Poor John Wall. Not only did he have to spend most of his second NBA season playing with a series of Washington Wizards that played less-than-cerebral basketball, but he struggled out of the gate in 2011-12 to improve upon his significant gifts in his second year out of Kentucky. That's changed of late, with the point guard's 48 percent shooting, 18 points and 8.6 assists per game in 25 contests spread out over February and March, but the biggest thing people have seemed to take from that turn is Greg Monroe's unlikely defensive maneuver on Wall from February's Rookie/Sophomore Game.
And now, sadly, they have this to take:
It's a tough gig, determining which tough shot to take with the seconds winding down and your coach declining to run a play. Hero ball isn't the best move when you're down two points with just seconds to spare, but Wizards coach Randy Wittman went with Wall, and it resulted in a few too many extra dribbles. Guarded by the astonishingly quick small forward Paul George, John just didn't have a chance.
Well, OK, he had some chances. But this is why you go quickly, when you're down in a game. John wasn't explicitly dribbling out the clock in the hopes of denying the Pacers (who came back from 22 points down in this win), but you have to go ugly early in these situations, and extend the game as long as possible in order to pile up the chances. It doesn't make for fun basketball to watch, all full of intentional fouls and timeouts, but it's the way to win in this league.
Just one month left in the season, young John. Then you get to start over and pretend that 2011-12 never happened.