TORONTO – John Wall’s bid for three straight games with at least 10 assists almost ended on a night during which he had 10 assists.
Wall was originally credited with just nine assists in the Wizards’ 98-91 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the NBA has since decided to correct a scorekeeping error and gave Wall what should’ve been his all along. The change in the official box score might actually take place in a few days.
With 8 minutes, 48 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Wall threw a lob pass to Jan Vesely that should’ve given him double-digit assists for the third consecutive game. The scorekeeper at Quicken Loans Arena instead attributed the assist to Bradley Beal, who never touched the ball on the entire possession. Beal now has seven assists, one shy of the career high he set on Nov. 6 in Philadelphia.
Wall matched his career-high with 16 assists in the Wizards’ 104-100 victory against Minnesota and now has had 38 assists in his past three games, the third-best three-game total of his career. His best assist run came at the end of the 2011-12 season, when had at least 10 assists in the final five games and totaled 62 over that stretch.
He ranks second in the NBA in assists behind Chris Paul at 9.8 per game and will have a chance to go for four straight games with at least 10 assists – and his third straight double-double – on Friday against Toronto at Air Canada Centre.
Raptors Coach Dwane Casey said his team has made it a point of emphasis to slow down Wall.
“It’s not humanly possible to defend him, in a one-on-one situation, coast-to-coast,” Casey said. “I timed it against Cleveland the other night, against Kyrie Irving, he went from one end of the court to the other in three seconds, or a little bit less. It’s unbelievable how fast he goes with the ball. So our focus has got to be back, not only the guy guarding, but he’s also got to have four of his teammates guarding him and building a wall, to make sure we protect the paint.”