February 18, 2016 – Verizon Center, Washington, DC
The Utah Jazz rolled into DC last night feeling smooth. Winners of 8 of their last 10 games, and sitting among the ranks of the Western Conference playoff teams, well rested and ready for a post-All-Star push. They left battered, beaten, and feeling the blues, steamrolled by a Wizards team playing with purpose.
Tempo was always going to be crucial in this game, and the Wizards controlled the tempo from the opening tip. They shot 57% in the first quarter, got 9 fast break points, and blocked 5 shots, an indicator of a defensive intensity that just hasn’t been there every night. From that point on, Utah was off key, forced to play catch-up with a roster not built for catching up.
What transpired was a complete and comprehensive Wizards victory, as the Wizards held off every Utah push (they even resisted their standard third quarter collapse), and put together one of their better team wins of the season. DC won the turnover battle 23-11. They shot 49% from the field. They finished with 34 fast break points. They swatted a season-high 9 shots. And they did stuff like this:
The result was a 103-89 victory. Not a bad way to start a back-to-back-to-back.
The Game’s Top Performer
That game summary above was okay. Here’s the real game summary: We had John Wall. They didn’t.
Game summary for John Wall tonight: pic.twitter.com/HTVp4YMKTN
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) February 19, 2016
Wall finished the game with 17 points, 11 assists, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals and just 2 turnovers. A great line, true, yet his impact was much greater than his stats. Wall completely controlled the tempo of the game from the outset, taking the Jazz out of their game right from the start. Wall had the Wizards running when the numbers were in their favor:
And when the numbers weren’t in his favor, he pushed it anyway, in the way only John Wall can:
There’s more. Wall’s passion and unselfishness surpassed even his execution. Watch Wall bask in his teammates glory, and ask yourself, who else celebrates more joyously for an assist than for themselves?
When John Wall plays like this, there’s no one else you’d rather having running your team. Just ask Trey Lyles:
A forgettable night for..
The Jazz Point Guards
Poor Raul. It wasn’t his fault he was facing a rejuvenated John Wall on the defensive end. The guy tasked with setting the tone for the Jazz never had a chance. Neto finished with 2 points on 1-5 shooting, 4 assists, and 4 turnovers.
Trey Burke didn’t fare much better, scoring just 2 points on 1-8 shooting. He did manage 7 assists. Maybe that will help him sleep tonight, at least until the nightmares of John Wall start.