John Wall hasn't had any success playing against Chris Paul in his career. He was 0-6. But this season Wall has been surging, and he didn't stop when Paul and his Los Angeles Clippers teammates came to D.C. Wall continues to take his game to higher levels. The Wizards came out firing on all cylinders and kept it going for the full 48 minutes, halting the Clippers' nine-game win streak and making franchise history in the process, by securing their 11th win in 13 home games.
To the recaps!
2. Wall's defensive intensity brings his game to another level
Everyone knew that Wall was a freak athletically and could turn into a one-man fast break instantaneously. What people are starting to learn is that Wall is now much smarter offensively, and transforming that freakish athleticism to become the biggest defensive pest at the point guard position.
"I thought he was terrific," Rivers said of Wall. "I thought he was into CP most of the game, bodied him, blocked shots. He's a freak athletically and in the past I thought he only used on the offensive end. Now he's a two-way player and that makes him a heck of as basketball player.
"I'm kinda happy for him."
3. Ernie Grunfeld flipping the script
A couple years ago, I wasn't not sure if there was a single fan in the Wizards' fan base who was happy with the type of team Grunfeld had turned the Wizards into, with head-scratching draft picks and shockingly large contracts to knucklehead players.
Now, I'm not sure if there is a Wizards fan who can't give him credit for turning this franchise around. He drafted two budding superstars (even if they were the obvious choices) and filled the roster out with skilled, blue-collared workers on short-term contracts, with enough ability to bolster a weak bench and provide necessary depth behind an injury-prone Brazilian.
After making several bad moves, Grunfeld reeled off some good ones, bringing in hard-hat-and-lunch-pail guys to replace a group more interested in spending time in the club than the weight room. The result has been a pro hoops renaissance engineered by someone who appeared to be on his way out of the District.
4. Physicality is key in victory
The Wizards said they knew what they needed to do in order to beat the Clippers, and they proved it last night. They were physical and put every Clippers player in uncomfortable situations and didn't allow them to get into their sweet spots. From top to bottom, this team battled, fought, and scraped against L.A. In the end, they pulled out the win and not enough praise can go to Wall for his superb work on Chris Paul.