Wall and McGee shine again at Summer League
I've been to Las Vegas for Summer League before. It's very easy to get excited about a whole bunch of players that you then never, ever, ever hear about in the regular season. It's also easy to forget that the top picks who are here are, in many cases, facing competitors who won't be on NBA rosters next fall.
So click your heels three times and say "It's only Summer League," or whatever you need to do to remain realistic.
Still. The Wizards won Friday night, 90-89, on a last-second Lester Hudson jumper, to improve to 4-0. In six previous trips to this circuit, Washington has never gone undefeated. And there might have been a dozen legit highlight reel plays Friday night from the three players who will definitely be on the big-league team: John Wall, JaVale McGee and Trevor Booker. And it's just sports, you're allowed to get excited about potential. So....
It's only Summer League, but Wall scored 18 points in the third quarter
After his jump shot wasn't falling in the first half -- 4 of 14 from the field -- Sam Cassell told Wall to attack, and the point guard complied. He sprinted the length of the court with the ball again and again, completing the trip in five seconds or less repeatedly. The Wizards were down by 13, until a stretch when Wall scored 13 and assisted on two more during a 15-0 run.
"They couldn't stop him," JaVale McGee said. "He was unstoppable. They couldn't figure out a way to stop him."
"It was unbelievable what John was doing out there," Sam Cassell said.
"He brought us back," Booker said. "He's our leader right now. That's what he's supposed to do."
"He just kind of basically took the game over tin the third quarter," Flip Saunders said. "An unbelievable third quarter."
The run ended with a Wall steal and dunk, after which he stopped and stared at the entire gym for a second. The people approved.
It's only Summer League, but McGee might have been even better
Is this the real JaVale McGee? I have no idea. All I know is he had 29 points and 8 rebounds, on 13-of-16 shooting. That makes him 22 for 26 from the field in his last two games. That's 85 percent shooting.
Included in his performance Friday night was a behind-the-back dribble-drive and-one, another drive and dunk that brought the entire arena to its feet (video above), an alley-oop dunk from Wall, a monster put-back slam, several nifty moves in the paint, a late-game steal and drive for yet another and-one, and a jump hook that Saunders said was McGee's finest moment.
These were not always traditional maneuvers for a 7-footer, but....
"I don't have a problem with losing hair because I don't have no hair, but that's why a lot of coaches lose hair," Cassell joked. "JaVale McGee's an interesting kind of guy. He's a guy who, you say, no no no no no, but he find a way to make plays like that. Not normal for a center that's 7-foot-1 to do the things he does, but hey, it works."
"JaVale had about seven unbelievable plays," Saunders said. "It wasn't like sometimes in the regular season where he was just frantically going to the basket. He was pretty much under control."
"I surprised myself, to tell the truth," McGee said, when asked about his loudest dunk of the night. "For some reason I felt like the rim was at my waist."
It's only Summer League, but coaches are getting excited
"The third quarter, that's how we want to play this year, that's how the Wizards want to play," Cassell said. "We want to pick up full court, we want to shadow the ball and [we want] the energy level that we had in transition."
"We made some changes, but those two guys are big pieces for us," Saunders said of the obvious chemistry developing between Wall and McGee. "That's why this summer has been great for them, playing together, not only playing together but also being in a situation where they can help each other. I think both of them have done that."
It's only Summer League, but Wall seems to enjoy winning
McGee said the entire third-quarter run started after a Trevor Booker block, which got Wall excited. The Hornets' Sean Sonderleiter objected to this excitement, which set off the Wizards.
"And everybody just started going crazy," McGee said. "We all just started feeding off each other."
No one went crazier than Wall.
"I think you saw his competitiveness," Saunders said. "He hates to lose."
Indeed, in a meaningless game that no one will remember a year from now except for the Wall and McGee highlights, both said the most important part was Hudson's game-winner.
"All that stuff that happened before would have been just canceled if we would have lost the game," McGee said.
"The best thing is the win," Wall added. "Everything else was ok, but the main thing I liked today, we kept our undefeated record."
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