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Posted at 11:49 PM ET, 01/ 5/2011

John Wall continues to excel against 76ers

By Gene Wang

There's just something John Wall enjoys about playing the Philadelphia 76ers, but not even the prized rookie point guard could pinpoint exactly why following a 109-97 loss at Wells Fargo Center that while demoralizing did showcase the many skills of Wizards' No. 1 overall pick.

Wall finished with 18 points and a game-high 14 assists, but unlike his previous games against the Sixers, the former Kentucky standout limited his turnovers to just one. Wall scored 54 points combined with 19 assists in the first two games against Philadelphia, both at Verizon Center, but also had nine total turnovers.

Tonight, Wall was much more responsible with the ball, although it took him some time to assert himself offensively. It wasn't until late in the third quarter when he began driving to the basket with more authority, and his fearless demeanor in part helped Washington take a one-point lead with just under nine minutes to play.

"I guess the main thing with the Sixers is I get up for the game," Wall said. "I'm upset about the loss, but I did better in turnovers. That's the key. We've got to take care of the ball more, and when we take care of the ball, we're in games more."

With Wall leading the charge, the Wizards won the first two meetings, each in overtime, by a combined three points. In both of those games, Wall vastly outplayed Evan Turner, whom Philadelphia selected with the No. 2 overall pick. Turner finished with two points in 27 minutes last night after having averaged 14 points per game over his last three.

Entering last night's game, Wall was leading all rookies in assists (8.5) and steals (1.95) and was second to the Clippers' Blake Griffin in scoring. Wall was averaging 15.8 points per game, while Griffin was at 21.7.

"Those two back home, they really had it won, and we just made great plays, and some people made some big-time shots," Wall said of victories over the Sixers by scores of 116-115 and 116-114. "We knew coming in they wanted to take care of home-court advantage. They feel like they should be 3-0 right now against us, and they came out in that mind-set."

By Gene Wang  | January 5, 2011; 11:49 PM ET
Categories:  John Wall  
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Next: Fourth-quarter meltdown leads to 17th straight road loss

Comments

Flip Saunders said. "It's something we keep on talking about. And it hurt, no question, not having Kirk tonight, because he has a tendency to settle us down a little bit."

Really?

I just read the the 4th quarter play by play for Sixers game...

11:11 Kirk Hinrich bad pass
10:06 Kirk Hinrich misses 27-foot three point jumper
9:41 Kirk Hinrich makes technical free throw
9:33 Kirk Hinrich misses 21-foot jumper
9:19 Kirk Hinrich defensive rebound
9:12 Kirk Hinrich misses 6-foot jumper
8:32 Kirk Hinrich bad pass (Lou Williams steals)
4:22 Kirk Hinrich misses 4-foot jumper
1:23 Kirk Hinrich misses 17-foot jumper

I can see why he settles the team?

Great trade Ernie...wait they got K. Seraphin in that deal didn't they...Great trade Ernie?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 6, 2011 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Not just Wall, but none of the guards had a turnover until well into the third quarter. That's a positive sign for two reasons: because Wall controlled the ball even while he played fast, and because the rest of the team seemed for once to keep up with him.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 6, 2011 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Amen, bulletsfan78.

How much did the Wizards give up in cap space for that trade? (that was literally all they gave up -- they even got a few million back as part of the package).

Could have signed LeBron instead?

Terrible numbers from Hinrich after being out of the line-up for over a week?

Actually, nice trade EG. Seriously, very good trade.

Of course if bulletsfan78 was GM we would have gotten a trade for Chris Paul and David West for nothing, but sometimes, in reality it's necessary to manage expectations.

Posted by: JPRS | January 6, 2011 2:44 AM | Report abuse

The very next caller said that Flip had no clue about in-game situations. He said he constantly subs the wrong players, has the wrong combination of players together and just manages the game without any realization for what is happening on the court.

LarryInClintonMD.

Jeez, Larry, how many times did you call? ;)

Posted by: ts35 | January 6, 2011 4:05 AM | Report abuse

I can see why he settles the team?
Posted by: bulletsfan78

Actually, you can't. Because you're not watching the game, you're reading the game. No context.

Not saying KH played great tonight. But down the stretch, they all struggled to hit shots. And Jrue and Sweet Lou killed us (again) tonight. Some was weak defense, some was just those guys making great plays. And then the Sixers just weren't missing. They got their share of open shots, but they were hitting the contested ones too. That's the problem when you have a losing streak as long as the Wizards. Teams never lose confidence, even when you have the lead.

