Recap: Let’s get the score out of the way first. The Washington Wizards impossibly beat the Memphis Grizzlies 107 to 94. I was not hopeful this game was going to go well for the Wizards. With five players out, it seemed inevitable that the Grizzlies were going to win. With no good wing three point shooters, it seemed inevitable that the Grizzlies were not only going to win, but crush the Wizards. Tony Allen was going to lock down John Wall, the Wizards only remaining breakout player, and the Wizards were going to get crushed by 20 points or more.
How wrong I was.
It’s hard to describe exactly how incredible John Wall’s play was tonight, but I’ll try. First, John Wall played all but three minutes of tonight’s basketball game, as he was needed in almost every minute of it. Second, this Grizzlies team is one of the best defenses in the NBA. Tony Allen, who covered John Wall for most of the night, is one of the best, if not the best, shut down perimeter defenders in the league. Per Beckley Mason from ESPN, no player had scored 40 points against the Grizzlies since Westbrook did in the 2011 playoffs. So while John Wall scoring 47 points is incredible, John Wall scoring a career high of 47 points on 22 shots without his top floor spacers is almost unfathomable. Wall looked the part of take over superstar, from hitting long jump shots, cross court passes to open shooters for three, to acrobatic and one moves indescribable layup/up and under combos. And when the Grizzlies started to recognize they couldn’t leave Wall open for the jumper, he used his speed to blow by a closing defender, draw contact, and get to the line.
Were other players involved? Yeah. Okafor had a terrific night and Singleton filled in nicely. Did the Wizards get some favorable calls? Most definitely. But this night belongs to Wall, who not only out dueled his fellow point guard Mike Conley (who had a good game himself), but was far and away the best player on the floor. And even if the Wizards didn’t pull this game out, I found myself mesmerized by Wall’s performance, who could seemingly do no wrong. It was odd, watching Wall and not thinking about what he could be but appreciating how awesome he was playing at that moment. But it was awesome.