Jan 12, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards point guard John Wall (2) drives to the basket as Atlanta Hawks shooting guard Louis Williams (3) defends during the first half at the Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA Today Sports

Wizards Beat the Hawks in John Wall's Debut

We’ve waited a long time for this, but John Wall is finally back. The Washington Wizards picked up their second straight victory against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night. For once this season, the Wizards actually looked like a comprehensive basketball team.

  • John Wall was welcomed with a standing ovation as he checked in late through the first quarter. He missed his first jump shot, but didn’t seem the least bit hesitant. He shot his next jump shot with confidence, and it went in. It’s great to see Wall shooting and not second guessing himself.
  • A.J. Price returned to the starting lineup tonight. He played a very good overall game while contributing 16 points and 3 assists. I think it’s safe to say that he’ll be Wall’s back up once he returns to regular minutes.
  • Jeff Teague scored 19 points, but struggled to get going once John Wall checked into the game. Wall’s defense was very good tonight, to say the least.  Wall helped trap the Hawks guards on a few occasions, with lead to easy transition points.
  • Speaking of transition points, John Wall is a one man fast break. After beating his defender up the court, Wall spoon fed Bradley Beal for a one handed slam. I cannot wait to see more of this. Beal and Wall have all the makings of a great back court. This may be the start of something special.
  • Remember when I compared Josh Smith to an athletic Andray Blatche? Well, Smith settled for tons of jump shots after getting bullied under the basket by Nene. Smith shot just 30 percent from the floor tonight, and seemed like he wanted no part of Nene.
  • On the other hand, Al Horford finished with a 16 point, 12 rebound, double-double. His ability to hit the mid range jumper helped stretch the floor, and got Okafor out from under the basket on a number of occasions.
  • Ivan Johnson airballed a dunk (or layup?) attempt tonight. Here’s the video.
  • Martell Webster looked very comfortable out their tonight. He had a wide array of dunks, in which he put our old pal DeShawn Stevenson on a poster. Webster is without a doubt, the Wizards’ best free agent acquisition.
  • Wall and Jan Vesely tried to convert on a number of alley-oop attempts, but they just couldn’t connect. Vesely does look a lot more involved when Wall’s out on the court.
  • The Wizards shot 46 percent from the floor tonight. Yes, those Wizards.
  • Kevin Seraphin’s indecisiveness is really starting to hurt his game. There’s times when he looks lost out there, and doesn’t know what to do once he receives the ball. I don’t know about you guys, but Seraphin is regressing as of late, and I’m pretty concerned.
  • The Wizards picked up a 10 point victory against the Hawks, who are no slouches in the Eastern Conference. Here is the box score.

John Wall is truly a breath of fresh air, and I hope people start remembering how good he was prior to his injury. It seems as if his mission is to regain respect, and put the NBA on notice. In just 20 minutes of play, John Wall scored 14 points while getting his teammates involved on a number of occasions. I have no doubt in my mind that the Wizards would have been a fringe playoff team, had John Wall stayed healthy.

With Bradley Beal starting to turn the corner, and possibly even compete for the Rookie of the Year award, the Wizards will have a formidable back court for years to come. Tonight was the first time John Wall and Brad Beal played together against other NBA competition, and they looked pretty damn good together. As Wizards fans, we usually don’t have much to be positive about, but the Wall-Beal duo really strikes some excitement for us.

The Wizards will meet the Orlando Magic on Monday night, and with the momentum on their side, they’ll look to continue their recent winning streak. It’s not about the record anymore. It’s about competing, and getting everyone back healthy.

Washington looked great tonight. And so did John Wall.

Welcome back.

Tags: Atlanta Hawks John Wall Washington Wizards

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