Posted by: ts35 | January 6, 2011 4:15 AM | Report abuse

ts35,

Since you clearly don't get my sarcasm I'll state it in a way hopefully you'll understand.

The only player other the Wall on this team that I have ever read Flip compliment is Kirk and to say "he has a tendency to settle us down a little bit." considering the Wizards get beat in the 4th quarter a lot(and Yes I go back to look at the play by play just to see if he is in the game) it doesn't seem to me that he has any effect on how the team plays.

Are saying since you watched the game tonight that the Wizards would have lost by 20 points if Kirk didn't play in the 4th quarter?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 6, 2011 5:28 AM | Report abuse

Actually, nice trade EG. Seriously, very good trade.

Posted by: JPRS | January 6, 2011 2:44 AM | Report abuse

I tend to judge a trade by if it makes the team better.

I'm sure if Ernie never traded for Kirk the Wizards could be what 6-27 which doesn't make a difference at all.

Ted said he was interested in the youth movement and maybe the reason Gil was willing to get fined and fake an injury was because he noticed Flip wasn't going to give NY any playing time.

It took an injury to Wall before Flip gave NY some real mpg and I believe someone from above (Ted) told Flip he needs to start getting the young guys some playing time to see if any of the previous draft picks Ernie has made can make it in the NBA.

Which is what they should be doing this year.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 6, 2011 5:36 AM | Report abuse

"And Jrue and Sweet Lou killed us (again) tonight. Some was weak defense, some was just those guys making great plays."posted by ts35

Lou in particular, but that was quite a shooting performance. Here's how the AP story described it (excerpts):

"Lou Williams found one way to help the 76ers avoid a third overtime loss to the Wizards...Take over in the fourth quarter."

"Williams scored 12 of his 26 points in the fourth... Elton Brand added 17 points to help the Sixers avoid the embarrassment of becoming the first home team to lose to the Wizards this season."

"This one was nearly as tight until Holiday and Williams scored some breathing-room baskets in the fourth to help the Sixers continue their push for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference."

"Brand smiled when he greeted his agent, David Falk, and some friends outside the locker room with a "finally got one."

"Williams buried a long fadeaway over Kirk Hinrich, who scored 13 points, at the buzzer to send the Sixers into the fourth with a 76-75 lead."

"Closed my eyes and threw it up there and it went in," Williams said

"We fell behind and lost some of our confidence," Wizards coach Flip Saunders said. "We didn't make plays, we didn't make shots. Their guards got in the paint and destroyed us."

"Led by Williams, the Sixers went 10 for 14 in the fourth. Williams made both of their 3-point attempts."

"They had the momentum and they ran with it," Nick Young said.

"the Sixers..shot a season-high 57 percent."

Posted by: Samson151 | January 6, 2011 7:25 AM | Report abuse

"Since you clearly don't get my sarcasm I'll state it in a way hopefully you'll understand." posted by bulletsfan78

I think he got it. What there was to get.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 6, 2011 7:29 AM | Report abuse

"John Wall Continues to Excel Against 76ers" --

Are you kidding? Gene, I saw you at the game; I know you were there. How can you make this statmement unless you don't mind that Jrue Holiday and Lew Williams blew around Wall like he wasn't there -- and JW scored several of his points when the game was over. C'mon guys, Wall has the potential to be good, but he's a LONG way away. HE PLAYS ZERO DEFENSE.

Posted by: Fief1 | January 6, 2011 7:33 AM | Report abuse

I did watch it, and I thought one difference in the game was Elton Brand. He's been branded a 'disappointment' ever since he went to Philly (which given the size of that contract, he was), but this is the second game in a row where his presence really seemed to hurt the Wizards.

I'm not wishing we had Elton on the roster, but I do wish we had somebody who could do for Washington some of the things he does for Philly.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 6, 2011 7:33 AM | Report abuse

And another thing -- Flip's not coaching; we win the game. Another Saunders meltdown in the fourth quarter. You're losing with under five minutes to play and you play ZONE DEFENSE? Get a clue, Flip, or get out.

Posted by: Fief1 | January 6, 2011 7:35 AM | Report abuse

"How can you make this statmement unless you don't mind that Jrue Holiday and Lew Williams blew around Wall like he wasn't there -- and JW scored several of his points when the game was over. C'mon guys, Wall has the potential to be good, but he's a LONG way away. HE PLAYS ZERO DEFENSE.Posted by: Fief1"

He does need to play better D, but Wang's point was about improvement in the primary PG functions -- and even you have to admit that's a pretty amazing assist to turnover ratio.

14 to 1. And the one came in the second half, right?

That's more important than the scoring at this point. And a clear sign of progress. Not just for Wall, but for his teammates, who seemed for once to be able to keep up with him.

