The Washington Wizards opened up the second week of November with a 98-91 victory over the Houston Rockets on Nov. 9 but the win was overshadowed by rookie point guard John Wall’s performance. Wall finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds, 13 assists, earning him his first triple-double of the season. The 20-year-old also became the third-youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double and added six steals to go along with his memorable night. Maybe his most impressive stat however, was the one turnover he committed after totaling 23 giveaways in his previous three games.

“I wasn’t forcing too much tonight,” Wall told reporters after the game. “Finding my teammates, making the right reads. Sometimes I get too excited trying to make a spectacular play instead of the simple play. Tonight I think I did the right thing with the simple plays.”

The Wizards failed Nov. 12 to make the simple plays down the stretch against the Charlotte Bobcats, falling 93-85 at home. Washington shot 23 percent from three-point range and was outrebounded 48-30 by Charlotte. Wall added 13 points and 11 rebounds and Andray Blatche led the Wizards with 22 points and nine rebounds. It was a tough night for Gilbert Arenas, who shot 2-of-14 and even heard a smattering of boos from the locals. But the former star would rebound in a big way in his next game.

The Nov. 13 matchup with the Chicago Bulls staged a battle of the last two point guards taken No. 1 overall between Wall and 2008’s top pick Derrick Rose. Chicago’s point guard got the better of the matchup, finishing with 24 points and eight assists while leading the Bulls to a 103-96 victory. Wall left in the third quarter with a sprained foot but returned in the final period to post 16 points and six assists. The side story of the night however, was Arenas’ explosion. Arenas came off the bench to connect on seven three-pointers, finishing with 30 points and leading the way for a 38-point fourth quarter rally that fell a few minutes short. The Wizards also lost Yi Jianlian in the game to a bruised knee.

Washington finished 1-2 on the week to drop their overall record to 2-6. The Wizards will return home on Tuesday to face the Toronto Raptors.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO