John Wall Shines Vs. Grizzlies
By Brian Martin
John Wall opened the 2012-13 season on the Wizards' bench, wearing a suit, while recovering from a stress injury to his left kneecap that was originally thought to keep him out for the first month of the season -- eight weeks after being diagnosed with the injury in late September.
The recovery took longer than expected, as the young point guard would not return to the lineup until mid-January with the Wizards in the cellar of the Eastern Conference standings at 5-28.
Since Wall returned to the court on Jan. 12, the Wizards have posted a record of 21-16, following their 107-94 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night. Wall put on a virtuoso performance - scoring a career-best 47 points, with eight assists and seven rebounds. Wall became the first player all season to score 40 points against the Grizzlies' stingy defense. And he did it on just 22 field goal attempts. Wall finished the night shooting 13-of-22 from the field, 2-of-4 from 3-point range and 19-of-24 from the free throw line.
Wizards With and Without Wall -- Per Game
|Pre-Wall (Oct 30-Jan 7)||89.2||43.6||20.7||40.8%||32.3%||72.8%|
|With Wall (Jan 12-Mar 25)||96.6||42.8||23.2||46.2%||41.3%||74.4%|
Wizards With and Without Wall -- Per 100 Possessions
|Pre-Wall (Oct 30-Jan 7)||5-28||0.152||93.1||101.9||-8.8|
|With Wall (Jan 12-Mar 25)||21-16||0.568||101.9||98.3||+3.6|
In the first half, Wall scored 26 points on 9-of-13 shooting to lead the Wizards to a 55-55 tie at the break against the playoff-bound Grizzlies. Wall and the Wizards did not cool off in the locker room, as they scored the first eight points of the second half and would not trail again.
John Wall Shot Chart vs Grizzlies
The Grizzlies would come back to tie the game on four occasions in the third and fourth quarters, but were never able to gain the lead. After the Grizzlies pulled within two points at 82-80 with 8:52 to play, the Wizards began to pull away -- using a 14-3 run over the next five minutes to build a 13-point lead -- and Wall was the catalyst.
He scored seven points during the run to bring his total to 41, eclipsing his previous career-high of 38, and he assisted on six points from a pair of 3-pointers by Cartier Martin.
But the Grizzlies would not go away quietly, scoring the next nine points in the 90 seconds to pull within four with 2:19 to play. A pair of Emeka Okafor free throws stopped the bleeding and another six points and assist from Wall down the stretched sealed the win for the Wizards.
While the Grizzlies played without Marc Gasol, the Wizards were hit even harder by the injury bug -- as they were without regular starters Trevor Ariza (flu), Bradley Beal (ankle), Nene (knee) and Martell Webster (abdomen). That left the burden on Wall to carry the team, and he did exactly that, while also getting strong contributions from Okafor (21 points, 9 rebounds) and Chris Singleton (10 points, 7 rebounds).
But the night belonged to Wall, who is playing the best basketball of his young NBA career. In the month of March, he is averaging 21.8 points, 8.0 assists and 4.5 rebounds.
John Wall Month By Month -- Per Game
Since his Jan. 12 debut, Wall posted two games with 20 points or more in January and February. He has posted 20 points or more six times in the month of March, all coming in the Wizards' last nine games, during which they have gone 6-3.
John Wall Month By Month -- Shooting
A key to Wall's improved play has been his shooting percentage rising to 52.3 percent from the field and 50 percent (on limited opportunities) from 3-point range. His effective FG% of 54.1 percent is a huge leap from 40.5% in January and February combined.
Wall's shooting has improved from every spot on the floor. In March he is shooting 57.4 percent inside the restricted area with nearly a third of his attempts (31.8 percent, 68-of-214) coming at the rim.
John Wall Month By Month -- Shooting by Zone
|Jan||32-58 (55.2%)||6-15 (40.0%)||18-49 (36.7%)||0-1 (0%)||0-0 (0%)||0-4 (0%)|
|Feb||27-55 (49.1%)||9-25 (36.0%)||21-68 (30.9%)||1-1 (100%)||0-0 (0%)||0-5 (0%)|
|Mar||39-68 (57.4%)||17-29 (58.6%)||48-101 (47.5%)||2-4 (50%)||2-3 (66.7%)||4-9 (44.4%)|
Paint (Non-RA): In the Paint (Outside Restricted Area)
LC3: Left-Corner Three
RC3: Right-Corner Three
ATB3: Above-the-Break Three
He leads the team with an on-court offensive rating of 103.0 and an on-court net rating of +4.4, meaning the Wizards outscore their opponents by 4.4 points per 100 possession while Wall is on the floor. Only Wall, Nene and Garrett Temple have a positive on-court net rating for the Wizards.
With only 12 games remaining in the regular season, the Wizards will once again find themselves lottery bound -- for the fifth straight season. But the play of Wall, as well as Beal prior to his ankle injury, should provide hope for the future in nation's capital.