Until the final quarter. This time, the Sixers helped by getting red-hot at the right time. But according to AP, they were conscious of not wanting to be the first home team to break the Wiz' road hex.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 6, 2011 7:44 AM | Report abuse

"We fell behind and lost some of our confidence," Wizards coach Flip Saunders said. "We didn't make plays, we didn't make shots. Their guards got in the paint and destroyed us."

Why do you take your best shot-blocker and shot-changer out of the game in just about every 4th quarter Flip?

Posted by: closg | January 6, 2011 7:54 AM | Report abuse

They still lost the game. Who cares?

Posted by: randysbailin | January 6, 2011 7:55 AM | Report abuse

They still lost the game. Who cares?

Posted by: randysbailin | January 6, 2011 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Not ESPN...I just watched Sports Center and they didn't even mention that there was a Sixer/Wizard game.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 6, 2011 8:01 AM | Report abuse

He's a ROOKIE who has played 21 games. And he's had trouble "get(ting) up for game(s)" ??

Posted by: ubetonit | January 6, 2011 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I was one of those people who was excited that we got Flip Saunders as a coach. Now, I'm not so excited. In the 4th quarter, JaVale was taken out after 2 minutes. That just doesn't make sense. While he's still got a lot to learn, he is the best protector of the basket we have and he gets pulled after 2 minutes.... for Seraphin??? Where was Hilton Armstrong last night? He's tough around the basket and gets rebounds.

I wanted to reach into my TV last night and choke Hinrich. Who does he think he is? Michael Jordan? I could not believe some of his moves and his desire to "take over the game." Unbelievable. And, right now, who's the best shooter on our team? Nick Young, right? Yet, every time Kirk brought the ball up, he would deliberately go in the opposite direction from where Nick was setting up. Of course, had he tried to get it to Nick, that would have meant that Kirk himself would not have an opportunity to throw up some wild shot. Hopefully, last night was an anomaly since that's not how Kirk usually plays. I'm not a huge fan of his but he usually plays a more solid game than he did last night. Maybe it was the glasses.

Posted by: juliagraffam | January 6, 2011 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Can we trade Blatche to Cleveland for Hickson?

Posted by: carterm1 | January 6, 2011 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I've been a dedicated Wizards fan for many years. But this team is dysfunctional on almost every level. Jrue Holiday and Lou Williams morphed into Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili in the 4th quarter. It was a layup drill for the Sixers. Why would Flip take the league's best shot blocker out of the game? Saunders needs to read [and re-read] the Guide to Coaching Basketball.

I listened to the 2nd half of the game on 106.7 The Fan. Glenn Consor was stunned by the horrible play. I turned the game off at 2:00 remaining. I'm aware that this is a rebuilding year. Even rebuilding teams get an occasional road win.

Posted by: musicmanjr | January 6, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

The problem with the Wiz is they do not run effective sets in their offense. if you notice, everything they run is to get a 17 foot jump shot or 3 point shot. in the second half, particularly the 4th qtr, those shots were not falling.

The other thing is in the 4th those same shots from the 1st and 2nd qtr show up as BAD SHOTS when they are missed. Again, they have no inside presence though Blatche is 6-11 and 245 or more. he must have a phobia of being within 17 feet of the rim.

i was not a Hinrich fan, but I don't place blame on him. I at least understand what he is trying to do. he knows they don't need to jack 20-foot jumpers down 7 with 3-mins to go. so he is trying to create opportunities for points by driving to the basket and penetrating. he just does not have the NBA skill level to finish what he is doing. His so-called protege' or mentee D. Rose does!

Posted by: oknow1 | January 6, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse

You have to love the low mental state of AB. He is in a horrendous shooting slump. So what does he do with his first shot? Instead of moving to the basket, he pulls up for a 18 footer that clanks off the rim.

Posted by: fearturtle44 | January 6, 2011 10:41 AM | Report abuse

The portion of the game I saw...AB was actually being more aggressive going to the rim....

But I skipped in and out of the game.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 6, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Can we just trade Blatche, please?

Posted by: carterm1 | January 6, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

The game Saunders missed was their best coached effort. Either he just is messing around to tank games for a better lotto pick, or he just doesn't care enough to do a good job.

I think he should be let go yesterday.

Posted by: Eckertae | January 6, 2011 11:17 AM | Report abuse

The issue about not having any inside scoring is an interesting one. Is there really no player on the team willing to receive the ball down low? Or is Blatche the only player allowed to try, and when he doesnt we're left with 17ft Js?

