After a 7-13 start, the Wizards are sporting a 28-20 record Washington and have catapulted to fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Washington has gone 21-7 with a 15-game home win streak since John Wall dropped 52 points in a 124-116 loss to the Orlando Magic in early December and then ripped his team’s effort.
The Wizard’s have also moved into the fifth overall spot in this week’s NBA.com power rankings.
Washington’s 117-101 win over the Knicks on Tuesday night was their season-high fifth win in a row and if the power rankings mean anything, they are finally getting some respect after falling off the radar earlier in the season. Wall had a team-oriented 15 points and 13 assists and his backcourt mate Bradley Beal added 28 points. The Wizards are the second-hottest team in the NBA behind only the Golden State Warriors, who also won 12 games in January.
What a difference a couple of months make in this NBA marathon.
In December, I wrote an article entitled NBA Swish Beats: John Wall is Still A Flush Puppy. After two straight playoff appearances and fifth-place conference finishes, the Wizards were six games below .500 and fading fast from the scene of elite NBA squads. The diamond-studded backcourt of Beal and Wall weren’t really being talked up on the NBA social media circuit and hype machine conglomerates.
It was almost as if Wall was a forgotten superstar.
The Forgotten Superstar Drops 52 in a loss to Orlando
“The Washington Wizards are flailing at 7-13, but John Wall is having a career year, averaging a personal-best 24.1 points per game and desperately trying to infuse a spark into his struggling team every night.
The three-time All-Star whose dopeness often gets lost in an NBA that is rich with prolific-scoring combo guards, had a career night on Tuesday. Wall stroked and shaked and baked and surged and shimmied his way to the basket in a plethora of fashions and ended up with 52 points in a 124-116 loss to the Orlando Magic.
As far as team goals go, Wall bluntly expressed his displeasure after losing to the Magic, who entered the game averaging just 93.2 points and scored under 100 in 16 of their first 21 games."
“Not even defensive effort, just playing hard,” Wall said. “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. To still be talking about playing hard, that’s something that you should be able to do after just waking up.
“Our job is to come here and play hard and compete,” Wall said. “That’s the easiest thing that you should do without any contracts or any money, just come in and play basketball.”
Washington has obviously responded to Wall’s public tongue-lashing.
Charles Barkley bashed LeBron for ripping his team because they are responding negatively to his vocality and people see his demands as unwarranted and degrading to his teammates. Wall’s refined outburst actually inspired his guys to play with a high school passion again.
He knew exactly what Washington needed and in their case, it was a kick in the butt and an even higher level of leadership and performance from their superstar guard, who is back in the spotlight and reminding everyone why he is a Flush puppy and his team is getting major respect as we enter the All-Star break.