difficult because you have to kind of endure somethings you probably shouldn't endure or wouldn't endure in the general public. But that's part of it and you have to kind of have selective hearing at times and keep playing, go beyond that.”
The Wizards lost Monday’s contest to the Heat, marking their eighth loss in nine games.
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