If you ask Mcgee to post up I guarantee he will. What follows may or may not be a good thing, but it will be a FGA from the paint by our C. I'm sure Seraphin and Booker would also give it a try.

Maybe it's time to give some other Bigs a chance to score in the post.

Posted by: divi3 | January 6, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Maybe it's time to give some other Bigs a chance to score in the post.

Posted by: divi3

I agree totally divid3.

Posted by: carterm1 | January 6, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

bulletsfan78,

The ultimate value of the trade we won't know for years -- but it's still hard to question the deal.

Maybe in a few years you might say that EG should have selected a different person with the 17th overall pick that he got as part of the deal, or Seraphin could develop into a quality NBA player. Regardless, the cost of the move was nil.

In terms of the youth movement approach, I don't really see how the deal works against the Wizards (e.g. acquire a draft pick, get a quality veteran who can help Wall learn the position at the NBA level and who can also serve as a spot starter and back-up). Even in terms of retaining guys like Nick Young, the Hinrich deal isn't a major obstacle. He's getting $8 mill next year, which still gives the team flexibility.

Hinrich-Seraphin is a little bit like the Yi deal. It's not often that you can place a wager with almost no down-side risk. Pretty much any value above zero is a bonus. You can criticize EG, but it would have to be on some other basis.

Posted by: JPRS | January 6, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Are you kidding? Gene, I saw you at the game; I know you were there. How can you make this statmement unless you don't mind that Jrue Holiday and Lew Williams blew around Wall like he wasn't there -- and JW scored several of his points when the game was over. C'mon guys, Wall has the potential to be good, but he's a LONG way away. HE PLAYS ZERO DEFENSE.

Posted by: Fief1 | January 6, 2011 7:33 AM | Report abuse

No help off the "moving" pick and roll last night. Hawes or any other big was hip checking wall and holliday was turning the corner unchallenged. it was wild cuz u expect your big to hedge on the screen or switch, but i guess we were running a zone and maybe the bigs couldn't rotate. I dunno it just looked like really poor defense on picks more than anything. Maybe i'm coverin for the kid, but i didn't see many instances of straight up "blow bys".

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | January 6, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

"Why would Flip take the league's best shot blocker out of the game? Posted by: musicmanjr"

I assume you mean McGee. I don't know why Flip took McGee out of the game -- anybody ask him?

However:
Best blocks per game: Andrew Bogut, Milwaukee.
Blocks per 48 minutes (30 games or more): Darko Milicic, Minnesota
Blocks per foul (30 games or more): Tim Duncan, SA

Javale's very high in those categories, however.


Posted by: Samson151 | January 6, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

It's quite possible that Hinrich, Josh Howard, and/or Rashard Lewis won't be in Washington past next season (or earlier). Their acquisitions have that 'just passing through' quality to them. Possibly the idea is to have them around to provide a veteran core for a team in transition. We could be looking at a bunch of new faces.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 6, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

@Samson151
OK, so JaVale McGee is the NBA's SECOND leading shot blocker. My primary observation is that JaVale is the Wizards best low post defender. What benefit could we have gotten by taking away an inside defensive presence when the Wizards had a credible chance of winning on the road?

I believe that Flip took McGee out of the game because he simply doesn't have an instinct for coaching. His coaching flaws were less obvious when he had Kevin Garnet, or when he coached his powerful Piston's teams from 2006 through 2008.

Flip's in over his head and needs to go.

Posted by: musicmanjr | January 6, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Wiz led 57-50 and had a steal. JaVale looked off Wall, tried to dribble the length of the court and got fouled. He missed both free throws. Momentum was gone.

Game.

Posted by: BigWesGoingToTakeA | January 6, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Gene Wang. Are you serious?

Posted by: NewManagement | January 6, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Be patient, the Wizards will eventually be an elite team. We know this is a lottery season and Leonsis will eventually get rid of Saunders and Grungfield. Wall and the 2011 lottery pick should be good building blocks and maybe a few (3 at most) of the other current players may be able to contribute a little something more than being practice dummies.

Posted by: Theone9 | January 6, 2011 6:32 PM | Report abuse

"@Samson151... My primary observation is that JaVale is the Wizards best low post defender."

I guess that's where we would disagree.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 6, 2011 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Ya'll keep talking about Wall and Kirk defense, I must be watching games with blinkers on because i don't see them playing that much D. We need a point guard like Rondo, pass first, and not shoot first, Wall only passes when he can't get his shot off, then he looks to pass to Blatche or lewis, he only passes to nick out of desperation.Watch the games with and i for details and not a John Wall fan and see if i'm lieing.

Posted by: maejude | January 7, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

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