Before the start of Sunday’s game against Boston, Wizards Coach Flip Saunders told John Wall to have fun again. The point guard did just that, and as a result, Wall turned in his best game statistically.
The No. 1 overall pick in 2010 had a team-high 19 points and eight assists, and he added seven rebounds, a steal and a block in nearly 39 1 / 2 minutes. That production, however, paled in comparision to Rajon Rondo, Wall’s counterpart who directed the Celtics to a 94-86 win at Verizon Center.
Rondo’s triple-double comprised 18 points, a game-high 14 assists and a team-high 11 rebounds. He shot 7 for 10 and committed three turnovers to help the Celtics improved to 2-3.
“He knows here his teammates are at,” Wall said of Rondo, who also played college basketball at Kentucky. “When he penetrates, they know what spots to get to, and if you over-help, he does a great job of finding them, so it’s great playing against him. There’s a lot of stuff you can learn.”
Wall is continuing to try to find the ideal pace of play both for him and for getting his teammates involved. In some instances, Wall has played too quickly, and in other instances, he has made decisions a moment too late.
Over the first three games, Wall’s struggles included averages of 4.7 turnovers and 27 percent shooting. Against Boston, he had one turnover, shot 6 for 13 and kept the Wizards within striking distance in the fourth quarter despite a 51-34 halftime deficit.
Wall had five assists and no turnovers in the second half, when Washington got within 80-73 with 7 minutes 49 seconds to play and Rondo on the bench. When he came into the game at that time, the Celtics scored six in a row to push the lead to 86-73 with 6:44 to play.
Wall made a 15-foot jumper to draw the Wizards to 88-77 with 4:28 to play, but the Wizards were unable to get it under double figures until Nick Young’s jumper produced the final points of the game.
“He’s so young,” Rondo said of Wall. “You see his numbers tonight. He’s been playing extremely well. One thing I have I think John didn’t or doesn’t have right now is veterans. I have veterans guys to back me and play with, so they’ve helped me mature as a player each year. Not a knock to his players he’s playing with. It’s just having veteran guys is big for a young guy.”
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