In case you have been living under a rock for the past couple weeks, the NBA season has been suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus. During this time, many sports fans have been trying to find a way to fill their time.
As a way to cope with NBA withdrawal, why not rewatch old John Wall games? After all, the 29-year-old point guard will be returning from an Achilles injury next season and will be looking to prove the doubters wrong. As a way to get excited for next season, I decided to list five John Wall games that are worth rewatching during this outbreak.
November 10, 2010: Wall’s first career triple-double
This was the game where Wizards fans began to realize how special of a player John Wall is. The Wizards were coming off of a tough loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers and wanted to respond with a win. Wall made sure that the Wizards would do that, tallying 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 13 assists, his first career triple-double. Wall also had six steals to go along with one turnover. This made the 20-year-old rookie the third-youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double.
The speed, the court vision, and the ability to finish at the rim were on full display. If it wasn’t for a certain someone jumping over a car at All-Star Weekend (we’re looking at you, Blake Griffin), Wall would have been the undisputed Rookie of the Year.
December 8, 2014: An Emotional night
Earlier in the day, a close friend of Wall’s, six-year-old Damiyah Telemaque-Nelson, had died of cancer. Wall went on to record 26 points, seven rebounds, 17 assists, and three steals in a 133-132 double-overtime win over the Boston Celtics. When asked by NBC Sports Washington’s Chris Miller, “She meant a lot to you, didn’t she?” Wall broke down and started to cry. He later gave her family all of his gear that he wore that night, including his shoes that had Damiyah’s name inscribed on them.
This is a game that I will always remember. Not because of how the game played out but the emotion Wall showed afterward. You could tell that he truly developed a friendship with Damiyah and that was very touching to see.
April 21, 2015: One for the record books
In Game 2 of the 2015 NBA Playoffs, the Wizards were trying to take a 2-0 lead on the Toronto Raptors heading back home. In a back and forth contest, the Wizards came out victorious, 117-106. During the game, Wall set the Wizards franchise record for assists in a playoff game with 17. He also recorded 26 points while shooting 50% from the field. The Wizards then went on to sweep the Raptors in a series most of us have good memories of. This game also marked the beginning of the House of Guards.
December 6, 2016: Wall gets 50
Scoring has not always been what Wall is best at. However, in this game, he took his offensive skill set to a different level. He got in a rhythm early and went off for a career-high of 52 points on 18-31 from the field and 5-8 from beyond the arc. He also added eight assists and four rebounds.
Unfortunately, Wall’s efforts were not rewarded. The Wizards lost 124-116 to the Orlando Magic, causing them to fall to a record of 7-13. The Wizards went on to turn their season around and win 49 games thanks to Wall’s scoring and playmaking abilities.
May 12, 2017: The Funeral Game
I saved the best for last. The Wizards had a heated rivalry with the Celtics during much of the season and Wall was a big part of it. When they met in the second round, it was a series that both teams will not be forgetting about anytime soon.
Prior to tipoff, Isaiah Thomas and the rest of the Boston Celtics were wearing black to the arena. They were confident that tonight was going to be the night where they would finally eliminate the Wizards. There was a legitimate chance that the Wizards were going to get eliminated on their home court.
But not before John Wall had something to say about it.
Down two with the game on the line, Wall drained a pull-up three right with 3.2 seconds left. He recorded 26 points, eight assists, and two blocks to force a Game 7 in Boston.
While the Wizards did go on to lose the series, everyone remembers how stressful and thrilling this game was. If Wall misses that shot, the Wizards go home and the exit feels a lot worse than it did. But that it is a little too painful to think about. After the game, Wall delivered the iconic, “Don’t come to my city, wearing all black, talking about it’s a funeral,” line we all remember fondly.