[D.C. Council: setting the scene, rating the starters, assessing the subs, providing the analysis, and catching anything that you may have missed. Unlike the real DC Council, everything here is on the table. Game No. 48, Washington Wizards vs. New York Knicks; contributors: Rashad Mobley and John Converse Townsend from the Verizon Center, with Conor Dirks from the ATL.]
John Wall puffed his chest at Amar’e Stoudemire after the aging Knicks vet threw an extracurricular chicken wing his way. The boys scratched their antlers, marked their territory, did some flexing, and carried on. Later on, Amar’e, Carmelo, and throngs of Knicks fans would go quietly into the night. This is your reaction to a 106-96 Wizards win over the Knicks…
There were Twitter jokes aplenty about amped-up Verizon Center rim microphones picking up the clang of John Wall’s jumper—classic Wizznutzz. Wall missed two mid-rangers on the same possession, and later bricked a robotic-looking 3 with plenty of time and space. But he also made a key jumper from the elbow area late in the game after both he and the Knicks had time to learn sign language and then Amar’e Stoudemire had time to sign, ‘Hey, John Wall, go ahead and take that jumper, punk!’
The Wizards continue to lose on the road (and at home), in spite of John Wall.
Wall had a productive 34 minutes against the New York Knicks last night. He had 18 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and two steals. He also had four turnovers — two of which should be excused. Early on, Wall put two three-quarter-court passes right on the money. Both times, his teammates (Andray Blatche and Al Thornton) let the ball slip through their fingers. Instead of turning Wall’s great vision and pinpoint execution into four easy points, Wall receives credit — perhaps blame would be more appropriate, at least from the viewpoint of the pitiless box score — for a couple of turnovers.
But don’t roll your eyes. Effusive praise will not be heaped on the rookie point guard today, as much as he might deserve it. Nor will I take on the role of a John Wall apologist, aiming to vindicate him from his errors.
The Washington Wizards were down five points to the New York Knicks Friday night with 52 seconds remaining when John Wall stole the ball from Amar’e Stoudemire. Wall quickly raced down the court in his customary Mach-1 speed and raised up for the finish. The play unfolds in the following pictures:
Prominent film maker and New York Knicks superfan Spike Lee was the court-side guest of Wizards Owner Ted Leonsis at the Wizards game last Friday night, a 101-95 Knicks victory. The duo struck up a friendship while Leonsis made his first film for his movie production company Snags Films, and Lee will return the favor by hosting Leonsis for a Wizards-Knicks game at MSG in New York. Lee’s presence highlighted the boisterous number of Knicks fans littered throughout the Phone Booth. Shouts of “M-V-P!” showered upon Amar’e Stoudemire and the Knicks’ recent stellar play obviously motivated the fans of the away team to be louder than usual.
The crowd was still 70-30 or 60-40 Wizards fans, but the heavy noise of Knicks cheers made it seem like the home team was outnumbered. Washington’s own sideline heckler and basketball personality, Miles Rawls, shouted across the court at Leonsis to move Lee down to a different spot. Unlike some of those scattered online voices who were critical of Lee’s seat, I am perfectly OK with it because the owner can host anyone he wants to. Lee’s appearance is positive exposure and maybe a rivalry in the future. I am more worried about Al Thronton’s continued disappearing act and trying to comprehend how Kevin Seraphin can go from starting to inactive in back-to-back contests.
The subtle occurrence, about to be slightly magnified by this blog’s humble reach, doesn’t mean much … unless you’re a fan of basketball nuance. And I’m assuming that you’re already a fan of John Wall, who recently made a small display that he would not be intimidated by Amar’e Stoudemire, ironically nicknamed “STAT” (standing tall and talented), even though he’s below average in a main big man stat category, rebounding.
It’s late in the first quarter in the Wizards’ October 17 preseason game against the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden. Raymond Felton, foolishly, according to the television analysis of Walt “Clyde” Frazier on the MSG Network, thinks he can play big boy veteran and pressure Wall far away from the basket.
Foolish indeed. Wall can’t shoot and Raymond Felton is Raymond Felton. His 6’1″, 205 lbs. physique, while stout, simply cannot keep up with the size and speed of Wall.
Felton goes to pressure Wall out near the Knicks mid-court logo, perhaps partially to avoid a sensed screen from Yi Jianlian. Wall counters by going away from the screen and attacking Felton by trying to get by him. The ref blows the whistle, much to the chagrin of Felton — rookies ain’t supposed to get calls. Sorry buddy, this is John Wall. Felton goes to take issue with the ref nonetheless.
Sebastian Pruiti, founder and editor of NBAPlaybook.com and NetsAreScorching.com, has had the opportunity to watch Yi Jianlian for the past two seasons and in a conversation with Truth About It, said:
Yi is an incredibly inconsistent player. There are days where he looks like he finally solved the puzzle and will turn into a pretty solid offensive player and then the next game he will go 2-15 from the field. Something he has always been ripped for was [his] lack of aggression, and last year he tried really hard to dispel those thoughts…maybe too hard. Most times he made the catch he wouldn’t even look for the shot and he’d put the ball on the floor, but teams started to pick up on it. If he can find a happy medium he might do pretty well offensively.
On the defensive end though, he is absolutely lost. That is part of the reason I think the Nets traded him besides the cap relief. I don’t think he would have got much minutes this upcoming year, just because Avery wouldn’t allow his terrible defense to hurt the Nets.
That isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of the 22 (or is it 24?) year old stretch four. To sort out any misconceptions and better determine Yi’s worth, it’s time for another installment of CHECK MY STATS, unofficially sponsored by Synergy Sports Technology. Read more »
The Washington Post’s Michael Lee first tweeted almost a week ago, “Interesting angle w/Crittenton suspension. He could become a viable/valuable trade chip by Feb. 18 since a team won’t have to pay him.”
I was on a break outside the other day, catching some fresh Penn Quarter air, taking a stroll around Freedom Plaza, when this little kid came up to me, and said, “Hey Mister … don’t you know that the Wizards need another big man? Haywood, Jamison, Blatche, McGee, and McGuire aren’t going to cut it.”
“Easy lil’ fella,” I told him. “We’ll keep looking around to see if we can add someone else, but we feel comfortable about what we have currently and the depth of our ballclub.”
The kid then kicked me in the shin and ran away.
I suddenly woke up from my slumber and realized those weren’t my words, those were Ernie Grunfeld’s words. I had a mission …