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Wizards vs. Clippers Pregame: The pinnacle of dueling point guards

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LA Clippers (16-5) at Washington (15-6)

December 12, 2014 at 7:00PM
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
TV: CSNWashington
Radio: 99.1FM


Tale of the Tape

John Wall vs. Chris Paul

John Wall, Chris Paul

[ezcol_1third]JOHN WALL[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third][/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]CHRIS PAUL[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]18.1[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]PPG[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]18.0[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]10.4[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]APG[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]10.1[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]219[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]Total Assists[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]212[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]2.64[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]Assists per TO[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]5.89[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]20.9[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]PER[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]26.8[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]13[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]Double-doubles[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]12[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]17[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]Season high in assists[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]16[/ezcol_1third_end]

When discussing the NBA’s elite in the point guard department, the consensus gentium amongst fans in regards to who ranks as the best has been Chris Paul for quite some time. Since his days of blossoming in New Orleans and establishing the identity of a player whose purpose is the betterment of his teammates (see David West), Paul has consistently been the NBA’s premiere facilitator of offense and the boilerplate for all other point guards who aspire to be like him.

This season, Chris Paul’s averages are right around his career mean. His field goal and 3-point percentages are a bit higher than years past but considering only 20 games have been played, it’s presumable that he’ll cool off a bit. But in terms of the orchestration and execution of his team’s offense, well, they rank third overall in points per game and fifth in assists. Besides his excellent court vision and even better passing abilities, Paul has been observed to be one of the game’s most dangerous ball handlers, making the containment of him an overbearing workload for any NBA defense. He squirms in between defenders into open space; he makes acrobatic shots; the crossover is mean; and like hinted about five previous times in this post – boy can he find his scorers.

The bottom line: Chris Paul is a don in the NBA’s point guard family and to become made like him, you’ve got to be born into it.

Enter John Wall, who’s surely no Tom Hagen. Five years in the game and if you look back and reflect on his evolvement over that course of time up up to where he’s at now, you’ll realize the establishment of an identity very similar to Paul’s. While the two have some differences in their styles of play, Wall has progressed to a point where his totals and averages this season are in his favor. All except turnovers, an area Wall agreed he still needs to improve.

Like Chris Paul, Wall has been equipped with a supporting cast good enough to allow him to exploit each of their talents individually and effectively. For example, his pick and roll game with Marcin Gortat is damn near second-to-none. With Beal, Pierce and Butler, he’s got wing shooters for days. Everybody runs well with him in transition. The combination of growth and surrounding talent has not only simplified the game for John, but it’s welcomed him into an elite class of players at his position and today, he’s right up there neck and neck with Chris Paul.

This makes tonight’s game all the more orgasmic. Yes, this is a matchup of the top three teams from each conference and yes the teams are just a game apart from one another in the win column and yes this is Washington’s biggest test of the season so far. But as fans, we all know how much we’ve cringed and struggled through hearing all the scrutiny and discrediting of John Wall; the shitty and outright obnoxious takes on him by local and national media. The disrespect. A showcasing performance tonight from Wall, in front of his home crowd, and against the league’s best point guard will tip this city over in delight.

Two hard slaps to the chest, Johnny Franchise. This is your city. Let’s get it.


The last time these two gems dueled was exactly one December ago. In their second meeting in January, Paul was out with a dislocated shoulder.

In the December matchup at the Verizon Center, Paul finished with a game-high 38 points and 12 assists while Wall finished with 24 points and 12 assists. Paul shot 11-14 from the field, 5-7 from 3-point and a whopping 11-11 from the free throw line. Wall shot almost as well from the field going 10-16, but predictably (at that time) 0-4 from 3-point and just 4-5 from the line. Paul had only 2 turnovers to Wall’s 6. The Clippers won in wire-to-wire fashion by 16 and thusly, we were all sad as the Wizards fell to 9-14.

Wall, a man with a grudge, is surely to have recalled last year’s debacle, something I’m hoping he avenges on the floor tonight.

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