Johnson: Wall Impresses But Wizards Lose Close One

Johnson: Wall Impresses But Wizards Lose Close One
October 18, 2010, 12:56 am
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Sunday October 17, 2010, 9:35 p.m.

By Dave Johnson
New York----It takes a lot to impress fans at Madison Square Garden but John Wall did just that. While Wall's Wizards lost a nail-biter to the Knicks 92-90, the rookie point guard still created a buzz with his speed and skill.After former Wizard Roger Mason Jr. scored with two seconds left in the first quarter, Wall went the length of the court and answered back with a lay-up that counted because of a goaltending call on Anthony Randolph. The Knicks were slow to react and seemed to be in disbelief that Wall could go 94 feet in only two seconds.Wall was then part of an 11-0 run to close the first half when he scored in lightning-fast transition after a JaVale McGee block. It was if Wall had entered the famed Milrose Games, a track and field event held annually at Madison Square Garden.The Wizards enjoyed a 55-44 lead at halftime and seemed poised to separate themselves from the Knicks. Wall led the Wizards in scoring with 19 points, including 11 points and six assists in the first half.The Knicks were led in scoring by Toney Douglas, who made two free throws with 1.1 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to secure the win. Lester Hudson was forced to foulDouglas to prevent an easy layup.Douglas did good job to get on open on the left side of the lane to receive a well-timed bounce pass from Ronny Turiaf, who was at the right elbow.While the Knicks play worked to perfection, the Wizards did not have the same success. Hudson had scored a game-winner in the preseason opener against the Mavericks and was a good option. Hudson was not able to get free off a screen and Yi Jianlian's contested three-point attempt from the top of the arc at the buzzer was no good.It was a typical preseason game with the good mixed with the bad as the evaluation of players and lineups continued. Cartier Martin, one of the non-contract players trying to make the team, started at small forward and finished with four points and three rebounds.With Gilbert Arenas sidelined with a strained right groin, Kirk Hinrich started in the backcourt with Wall. Hinrich was the team's leading rebounder with nine and also had eight points and four assists. Arenas was with the team and participated in warm-ups with a new look--a clean shaven face.JaVale McGee had his best game of the preseason with 10 points, six rebounds and six block shots. McGee was active in pursuing rebounds and was effective in running the floor. Early in the third quarter after one of his blocks, McGee sprinted up floor to finish a Hinrich assist with a slam dunk.For all the energy and aggressiveness of McGee and company, the Wizards could not shake the Knicks because of turnovers. The Wizards committed eight of their 22 turnovers in the third quarter to allow the Knicks a window of opportunity Back from an ankle injury, Al Thornton was particularly aggressive with 12 points and seven rebounds. Hilton Armstrong made a similar case for minutes and had six points and four rebounds in 16 minutes.