Down to nearly 65 percent of the roster, the Washington Wizards still had to go out and compete against some of the best teams in the West this past week. And while they were able to protect home court with a limited rotation, their shortage really showed up once they hit the road. Despite the shortage of bodies, John Wall continues to evolve as a scorer as Washington begins to eye 2014. The AFRO recaps the week that was and was not for the Washington Wizards.
March 25- Wizards 107, Memphis Grizzlies 94— In a performance for the history books, Wall directed an eight-man rotation over the 47-23 Grizzlies with 47 points, seven rebounds and eight assists in a crowd-pleasure at the Verizon Center. A season- and career-high in points, the third-year guard was nearly unstoppable from start to finish as he scored 26 points in the first half before swishing a three- pointer with seconds left in the game to stamp his virtuoso performance. Leading by two points after the third quarter, Wall and the Wizards outscored Memphis 31-20 in the final period with Wall scoring 17 points in the quarter despite being guarded by talented defender Tony Allen.
March 27- Wizards 80, Oklahoma City Thunder 103— After losing their last two games against the Wizards, the Thunder didn’t care if Washington was playing with eight players or 80 as they outscored Washington 50-35 in the second half at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Wall led Washington with 18 points and 12 assists but shot just 3-of-18 from the field. Forward Kevin Durant and guard Russell Westbrook combined for 41 points with swingman Kevin Martin adding 18 points off the bench. Washington played just eight players while 13 players all saw minutes for Oklahoma City.
March 29- Wizards 92, Orlando Magic 97— Despite the return of three players, rust and a lack of offense ultimately did the Wizards in against the lowly Magic in sunny Florida. Orlando received 30 points and 11 rebounds from second-year forward Tobias Harris as the Magic ended an eight-game losing streak. Wall poured in 35 points and nine rebounds but collected just two assists, a rare off-night for the usual pass-first point guard. Swingman Martell Webster returned from an abdomen strain to add 19 points and six rebounds but it wasn’t enough as Orlando used a second-quarter surge to lead 58-46 at halftime. The Wizards would outscore Orlando over the last two quarters but couldn’t recover from their double-digit halftime deficit.