LOS ANGELES -- Much had to be made about who John Wall ran over to greet after beating the Lakers on Sunday night. It was former teammate Gilbert Arenas, who was courtside at Staples Center -- no, the ticket wasn't a comp from the Wizards -- where he'd once scored 60 points. In his last time on the floor with Kobe Bryant, the retiring legend after 20 seasons.
"I had an opportunity to talk to him for a little bit after the game. It's something you cherish. It's something you remember," said Wall, who lives in the Los Angeles area during the offseason. "I'm glad my Mom was here to see it."
In what has been a difficult season for the Wizards (36-37), Wall has carried the bulk of the load on both ends of the court, though sometimes he still turns the ball over and gambles too much defensively which allows dribble penetration that compromises the frontline.
But overall, he has been the Wizards' best player yet again as Wall posted his 46th double-double with 22 points and 13 assists in the 101-88 victory. It was his ninth double-double in a row.
"He likes the way I've been improving and working every year, and just keep grinding. He feels like I can be a great player," Wall said of Bryant's advice. "Just keep putting the work in. Put even more work in and be better and keep leading this team."
When the Wizards took their first lead since 2-0 against the Lakers, who led by 12 in the first quarter, it came with Wall matched up with Bryant who'd re-entered the game. Bryant, who is a few inches taller at 6-6, tried to back him down to the mid-post but Wall not only was able to hold his ground but recovered to contest to force bad misses.
"It was one point when Marcus Thornton was in, (Ramon Sessions) was in at the time and Brad (Beal) had just got hurt," Wall said about the matchup. "If I get the opportunity I want to guard the best player on the other team because I'm doing it any way most of the time at the point guard position. Why not guard him this last game?"
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