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John Wall's Career Night

March 26, 2013
Jacob Raim -

John Wall had one for the ages on Monday night.  He scored 47 points and also added eight assists and seven rebounds.  To put that in perspective, since 1985 those marks have only been reached 25 times in a single game.  Six of those were from LeBron, three from Jordan, three from Bird, three from Kobe and two from Wade.  That's some pretty nice company.  

Wall's night included 13/22 shooting from the field, a career-high 19 free throws on 24 attempts, and 2/4 from three-point range for good measure.  He only turned the ball over three times in a season-high 45 minutes of action.  To only turn the ball over three times in a game when he had the ball in his hands as much as he did shows how under control he was playing.  He let the game come to him all night, never forcing the issue.  Wittman specifically pointed out in his postgame that Wall scored his 47 within the framework of the offense.  Let's also not forget the fact that the Wizards' other three leading scorers were out of the lineup tonight meaning that it was no secret who was going to be carrying the offense AND the Wizards were playing the league's stingiest defense.  The Grizzlies had not allowed anyone to hang 40 on them all year before Wall's 47.  All that adds up to some kind of something special.

Granted it might have been harder to do this if he had to share the ball with Beal, Webster, Nene and Ariza and he probably wouldn't have played 45 minutes with them in the lineup, but that is part of the beauty of this performance.  This was a game where he had to do something special or the Wizards don't have a chance.  Teams don't just go out and beat rock solid playoff teams (the Grizzlies have clinched a playoff spot and are currently fifth in the West) missing three of their top four scorers.  In that situation, teams generally get killed, not win by 13.  Wall also did damage late when the Wizards needed it most, scoring 17 in the fourth and was particularly clutch right after the Grizzlies made their 11-2 run late.  He made a couple of slick passes to Okafor and knocked down a huge three as well as hitting some free throws in the last minute and a half to seal the contest.   

Over his first two years in the league, the book on Wall was that if the guy could shoot, he'd be basically unguardable.  Well here we are.  Of Wall's 13 made shots, 11 were of the jump shot variety and he was 11/19 in total on jumpers.  The fact that he only had four points at the basket is most definitely misleading as he got to the free throw line 21 times and most of those were because of trips to the hoop.  But the fact is, we are looking at a guy who looks simply comfortable with his jump shot.  He is repeating his motion time after time and the mechanics are much improved.  He wasn't just taking open jumpers that were created for him, he was creating jumpers for himself off the dribble.  Several times over the course of the game, he showed off a crossover move which created space between himself and Conley and used it for a step back jumper.  The Grizzlies certainly were not slacking off on him at any point in the contest like we've seen teams do in the past to dare Wall to take long range looks. The scouting report has changed. 

And poor Emeka Okafor.  The guy had a monster 21-point, nine-rebound effort and nobody will be talking about him.

Here is Wall talking about his performance: