Part of the reason Ramon Sessions is with the Wizards is his ability to score, a layer they'd been missing off the bench that they desperately needed to make a playoff run last season. But it's easy forget that he can distribute when he puts his mind to it, too, and he may have to fill that role again in Friday's matchup with the Detroit Pistons if John Wall remains unavailable.
Sessions had 18 points and 13 assists in Wednesday's 121-103 win over the Brooklyn Nets, and he did it in just 29 minutes. When the Wizards broke open a 54-52 score at halftime, Sessions had 11 of his points in the third quarter.
"Ramon played great. I thought he kept a good pace to the game. For us as a team to have 36 assists on 48 baskets, it can’t get much better than that," coach Randy Wittman said. "We had two turnovers in the second half."
It was Sessions' first double-double since joining the Wizards and he's the first player on this team other than Wall to get 10-plus assists since Garrett Temple in 2013.
Wall (right knee bruise) was a late scratch when he had severe swelling after a full practice Tuesday. He had difficulty walking as he left the locker room at Verizon Center and might not be anywhere close to 100 percent if he can play in Detroit. That means Sessions may have to play a bigger role regardless.
The Wizards (38-40) have to win or they're officially eliminated from postseason contention.
“Going out there from the jump-start knowing John is down, just got to pick up the minutes, getting those minutes consistently playing with the starters," Sessions said of joining Otto Porter, Markieff Morris, Marcin Gortat and Bradley Beal for his 138th career start and first in Washington this season. "Those guys were just setting screens. I was just trying to keep pushing the pace and play my game.”
When Wall broke his left hand/wrist in last year's playoffs, Sessions filled in but wasn't the same distributor with the ball. The Wizards lost that series in six games. This version of Sessions looked more like the player he has to be when Wall isn't on the floor, but the lowly Nets are a much easier foe than the Pistons. Sessions' career-high is 24 assists from his rookie season with the Milwaukee Bucks.
"Believe it or not, he's just as fast as John bringing the ball up the court," Porter said. "He did a good job pushing the pace, keeping the pace going, looking for us or creating ... if they weren't back. So I think that was good for Sesh.”
Porter had 15 points. Beal made 11 of 15 shots for a game-high 25 points, bouncing back from his 2 of 16 shooting in the Wizards' loss to the L.A. Clippers.
“It went well. I have the same approach as I did if John would have played. I was aggressive. I was able to handle the ball a little more. It is what I have to do when he is out," Beal said of going from Wall to Sessions. "It was beneficial. We are going to need him."