Ramon Sessions' first playoff start with the Wizards took place before his first practice running with the starters this season.
The point guard will likely be doing more of both for now based on the latest news regarding John Wall's fractured left wrist and hand.
The Wizards announced Thursday that Wall suffered five non-displaced fractures in his left wrist and hand from his fall in Sunday's Game 1 win at Atlanta.
The All-Star guard continued playing after the injury, but ultimately the swelling prevented him from doing so Tuesday in Game 2, thus thrusting Sessions into the lineup an hour before tipoff.
With Wall sidelined, Sessions took his spot Thursday during Washington's first practice since the 106-90 loss. The Wizards and Hawks enter Saturday's Game 3 tied 1-1 in the best-of-7 series.
“The approach is the same," said Sessions, who spoke with reporters before the team announced specifics of Wall's injury. "If John can go, be ready to be with that second unit. If he can’t, just be ready to go from the start of the game, try to pick where he left off, push the pace, just play my game, and just get the offense going and just keep pushing the pace.”
Sessions made his first three 3-pointer and delivered a team-high 21 points with four assists. His scoring punch combined with his defense against Hawks point guard Jeff Teague helped keep the Wizards within striking distance until Atlanta pulled away during the final four minutes.
An emergency start is one thing. Taking over a role is another. Trying to emulate the dynamic Wall is something else entire. The key, according to forward Paul Pierce, is for Sessions just to do his thing.
“Ramon has been a starter in this league, and he understands his role, even though he’s not John Wall," Pierce said. "He’s not the guy who’s going to go out there and get you 25 and 13. We just ask him to just do what he continues to do. Attack, when the shots are there take them, move the ball, play steady defense.”
Sessions started a handful of games late in the season and spent time with the first unit while paired with Wall in the backcourt. That experience helps and gives his coach confidence.
"Well he's run with the first unit. I think that's what helped us a little bit," Randy Wittman said after the Wall news broke. "Because he and John played a lot together, so even in practice, as well as in games, he's had his foot on the pedal as a point guard. So I was very comfortable with him coming in, and now with Garrett (Temple), Will (Bynum).
"Their opportunities are going to come. That's what I'm talking about here is everybody being ready to step up."