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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 02/11/2011

John Wall trying to "take the challenge" defensively

By Michael Lee

I can't let you get around me this time, Brandon. (By Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

John Wall may have excited the crowd on Wednesday against Milwaukee when he was alone on the fast break, raised the ball above his head with his left hand, dunked and swung on the rim. Although it was nice to see Wall soar -- especially since he took off from the same right knee that has given him trouble for most of the season -- the most encouraging scene may have been Wall clapping his heads and dropping into a defensive stance in an effort to slow down Brandon Jennings.

Jennings is still working his way back from a broken left foot, and hasn't regained his blazing speed, but Wall wore himself out chasing Jennings around and disrupting the Bucks' offense. Jennings led Milwaukee with 20 points, but he needed 24 shots.

"John worked his butt off, both him and Kirk" Hinrich, Coach Flip Saunders said. "I thought they did a good job on him. They limited him, he got 20, but he needed a lot of jacks, 24 jacks, and kept him to four assists, made him more one-dimensional."

Wall recently talked about the difficulty he faces every night he steps on the floor, against opposing point guards looking to leave an impression and teach some lessons. Wall made his name playing against Jennings at the Reebok Breakout Camp in 2007 and has sought out the second-year point guard for advice this season. In his first matchup against Jennings, he didn't want to be shown up.

"I approached it as taking the challenge. Something I'm going to have to do more often," Wall said after scoring 15 points with seven rebounds, six assists and two steals. "I think I was doing a better job of getting over screens and when the guards get past, I kept coming and containing him. I've got to do it against all the other guards I play against, and it's not going to be an easy task."

Wall will face a more difficult challenge, with Tony Parker and the San Antonio Spurs in town on Saturday. "I know I can't give up on plays," he said. "Guards get past the big man, most of the time they are keeping their dribble alive and exploring the offense. I have to keep coming to chasing him. Even though you might get tired at times, you have to keep doing what you do to help the team win."

By Michael Lee  | February 11, 2011; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Flip Saunders, John Wall  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Rashard Lewis says "surgery is an option" but plans to play through right knee pain
Next: Wizards risk looking ahead to Cavaliers game


Who cares about the Spurs... I'm really excited to see this 'Toilet Bowl' everyone is talking about.

This is the most dramatic stroy line in quite a while: Mediocrity vs. Indolence!

Posted by: MeviousMan | February 11, 2011 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I am also looking forward to the Toilet Bowl. Unless the Cavs spoil it by beating the Clippers...don't scoff at that. The Clippers have just as bad a history of bad luck as the Wizards.

Posted by: tundey | February 11, 2011 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Nolan Smith is a better player than John Wall and this is coming from a DUKE hater.

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | February 11, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Defensive intensity from Wall will be a key to this team being able to win ball games consistantly.

Great to see him stepping up defensively.

Posted by: flohrtv | February 11, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

You can't really compare Nolan Smith and John Wall...And wall is a way better player than Smith...Smith might be a better scorer than Wall, but Wall is a pure pass first Point Guard, and those are very rare these days...Nolan Smith is a Shooting Guard, his job is to score, completely different assignment than Wall...Not too many people would take Nolan Smith over Wall

Posted by: babycas2000 | February 11, 2011 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Lee writes:

"the most encouraging scene may have been Wall clapping his heads and..."

Really, Lee, really, I mean, wtf? How many heads does John Wall have?

John Wall is a god among basketball and very well may be a two-headed monster, but please do him the honor of writing a grammatically-correct article. This really is getting very old. Sheesh!

Posted by: telecatser | February 12, 2011 1:33 AM | Report abuse

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