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John Wall faces music alone, questions effort after Wizards' loss

John Wall faces music alone, questions effort after Wizards' loss

No matter how bad a loss has been, or how listless the Wizards were in a game like the one they lost Tuesday to the Orlando Magic, John Wall waits.

In previous years, Garrett Temple, Paul Pierce and Ramon Sessions, to name a few, would join him if their time was requested by the media following a performance like this one -- giving up 124 points in regulation to one of the NBA's worst offensive teams. 

Now the last guy standing is Wall, who at $80 million on a five-year contract is one of the best contracts just three years after it was widely questioned if he deserved it or not. 

Wall had a career-high 52 points on 18-for-31 shooting, including 5 of 8 three-pointers and 11-for-14 from the foul line. On top of that, he had eight assists, four rebounds and three steals. Until Bradley Beal's 10 points in the fourth quarter to finish with 19, Wall had no company as the Wizards tried to erase what had been a 20-point deficit.

"Our job is to wake up and just play hard. Before you made it to the NBA or got a college scholarship, you played hard every day to get to where you wanted to," said Wall, who had surgeries to both knees May 5. "To still be talking about playing hard, that's something that you should be able to do after just waking up. Everybody has a job and they have to go work hard. Our job is to come here and play hard and compete. That's the easiest thing that you should do without any contracts or any money, just come in and play basketball … if I had the answer we wouldn't be in this situation."

It doesn't matter if Wall has 11 turnovers like he did against the Sacramento Kings or a night like Tuesday. Wall's demeanor is the same. The way he answers the questions? The same. The way he handles praise and criticism? The same. In his seventh season, the three-time All-Star behaves like a professional and takes on the responsibility that comes with the job.

[RELATED: TAKEAWAYS FROM WIZARDS' LOSS TO MAGIC, WALL'S CAREER NIGHT]

This was almost a repeat of Monday's game at the Brooklyn Nets. The Wizards allowed them to score 66 points in the first half, falling down by 15 but were able to lock down defensively to come back. The Magic had 65 in the first two quarters, and the only reason the Wizards had a chance was because of Wall. The Magic scored 31 points above their regular-season average.

"We just didn't come out with our defensive intensity. It was kind of like our last game in Brooklyn, the way we played in the first half," Wall said. "We didn't play with any edge or chippiness. They were the more aggressive team and that's why they got out to a great start."

[RELATED: PUTTING WALL'S CAREER NIGHT IN CONTEXT]

In Pierce's brief time in Washington during the 2014-15 season, he'd limp out to the middle of the locker room no matter the result or how he performed. Even though he was playing on a $5.5 million contract and no longer the lead dog in terms of his talent, he felt part of the burden was on him to explain what happened. And if necessary, he'd fall on the sword.

When he was with the Boston Celtics, where he won a championship in 2008, Pierce would do something similar after a bad loss: "Somebody has to answer for this (expletive)."

That's what leaders do. The Wizards may have been underachieving during that time, but they weren't rudderless. Now, absent of Wall, they could be. He played 42 minutes Tuesday, the third time he has eclipsed 40 in a little more than a week.

By the time Wall exited, less than an hour after his teammates had cleared out and he was finished with his standard treatment in the trainer's room, he was told that he was the only Wizards player to talk postgame upon request. 

"Just me?" Wall asked while still managing to smile. "Just doing my job."

[RELATED: 5 MUST-SEE MOMENTS FROM WIZARDS' LOSS TO MAGIC]

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Hey Wizards - don't fall for this CJ McCollum crossover

Hey Wizards - don't fall for this CJ McCollum crossover

Here's an important thing for the Wizards to avoid when facing off against Portland on Monday night: This CJ McCollum crossover.

As seen in this video by our friends at NBC Sports Northwest, the Trail Blazers' player sent a Spurs defender flying - much to the delight of the Portland bench - with the move.

 

"It wasn't even one of my better crossovers," he said after his team's win. "Honestly, he just reacted."

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By the numbers: Bradley Beal on pace to become one of NBA history's best three-point shooters

By the numbers: Bradley Beal on pace to become one of NBA history's best three-point shooters

Bradley Beal topped Gilbert Arenas for first place in career three-pointers in Wizards/Bullets franchise history on Saturday night in the Wizards' loss to the Toronto Raptors.

Beal, only 25, has put himself in some good company over the years with his outside shooting. Here are some numbers to put it all in perspective.

By The Numbers: Bradley Beal's historic shooting numbers

2,208: Beal made his record-breaking, 869th three on his 2,208th attempt. It took Arenas 2,430 attempts to get there in a Wizards uniform. Arenas, however, reached the mark in 357 games compared to Beal's 408. Beal, now at 2,209, is second on the franchise list for career three-pointers attempted. Based on his career attempts averages, he should get there this season.

100: Beal has made at least 100 three-pointers in five straight seasons entering 2018-19. That is a franchise record. The longest such active streak is held by Jamal Crawford at 14. The longest streak in NBA history is held by Ray Allen at 17.

39.4: Beal's career three-point percentage. He is one of only five players ever to shoot at least 39 percent from beyond the arc while making two or more threes per game in their careers. The others are Kyle Korver, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Buddy Hield, who has only played in 164 games compared to Beal's 408.

223: Beal set the franchise record for three-pointers made in a single season back in 2016-17. He passed Arenas, who twice got to 205, in 2004-05 and 2006-07.

41: Beal also passed Arenas for the most games in franchise history with five or more three-pointers made. Arenas is in second with 40, while Trevor Ariza is in a distant third with 15. Otto Porter Jr., for comparison, has done it nine times. Beal's 41 games with five threes or more rank 18th among active players. Curry is way ahead of everyone else with 183.

37: Beal is one of just eight players ever to begin his career with six straight seasons of 37 percent or better from three. The other seven is mostly a who's who of three-point specialists like Curry, Thompson, Korver and J.J. Redick.

20: Shooting 37 percent or better from three while also scoring 20 points or more is rarer than you may think. Beal has done it twice in his career, same as LeBron James, Damian Lillard and Kawhi Leonard. Only 11 players have accomplished the feat more often. Dirk Nowitzki has done that in nine seasons, most all-time, while Kevin Durant is second with eight.

872: Speaking of Durant, this isn't a historic number, it's just an interesting coincidence. Since Beal entered the league before the 2012-13 season, he and Durant have been nearly identical as three-point shooters. Beal has made 870 threes, while Durant has knocked down 872. Beal has shot 39.4 percent, while Durant has hit 39.6 of them. Another guy who has been extremely similar to Beal is Danny Green, who now plays for the Raptors. He has hit 858 threes during that span at a 39.2 percent rate.

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