Wall only had two games in which he shot 45 percent or better in the month of February, but the team went 7-5. Despite a poor shooting night on Monday in Toronto, he still made a critical layup in the final minute of a 90-84 win. And he made two clutch jumpers late in a 119-113 win against Denver, as the Nuggets practically dared him to shoot.
With Wall in uniform, the Wizards are 13-10, including 9-3 at home, shooting 46.4 percent from the field and 40.3 percent from beyond the three-point line, and are outscoring opponents by an average of 96-93.
“It’s human nature. We all want to play our best, and when you don’t, you have a sense of self whatever, self critical, down, whatever it may be,” Wittman said. “That’s the thing you’ve got to watch and try to protect from. That’s why I want him to understand, he can go 3 for 12 and still have a hell of an impact and we win the game. It’s not based on making a jump shot. He can do so many other things, and keep fighting through the other part of it.”
Wall nearly overcame his poor outing against the Pistons, assisting on the Wizards’ final three field goals after entering the game with 3 minutes 38 seconds left in the fourth period. But the rally came up short when Ariza missed a rushed shot as time expired. Pistons point guard Jose Calderon, who had 18 assists and just two turnovers in leading his team to the win, chased down the despondent Wall to remind him that he was a talented player and needed to fight through it.
“There’s a lot of pride in this game, especially with the pressures of a point guard and a high-level point guard like John,” Webster said. “Being young and having that pressure, it can get to you sometimes. You’re going to go through some bad stretches. It’s how you manage those bad stretches and realizing that it’s not about yourself, it’s about the team, you can usually get over the hump. He’s just got to keep chipping away. We all do.”
The rookie Beal has surpassed Wall as the team’s leading scorer during the slide, going ahead 13.9 points to 13.7, but he wasn’t concerned about his backcourt mate’s ability to bounce back.
“John’s fine,” Beal said. “He has his highs and lows, but that’s just his passion and his competitiveness. I mean, I love that kid. He’s a great point guard. I don’t care what anybody says. He’s going to be fine regardless. He’s just got to keep holding his head up high and keep moving forward.”