So much for an easy night for John Wall and the Wizards. In what was supposed to be a chance for ailing players like Wall and Pierce to rest, Washington needed every minute John Wall could give them to beat a shorthanded Lakers squad, 98-92. The Wizards fell behind early as Wayne Ellington and Jordan Clarkson channeled Klay Thompson and Steph Curry, hitting everything from in sight as the Lakers led by as much 19 points in the 2nd quarter. It was Wall, suffering from two injured ankles and migraines, who rescued the Wizards, who played a brilliant game and would up finishing with 21 points, 13 assists, 9 rebounds and three steals in 36 minutes. A stat great line - no doubt - but way more effort than one would want to see Wall expend when hurting, especially on the first night of a back to back and playing a team missing so many key players.
2. Humphries steals Wall's triple double?
Wizards players have joked several times this season about Kris Humphries stealing rebounds from them, most notably after he had 20 rebounds in a December win over the Lakers. It happened again last night as John Wall fell one rebound shy of a triple double.
Wall: "I was mad at Hump. Hump came in and stole all my rebounds."— Jorge Castillo (@jorgeccastillo) January 28, 2015
Humphries had his second consecutive game in double digits for rebounds. It would have been nice to see Wall's effort rewarded with a triple double, but at least he didn't hunt for it too hard.
3. Otto gets the start
A fair amount of concern has been expressed about Porter's minutes since his playing time has dwindled since the return of Martell Webster. With Paul Pierce sitting out the night, Randy Wittman gave the Otto his 3rd career start against the Lakers. Porter made his mark right away, taking a John Wall pass and hitting a corner trey in the first minute of the game. Otto took 4 shots in the early going, clearly trying to demonstrate to Wittman that he will show some of the aggressiveness that has been missing at times. Overall, Porter finished the night with 11 points of 5-9 shooting to go with 4 rebounds.
4. Onward to Phoenix
There will be no rest for the Wizards, who head to Phoenix tonight to face the Suns. Much like Oklahoma City last week, the Suns are fighting for that last playoff seed in the West and need every win they can get. In the midst of an 8 game home stand, the Suns have dropped their last two games.The game will be nationally televised on ESPN, which should give the Wizards some extra motivation to close this road trip out strongly. Wall will face his former backcourt mate Eric Bledsoe in what is always an intriguing matchup, and Marcin Gortat will go against his former team. A win for Washington would make them 3-1 on this road trip, and improve the team to 12-7 against the Western Conference.
Enjoy your Hump day, folks!