Watch out for John Wall the shooter. He's got one eye open.
The only foreseeable reason University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari would be sitting courtside at a Wizards game would be to support his former player, John Wall.
Wall was honored as NCAA player of the year as a freshman; Calipari was coach of the year that same 2009-2010 season, and the two have maintained a strong relationship since.
The only foreseeable reason Magic Johnson, the greatest point guard to ever lace up a pair of sneakers (converse weapons in Magic's case) would be sitting courtside? I have absolutely no idea.
"That's one of the greatest point guards to ever play the game, if not the best. I remember he came to one of my college games so it was great to see him come out to one of my NBA games," said the humbled John Wall, right after putting on his socks and boasting, "I know y'all like my sock game." Cocky one moment, but humbled when speaking on the orchestrator of the "Lake show" coming to watch him play.
Aside from future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd being held scoreless, it was a night where the point guard position ruled supreme. With a rowdy 18,263 fans in attendance Knicks PG Raymond Felton looked like he was playing in a Goodman summer league game. Shaking defenders with his crossover, even making John Wall fall and putting up shots that had no chance of going in.
As elusive as Felton looked, putting up 17 points on the night, he couldn't stay in front of John Wall. No one on the Knicks roster could. From end-to-end the 21-year-old Wall may be the fastest player in the entire league. He displayed that very skillset in front of the many patrons who got on the red line of the metro to see a good game. With seven seconds left in the first quarter, Coach Wittman sent Wall into the game as a substitute, solely for his end-to-end speed. In front of Magic, he seamlessly broke the full court press and put up a floater through the net as the buzzer sounded.
Transition baskets were absolutely key for the Wizards and with Wall's speed, the Knicks were rarely able to set up defensively. " We never really got the chance to get matched up with him. I'm speaking mainly on when he was in transition. Our defense we were never able to set up a wall to prevent the dribble penetration. John Wall took advantage of that," said Knicks head coach Mike Woodson.
Dribble penetration led John to his 21 point, 9 assist performance but it's not why the Wizards one the game. John looked like a hit man the way he was finding his shooters around the perimeter. Trevor Ariza and Martel Webster each drained five 3-pointers. Ariza's season high 20-point performance was highlighted by a 4-point play, giving the Wizards a 74-73 lead they never yielded.
"He is a one man fast break. Tonight he was kicking it out, they shot 55 percent from three, he made it tough," said arguably the league's best scorer, Carmelo Anthony.
The Wizards flat out made shots, going 53 percent from the field and 55 percent from three. It's rare six guys score in double figures, and for the fourth time this season, the Wiz were able to do just that. Knocking down threes paired with dribble penetration, Washington essentially beat the Knicks at their own game. Averaging one hundred points a game; there are only seven teams that put up more then the Knicks. Outscoring the Knicks in high tempo games has been the method opposing teams have generally used in defeating the New York this season. In eleven of the Knicks sixteen losses this season, the opposing team has scored over 100 points.
In the 106-96 victory, the Wizards shooting efficiency was monumental. "You have to make shots against this team, there is no question about that. Different teams make different runs and you have to learn to sustain it, stop it, and make a run of your own and I think that's the best we have done all year," described Wittman of his team, which has risen from the ashes.
There's reason to smile in the District, and it's not just about the team wearing burgundy and gold. The pieces of the puzzle are coming together, as they broke a 10-game losing streak against the Knicks Wednesday night. Seats were filled, fans were engaged, and it forces the city to be optimistic about the team's future.