John Wall is simply playing differently this season. The Washington Wizards all-star point guard is putting up better numbers than he ever has, but his thumbprint on the team this season has been more evident than it ever has as well. From his vocals to his stats, Wall has Washington (16-16) back at .500 for the first time all season. He’s averaging career-highs in points per game (23.6), steals (2.3), shooting percentage (46 percent) and free throw percentage (81 percent) while averaging 10 assists per night as well.
Washington hasn’t been spectacular this year but their star guard has. With backcourt mate Bradley Beal going down to an ankle injury this week, Wall and the rest of the Wizards stepped up in a big way to soften the blow and keep the momentum going. The AFRO recaps the week that was for the Washington Wizards.
Dec. 26: Wizards Bag Bucks 107-102
The Wizards were sent into the Christmas weekend with a 27-point embarrassment still fresh in their heads.
Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) takes a shot against Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker (12) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Dec. 26, 2016, in Washington. The Wizards won 107-102. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
They arrived out of their holiday break on Dec. 26 with a chance to pay back the culprits when they hosted the Milwaukee Bucks at the Verizon Center in front of a spry crowd. A 10-point comeback in the fourth quarter made vengeance even sweeter and Washington knocked off the Bucks 107-102. Led by Otto Porter Jr.’s 32 points and 13 rebounds, the Wizards used a 15-2 run late in the fourth to turn the game around. Wall set a season-high with 16 assists and combined with Beal to score 40 points.
Dec. 28: Washington Outpaces at Indiana 111-105
Wall was pass-first against the Bucks but took the role of primary scorer in a 111-105 win over the Indiana Pacers on Dec. 28. With the Verizon Center crowd wowing at every basket, Wall scored 36 points and came one assist shy of a triple-double as he collected 11 rebounds, nine assists and two steals. Beal initially injured his ankle on a first quarter fast break but returned to the game before sitting out the second half. With Beal out, Wall and Porter continued to work. Porter connected on 3-of-6 from deep en route to 22 points and Marcin Gortat recorded 13 points and 16 rebounds. Washington held an early 13-point lead but saw Indiana trim the game to 100-98 with just over a minute remaining in regulation. Porter hit a three-pointer and Wall split two defenders before finishing over a third with a tough layup as Washington closed the game in style.
Dec. 30: Washington Nets Easy Victory against Brooklyn, 118-95
The Wizards didn’t need many heroics against the lowly Brooklyn Nets on Dec. 30 but they received it anyway from an unlikely source. Reserve guard Trey Burke scored a season-high 27 points and nailed all five of his attempts from downtown as Washington galloped to a 118-95 win.
Washington Wizards guard John Wall, left, dunks over Brooklyn Nets center Justin Hamilton, right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Dec. 30, 2016, in Washington. The Wizards won 118-95. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Six players scored in double figures for the Wizards, and Wall added a modest night with 19 points, 14 rebounds and four steals. Wall recorded his 19th double-double of the season and Gortat recorded his 17th by adding 19 points and 13 rebounds. The Wizards led 66-50 at the half and cruised for the rest of the night.
Next: Wall and the Wizards will return to action when they visit the Houston Rockets on Jan. 2 to start the new year.