Healthy Wall starting to play like a superstar

Healthy Wall starting to play like a superstar
March 14, 2013, 7:00 am
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Wizards take down Bucks at home

The John Wall effect on the Wizards has been evident in the play of others, such as Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza.

Now, Wall’s play is starting to positively impact his own statistics, too.

Wall was spectacular in Wednesday’s 106-93 win vs. the Milwaukee Bucks, with 23 points on 10-for-19 shooting, 10 assists, six rebounds and four steals.

“I thought this was one of his better games of sustaining the pace of game.  First half was as good a pace that we've had,” coach Randy Wittman said of the 60-44 lead the Wizards held entering the third quarter. “We've got to continue -- not only John -- as a team to learn how to play that way. We’re not made up right now to be a walk-it-up, slug-it-out, grind-it-out team. And we need to take advantage of John and what he can do.”

In seven games this month, Wall is shooting 49-for-104 from the field, or 47.1%. He has been hovering around 40% most of the season.

“I’m just being more aggressive from the start of the game. Not being passive. I think when I was extra passive, I had a lot of turnovers,” said Wall, who had just two Wednesday. “I’m just being more aggressive and taking better shots than what I was taking. Just giving credit to me working harder with (assistant coach) Sam (Cassell) on my jump shot.”

Wall also made his second three-pointer in the last three games vs. Milwaukee. It came on a crossover dribble when he shook Brandon Jennings to create the space and step back for the swish.

“That’s not the strength of my game,” said Wall, who is 3-for-20 from three-point range for the season. “The strength of my game is mid-range, getting to the basket. … That’s nothing I really focus on. Just if I’m open, just let it fly.”

The Wizards blew a 20-point lead and trailed by 78-75 heading into the fourth quarter. But Wall closed strong with eight points on 4-for-6 shooting and two assists. He had season-highs of 27 points and 14 assists in a 95-90 loss at the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier in the week.

“He’s doing what he’s capable of,” said forward Trevor Ariza of Wall. “He’s doing his thing.”

Wall’s season debut was delayed until Jan. 12 because of a knee injury. It has taken him a while to get back to full speed. He’s almost there. 

Because of Wall, the Wizards (21-42) were able to prevail against a playoff-caliber team without Beal, who missed his fifth game in a row because of a left ankle sprain and minus backup point guard A.J. Price (groin). 

“What happens sitting out 33 games is you lose it,” Wall said of his conditioning. “I’m still trying to get back into game shape.”

With 19 games left in the Washington's regular season, he promises his best play has yet to come.