Highlights: Wizards 112, Nets 108 (OT)
WAKING UP with the Wizards on Saturday, after they came from behind repeatedly to beat the Brooklyn Nets 112-108 in overtime for their first victory of the season at Verizon Center. ...
Fresh off a gusty performance despite recurring back spasms that nagged him even before tip off, John Wall is proving that he's at least worthy of being put in the All-Star conversation.
Too soon? Of course it is, but the early returns look good for Wall who is in his fourth season and signed a five-year, $80 million extension in the summer that will kick in next season.
Wall took three-time All Star Deron Williams to school in their head-to-head matchup. Wall shot just 4-for-14, but he had 17 points, 14 assists, six rebounds and four steals. Williams had 14 points on 5-for-14 shooting and just three rebounds and three assists to go with six turnovers.
Wall's defense was responsible for most of that.
"John's floor game was really good," said coach Randy Wittman. "Sometimes John will have a lapse from a defensive standpoint. He's too quick, strong, big to not utilize that all the time. It's something that we've been on him about. You know what? He's responded to it."
The Wizards trailed 96-91 with 2:13 left after Nene made a free throw. Wall harassed Jason Terry up the court, got the steal and shoveled an under-handed pass to him in traffic in transition for a layup and a foul. That sequence was key to tying the score in regulation.
Wall entered the building in a bad state Friday. The back spasms that limited him in an earlier loss to the Philadelphia 76ers returned. Wall has had massages, tried dry needling, acupuncture and even yoga in hopes of solving the problem. He uses a heating bad during games.
Wall still is averaging 19.6 points and 9.8 assists per game, both of which would be career-highs. Name a point guard in his conference that has played better?
"Some nights I score big. Sometimes I don't," said Wall. "But I still get my teammates involved. Just play defense. I try to make it tough for the opposing point guard."
Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder are next. They play host to the Wizards on Sunday (CSN, 7 p.m. ET).