Prior to John Wall's return after missing nine games on Wednesday night, head coach Scott Brooks remarked how he's often amazed at Wall's ability to regain his form quickly after sitting out. In his experience, many of the great ones can do that. It took Wall a quarter against the Grizzlies, but he didn't take long to back up that claim.
Wall erupted for nine points in the second quarter and by the end of the game served many reminders of why he is the straw that stirs the Wizards' drink. Even after two knee procedures and the rust of almost three weeks off, Wall rocketed past opponents to the rim with ease. Though he had just four assists, not even half of his season average, Wall's ability to penetrate opened up opportunities for everyone else.
All five Wizards starters reached double figures, including Wall who had 14. Despite amassing just 93 points as a team, the Wizards earned a win over the Grizzlies and showed potential to be the well-rounded offense we have grown accustomed to in recent years.
"I think it was cool," Wall said of his knee and his first game back. "We got the win, so that was key."
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Wall's nine-point second quarter included several quick drives to the rim, one that ended with an emphatic left-handed slam, his favorite way to finish.
Wall also hit a three in that frame and swiped a steal. His best play may have been a block on Chandler Parsons in the fourth quarter. Wall crossed the paint to stuff Parsons, who is four inches taller than him, off the backboard.
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Overall, Wall didn't appear limited at all by his left knee, which was administered platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment and viscosupplementation injections on Nov. 25.
"When I come off an injury, I do not think about it," he said. "If I am going to be out there thinking about it then that means I do not need to be out there playing because I am limiting what I can do thinking about that too much, and it is hurting my teammates, so I just go out there and play basketball and try not to think about it at all.”
Having Wall back in the lineup was of course appreciated by his teammates and Coach Brooks as well.
"He gave us a boost," Brooks said. "He made some amazing plays, blocked shots like I've never seen a point guard do ever and he makes it look easy."
There was plenty not to like about the Wizards' performance on Wednesday night, even though it resulted in a win. They coughed up a 17-point lead to a terrible Grizzlies team and only won by six points. But having Wall back is a huge step towards them getting past their recent woes and becoming the team they know they can be.
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