John Wall is the under-appreciated face of the Wizards. He’s nowhere close to the top of the list in fan voting for the 2017 All-Star Game but he’s performing as well as any other guard in the Eastern Conference.
On Friday, the Wizards defeated the Timberwolves, 112-105 where Wall scored 18 points and dished 18 assists to extend Washington’s home game winning streak to nine. You can watch his highlights above from FreeDawkins’ YouTube channel.
The absolute stats are very good, especially the assist totals. But the timing of his best performance also shows that he’s becoming a more clutch player.
Wall stayed consistent in the third quarter despite Minnesota’s comeback
Wall only scored four points in the first half, but he scored six points and dished five assists in an otherwise poor third quarter when Washington got a 14 point lead but somehow ended with a five point deficit. In that period, the Timberwolves outscored the Wizards 37-24, and Andrew Wiggins scored 16 of his game high 41 points.
Though it wasn’t a good quarter, Wall still accounted for 19 of the Wizards’ points in that period (6 of his own plus 13 from his five assists). If Wall was not scoring or assisting like he was earlier, the Wizards could have lost this game.
Wall’s late fourth quarter performance sealed the win
Wall also made key plays late in the fourth quarter when he scored six points and dished two assists. Again, it wasn’t that he scored or assisted, but when.
In four straight possessions, Wall scored or assisted to keep this game out of reach for Minnesota.
First, Wall scored his points, as he made two driving layups to turn a tied game at 101 apiece to a 105-101 Wizards lead in back to back possessions. Then, he closed the game two back to back assists to Bradley Beal for a three pointer with 1:09 left and Marcin Gortat for an alley oop layup with 48 seconds left in the game. At this point, the Wizards had a 110-105 lead. You can watch those highlights from the five minute mark through the end of the video.
In fitting fashion, Wall scored his last two points at the free throw line with eight seconds left to some MVP chants in the crowd:
After seeing this performance and many others, it’s still perplexing as to why Wall is just 7th in early fan voting returns. To that end, retweet this below so John gets another #NBAVOTE.