When John Wall wasn’t whirling, swooping and leaving defenders in the dust, Kevin Durant was crossing up opponents with a dribble juke, stepping back and dropping pull-up jumpers.
The Goodman League was slightly shorthanded for its rematch against the Drew League on Sunday — with DeMarcus Cousins backing out and Michael Beasley physically in attendance, though hardly engaged — but it was able to overindulge on the dynamic combination of Wall’s blinding speed and freakish athleticism and Durant’s measured smoothness.
Wall, the Wizards’ best player, and Durant, the District’s best local pro product, combined to score 105 points but it wasn’t enough to keep Goodman League from avoiding a 151-144 loss at Long Beach State.
Durant’s Oklahoma City Thunder teammate James Harden scored 48 points to help the Drew League get revenge for its one-point loss to the Goodman League at Trinity University in August, getting some help from Brandon Jennings, Matt Barnes and Wizards free agent guard Nick Young, whose Afro has grown larger and gotten more unruly since the season ended.
But the standouts were clearly Wall and Durant, who both scored at least 50 points after playing the night before in Miami. Wall never showed the affects of jetlag from the 2,500 mile, cross-country flight and Durant didn’t have many problems with fatigue after opening the game with an airball.
Wall scored a game-high 55 points – his best scoring output of the lockout-extended offseason – and he was a walking highlight reel. If he really practices his moves while airdribbling on the street, then lookout if you see him coming your way. Because the moves he pulled off against the Drew League were simply ridiculous. He threw himself toward the rim, got hit by Jennings and turned his back to the rim before flinging the ball over his head and off the glass. He knocked down DeMar DeRozan to get a steal then threw down a lefty dunk. He spun around Dorell Wright to make a breathtaking 360-degree layup. And he caught an alley-oop pass from Gary Forbes, dunked, swung on the rim and did the Dougie when he landed.
Hard to say what Wall will do when the Dougie is totally played out, but it seemed like an appropriate celebration after getting up that high.
“He’s been doing that all summer and his rookie year,” Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan told ESPN.com about Wall. “He’s just a terrific player. He’s going to be something to reckon with in a couple years.”
Durant scored 50 points, hitting an assortment of jumpers and adding an impressive drive around Trevor Ariza before splitting Barnes and Young for a dunk that only he could throw down with those extra-long arms.
Wall and Durant have been on the same team for four charity exhibition games the past two months and were never more lethal than on Sunday. They combined for 72 points to lead Goodman League to a 135-134 win over the Drew League on Aug. 20, had 67 in the “Clash of the Superstars” at Coolidge High on Sept. 17 (when Durant played just three quarters), and added another 82 when paired up for Chris Paul’s charity exhibition last week in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Durant already plays with an incredibly athletic and talented point guard in Oklahoma City in all-star Russell Westbrook. Wall still has a way to go before he reaches the conversation of elite point guards, and the Wizards have yet to pair him with a stud running mate. But Durant said recently that Wall is headed in the right direction.
“Unbelievable,” Durant said of Wall. “That guys is going to be an all-star in this league for years to come. It’s a joy to be on the court with him. As fierce a competitor as they come.”
Durant shot down the possibility of returning home to play for the Wizards two summers ago, then showed his commitment to Oklahoma City by signing a five-year extension with the Thunder a few weeks later. But for any fans who ever dreamed of a Durant-Wall pairing in Washington, this offseason has provided a glimpse into how truly incredible that duo could’ve been.