“I don’t think it’s any coincidence,” Wittman said. “We’re so stat conscious of turnovers, shots, what I shot from the field, how many points I scored, rather than the other effect you have on the game. I don’t think John sometimes takes credit for himself in that. That’s my message . . . to him.”
With Wall’s shots and passes often failing to connect with the intended target in recent weeks, he hasn’t opened himself up to many messages from his coaches or teammates. Wall has put up a wall, of sorts, that has been seemingly impenetrable.
And his problems were never more evident than during the Wizards’ 96-95 loss to the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night, when assistant coaches Don Newman and Jerry Sichting tried to offer encouraging words at halftime and his teammates tried to help him overcome a 3-for-9 shooting performance with seven turnovers — two shy of his career high.
“When he’s in a zone, he’s hard to get to sometimes,” Beal said.
Wall sat the bench for much of the fourth quarter, sulking as his backup A.J. Price helped his team come back from a 16-point second-half deficit. He couldn’t contain his frustration as teammates missed shots or fumbled the “great passes” he delivered. Asked afterward the reasons for the problems with his passing, Wall was short and surly.
“I don’t know,” Wall said. “I think you’re seeing the same thing I’m seeing, so I can’t really call it.”
The Wizards (18-38) will host the New York Knicks at Verizon Center on Friday and Wall had one of the best games of the season the last time the two teams met on Feb. 6. With Hall of Famer Magic Johnson and his college coach, John Calipari, of Kentucky in attendance, Wall had 21 points and nine assists to lead the Wizards to a 106-96 victory. He also had a fascinating block on all-star forward Carmelo Anthony and capped the play with a spinning, circus layup around Jason Kidd.
Wall has had a hard time reeling off the highlight plays of late and has been mired in a major shooting slump since returning from the all-star break.
In his past five games, Wall is averaging just 10.2 points on 29.6 percent shooting with 7.6 assists and 4.6 turnovers and the Wizards have been outscored by 11 points with him on the floor. Wall had a stinker last week against Toronto, matching his career-worst shooting night by going 1 for 12 from the field, and is still waiting for the bounce-back game. He has also had six or more turnovers in three of the past five games.