Johnson: Wall leads the way

Johnson: Wall leads the way
March 20, 2011, 7:42 pm
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Sunday, March 20, 2011, 3:42 p.m.WIZARDS PAGE WIZARDS VIDEO
By Dave Johnson
CSNWashington.comWashington---In between road trips the Wizards made a quick visit to Verizon Center. In the first half it looked like they had already checked out before a commitment to defense sparked a second-half comeback in a 98-92 win over the New Jersey Nets.I told our guys at halftime that it was just a matter of playing hard, said Wizards head coach Flip Saunders. I thought that we were outstanding defensively. (Maurice) Evans has given us some great minutes these last few games and has done a nice job defensively for us. After allowing the Nets to score 35 points in the first quarter, the Wizards clamped down and held them to 36 points for the entire second half. The defense sparked the Wizards offense as they opened the second half by outscoring the Nets 28-12 in the third quarter.John Wall led the Wizards with a game-high 26 points and 8 assists. With Nick Young still sidelined with a sore left knee, Jordan Crawford continued to provide scoring punch at the two-guard with 21 points. Andray Blatche, Josh Howard, and Rashard Lewis all remained sidelined with injuries.Wall also set the tone for the Wizards on defense with 4 steals. With 1:06 left in the game Wall wrestled the ball away from the Nets Damion James. Then on the offensive end Wall nailed a step-back 19-footer to give the Wizards needed breathing room and a 94-90 lead. Walls basket triggered a Nets timeout and Wall to pound his chest in triumph.One thing about John is that weve lost some games where hes tried to make plays and he hasnt made them, but hes not afraid to, Saunders noted. I think if you want to be a great player in this league, you cant be afraid to take the ball in your hands and try to make a play. You have to know that failure a lot of time comes as much as success.The new look Nets were missing Deron Williams because of a wrist injury, but former Laker Jordan Farmar stepped in and dished out a career high 17 assists. Brook Lopez led the Nets in scoring with 21 points and Anthony Morrow made 7 of his first 8 shot to finish with 19 points.Kris Humphries was a challenge all afternoon for the Wizards and helped the Nets to a 47-32 advantage in rebounding. Humphries had a double-double with 18 points and 17 rebounds.With the Wizards shorthanded, Maurice Evans points were critical off the bench. Evans scored 7 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter and was a cornerstone in the Wizards more aggressive defensive approach in the second half.We kept our composure and were able to take the lead because we werent trying to get it all back in one play, said Crawford. John (Wall) made some great shots at the end and we were able to open up well today. The guys on the side were really encouraging us today and that definitely helped us with the win. Hopefully we can keep this up, especially how well we did with our screens.