Final / OT
Series starts 11/2
|Game 1: Tuesday, November 2nd|
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|Game 2: Tuesday, November 23rd|
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|Game 3: Wednesday, January 5th|
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|Game 4: Wednesday, February 23rd|
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7:00 PM ET, November 2, 2010
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
John Wall goes for 29 points, 13 assists and 9 steals as Wizards win in OT
WASHINGTON -- John Wall danced "The Dougie" when he was introduced with the Washington Wizards starting lineup, and that was just the warmup act on an eventful night in which he outshined Evan Turner in the first matchup of the top two picks in this year's draft.
No. 1 Wall was all over the place in his home debut -- 29 points, 13 assists, nine steals (tying a franchise record), eight turnovers and five fouls in 45 minutes on a sprained right ankle as the Wizards beat No. 2 Turner and the Philadelphia 76ers 116-115 in overtime Tuesday night.
"He's got an unbelievable will to win," Washington coach Flip Saunders said. "He got into some trouble tonight at times, but he fought through it and was able to make some big plays at the end."
Wall upped his season assist total to 31 -- and one of them set up a wild shot that sent the game into overtime. With 3.1 seconds remaining, Wall inbounded the ball to Cartier Martin, who nailed a 3-pointer at the top of the key to tie the game with 0.3 left on the clock.
Wall added four points and a steal in overtime -- picking Turner's pocket and converting the turnover into a pair of free throws -- as the Wizards won for the first time this season.
"I was trying to do anything to help my team win," Wall said. "And everybody else just came along with me and made big plays."
No. 2 pick Turner, who came off the bench and wasn't a factor until the second half, scored all of his nine points in the fourth quarter and finished with six rebounds for the 76ers, who are 0-4 for the first time since 2001-02.
Great Wall of Chinatown
Wizards guard John Wall is just the third player in NBA history to tally at least 60 points and 20 assists in his first three games.
Lou Williams led the 76ers with 30 points, one shy of his career-high. He scored 20 points in the fourth quarter and went 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the final 17 seconds of regulation as the 76ers' lead fluctuated between one and three points -- until Martin hit the 3-pointer.
"The kid threw in an unbelievable shot," Philadelphia coach Doug Collins said. "It seems like when you are trying to win that first game, it just seems like it's whew, I don't know what to say. Our guys fought so hard. You don't know how heartbreaking it is for me to walk into that locker room and tell these guys, 'You're playing hard, you're playing hard,' but you have to break bad habits. Losing teams have bad habits. They're not broken overnight."
Andray Blatche added 23 points, eight rebounds and six turnovers for the Wizards. He made the free throws that gave Washington the lead for good with 7.1 seconds left in overtime. Andre Iguodala had the final chance to win it for the 76ers, but he missed a jumper just before time expired.
Although the game was the first meeting between Wall from Kentucky and Turner from Ohio State, anyone anticipating an intense head-to-heal dual had to wait a while. Wall is already a starting point guard, captain and arguably the most important player on the court for the Wizards, while Turner is a reserve swingman seeking to find his niche for the 76ers.
Turner and Wall were rarely in the same vicinity until late in the third quarter -- when Wall embarrassed Turner with a behind-the-back dribble. Turner, however, quickly got even, forcing turnovers by Wall on the next two possessions.
"I just wanted to pressure him so he won't go as freely as he wanted to," Turner said. "We were kind of laying off of him, and I just figured, 'Why not pressure him?' That's what I tried to do."
Both players sought to downplay their one-on-one matchup.
Off The Wall
With 13 assists Tuesday, John Wall pulled into a three-way tie for the most assists in the first three games of an NBA career.
"He got picked two, I got picked one, so I just wish the best of luck for both of us in our careers," Wall said.
Wall said he was lucky with his steals and needed to work on cutting down on the turnovers. He said he tweaked the ankle he sprained in Washington's loss at Atlanta on Saturday, but he played all but eight minutes of the game. He didn't emerge from the locker room until 50 minutes after the final whistle in part because he was getting treatment, and he looked the part of awkward rookie as he hunched forward in a chair while wearing a backpack during his news conference.
It was the first home opener in a new Wizards era, led by new owner Ted Leonsis at the top and Wall on the court, as the franchise attempts to start over after the most embarrassing of seasons. Leonsis greeted fans wearing a red tie -- he plans to change the team's primary color scheme to red next season -- and fans had to put on 3-D glasses to watch the pregame video on the overhead scoreboard.
But Wall's dance was more entertaining.
"The security guy told me I need to dance to get the crowd into it," Wall said, "so I did it for them."
Wizards G Gilbert Arenas, yet to play this season because of a strained tendon in his right ankle, is expected to return to practice Wednesday. ... Collins, in his first trip back to D.C. as a coach since helming the Wizards from 2001-03, got in touch with his most famous player while sightseeing Monday. "I texted Michael Jordan and said, 'I'm walking around the city and it brings back a lot of memories of being here with you.' Basketball was alive when MJ was here." ... Thaddeus Young expressed disappointment over the 76ers' decision not to give him a contract extension. "I would love to be with the team long term, but I recognize that the uncertainty in next year's CBA has an effect on the team's approach to contract extensions," he said in a statement. ... Attendance was 17,803, about 2,000 short of a sellout.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||44-80 (.550)||37-78 (.474)|
|3PM-3PA||4-15 (.267)||6-12 (.500)|
|FTM-FTA||23-29 (.793)||36-43 (.837)|
|Fast Break Points||17||19|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||30 (1/0)||24 (0/0)|
Next 5 Games
From Elias: John Wall's 29 points is tied for the 4th-most by a number one overall pick in his home debut. The record is held by Walt Bellamy, who scored 35 points in his home debut in 1961:[+]
Most Points in Home Debut - By No. 1 Overall Pick
From Elias: John Wall is the 1st number one overall pick to record a double-double in his home debut since Dwight Howard, and he's the 17th player to do it overall. However, he's the first player to do it in points and assists since John Lucas in 1976:[+]
Double-Double in Home Debut - By No. 1 Overall Pick
ESPN Stats & Information