If You Think John Wall Arrived Friday Night, You Haven't Been Watching | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

If You Think John Wall Arrived Friday Night, You Haven’t Been Watching

Updated: April 29, 2017

The media has dubbed the 2017 Playoffs as Wall’s coming out party. For those who have watched him play for years — particularly this season — this notion is a bit perplexing.

Sure, Wall has improved his overall game this season. Sure, he is putting up highlight play after highlight play in late April. But he’s not some feel-good Most Improved Player candidate. He didn’t make some type of gigantic leap these past two weeks. Wall is a four-time All-Star and perennially among the NBA leaders in assists and steals. This season he ranked second in both categories.

The race to announce Wall’s “arrival” says more about the national media’s (and casual fan’s) failure to recognize his brilliance over the last few years than it does about any sudden change in Wall’s game.

Wall may just now be arriving in the collective conscience of those who only four short months ago were debating Wall vs. Kemba Walker for a final All-Star spot, but the simple truth is that Wall was here all along. He was just waiting for someone to notice.

And after his performance in Game 6 against the Atlanta Hawks, anyone who was sleeping on John Wall is undoubtedly woke. Wall’s 19-point explosion in the fourth quarter will get all the press, but his 20-point first half was almost as impressive.

Washington started the game like a team that did not want not to come home for Game 7. For the first time all series, the Wizards jumped out of the gate and maintained their focus and energy for an entire half. The result was a 65-46 lead. Wall’s aggressive scoring was a message to the Hawks that he was done playing around.

If the first half was a message, Wall’s fourth quarter was the exclamation point. Wall entered the game with 8:37 remaining while Wizards in the midst of a colossal collapse. Washington’s 22-point third quarter lead was down to three points, 93-90, and Dennis Schroder was racing down court for an uncontested lay-up to cut the lead even further.

You all saw what happened next:

John Wall was Gilbert Arenas to Dennis Schroder’s Kirk Hinrich.

Not only did Wall pin the block, but he raced down-court for an incredible finish after bouncing off of Millsap’s chest. Then he hit a 20-foot jumper on the next possession. The Hawks called timeout and the crisis was averted. But Wall wasn’t finished atfer this one-minute whirlwind. He was just getting started.

Wall scored the team’s final 13 points with an array of demoralizing drives, step-back jumpers and free throws. He outscored Atlanta by himself (19-17) in the fourth and scored or assisted on 24 of the Wizards 26 points in the period. When the outcome was decided, he paid his respects to Julio Jones, waved goodbye to the crowd, left a message for Schroder and got on the plane to Boston for Game 1 on Sunday.

42 points. 16-for-25 field goals. Eight assists. Four steals. Two Blocks.

Just a typical Friday night for the best point guard in the Eastern Conference – even if not everyone realizes it yet.

Adam Rubin on EmailAdam Rubin on Twitter
Adam Rubin
Reporter / Writer at TAI
Adam grew up in the D.C. area and has been a Washington Bullets fan for over 25 years. He will not refer to the franchise as anything other than the Bullets unless required to do so by Truth About It editorial standards. Adam spent many nights at the Capital Centre in the ‘90s where he witnessed such things as Michael Jordan’s “LaBradford Smith game,” the inexcusable under-usage of Gheorghe Muresan’s unstoppable post moves, and the basketball stylings of Ledell Eackles.