The Washington Wizards and John Wall kept up their impressive play despite capping a four-game West Coast road trip with a sour defeat at the hands of the Golden State Warriors.

But there were plenty of sweet moments in the middle of the 2-2 trip. Wall posted averages of nearly 23 points and 10 assists over Washington’s last five games and is playing some of the best basketball of his career, hitting jump shots and running the offense fluidly.

Wall’s improvement came despite the on-again, off-again presence of rookie guard Bradley Beal, who’s been battling an ankle injury. However, the team’s consistency is improving as the season winds down. The AFRO recaps the week that was for the Washington Wizards.

Mar. 18—Charlotte 119, Washington 114: A lack of defense was the theme of the game as both teams allowed their opponent to shoot over 50 percent from the field and over 40 percent from 3-point range. Washington led by five points late in the game, but a series of silly turnovers and poor shots ended the Wizards’ chances. Seven players scored in double figures for Charlotte, led by shooting guard Gerald Henderson’s 27 points. Wall scored 25 points, but fouled out in the waning seconds as Charlotte secured the lead.

Mar. 20—Washington 88, Phoenix 79: The Wizards followed up an impressive win over the Suns a week earlier with a satisfying road victory in Phoenix, a place in which Washington hasn’t won since 2006. Five players scored in double figures for Washington, who swept the season series against Phoenix for the first time since the 2001-2002 campaign. Wall led the team with 19 points and eight assists, and a 23-2 first half run that helped Washington build a sizable lead that they would never relinquish. It was a bittersweet victory for Washington who lost rookie guard Bradley Beal once again after he aggravated his previous ankle injury in a collision late in the game.

Mar. 22—Washington 103, Los Angeles Lakers, 100: Los Angeles went into a Friday night clash against Washington with everything in their favor. Both Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol returned to a team that had been playing excellent basketball over the last few weeks. Meanwhile, the Wizards limped into the Staples Center without Beal, their starting shooting guard, or starting center Emeka Okafor. The Lakers built a large lead early, but Washington completed a furious rally, overcoming an 18-point deficit to stun the Lakers. Wall made four pivotal free throws in the last seconds to help the Wizards hold on to an impressive victory. Wall led the attack with 24 points, 16 assists and six rebounds to go along with three steals. Trevor Ariza nailed a career-high seven 3-pointers as he finished with 25 points, leading the six Wizards players who scored in double figures. 

Mar. 23—Golden State 101, Washington 92: Just as they did against Los Angeles, Washington found themselves facing a large deficit early in the game and mounted a rally—but unlike the previous night, it wasn’t enough. Wall was ejected in the third quarter after picking up his second technical foul, leaving reserve forward Cartier Martin (23 points, six 3-pointers) to lead a charge that cut Golden State’s lead to single digits in the fourth quarter. But without Beal, Wall and Ariza (who missed the game with the flu) to answer Stephen Curry’s 35 points, Washington couldn’t find enough offense. Six players scored in double figures for Golden State and spoiled the return of Washington’s Emeka Okafor, who missed the previous two games with the flu.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO