Wall scores 47 in Wizards' victory

Benjamin Standig, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

WASHINGTON -- John Wall went from letting his teammates down in their last game to lifting the short-handed Wizards over the league's stingiest defensive team in the next.
Wall, a supposed poor perimeter shooter, knocked down jumpers while scoring the third most points in the NBA this season. Doing that in a winning effort is one way to make amends.
Wall scored a career-high 47 points with eight assists and directed a fourth quarter surge as the Washington Wizards upended the Memphis Grizzlies 107-94 on Monday night.
The Wizards (26-44) needed nearly every point, assist and minute of playing time Wall could muster, because they were without three starters and had only nine active players. Washington played without starters Nene (knee soreness), Martell Webster (abdomen strain), and Bradley Beal (sprained left ankle).
Wall delivered, sinking 19 of 24 free throws while establishing a personal best with 26 points before halftime. In the fourth quarter, Wall nearly outscored the Grizzlies by himself with 17 points.
Only Stephen Curry, who had 54 points, and Kevin Durant, with 52, have scored more in a game this season.
"I was just in a zone," Wall said. "Made my first couple of shots and I knew I was in a great rhythm. My coach and teammates just rolled me and they just said keep carrying them."
During his 44 minutes of action, Wall also grabbed seven rebounds and made 13 of 22 shots, including 2-for-4 on 3-pointers, against a Memphis team that entered allowing an NBA-low 89.5 points per game.
"We couldn't make any shots and we couldn't stop the kid," Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said.
The dynamic performance came one game after Wall's costly ejection during the third quarter of Washington's 101-92 loss Saturday night at Golden State.
"I feel like I really let the team down," Wall said. "I knew tonight I had to step up big."
Emeka Okafor had 21 points and Chris Singleton 10 for the Wizards, who have won six straight home games and split the season series with the Grizzlies.
Mike Conley Jr. led the Grizzlies (47-23) with 23 points, but did score in the fourth quarter. Memphis has lost four straight road games, the last two to teams with losing records.
"We just look at these teams, kind of look past them, (and) they bite us every time," said Tony Allen, who was among the defenders Wall chewed up.
Jerryd Bayless scored eight of his 14 points during Memphis' late rally, and his jumper trimmed the Wizards' lead to 98-94 with 1:54 remaining. Okafor countered with a jump hook, and Washington made four of its final five free throws.
Wall capped the scoring with a 3-pointer, later passing on the chance to reach 50 points in the final seconds as the home crowd of 17,868 chanted "M-V-P."
Wall missed the opening 33 games with a knee injury. Since returning to the lineup on Jan. 12, Washington is 21-16.
Asked about the crowd's chant, Wall chuckled, "Nah, I'm no MVP, man, I'm just grateful to be good, be healthy and help change things around. If this team is healthy from the start, we'd easily be a playoff team. That's how we feel, that's how we're playing."
Wall has been particuarly accurate from 3-point range lately.
"Crazy two, three weeks," Singleton said about Wall's improved form. "Crazy. His shot completely changed. I guess that work in the summer paid off."
The Wizards became only the 10th team to score at least 100 points against the Grizzlies this season, dropping Memphis' record in such games to 3-7.
The Wizards held an 82-80 lead with less than nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter when Wall assisted on Cartier Martin's 3-pointer, starting a 13-3 run. Wall made five free throws and a fadeaway jumper in the spurt to give Washington a 96-83 lead with 3:48 remaining.
Wall flashed his improved perimeter shooting by knocking down five jumpers in the first quarter for the Wizards, who led 23-16 when the point guard sat with 1:43 remaining. By the time Wall returned nearly four minutes later, the Grizzlies had pulled in front following a 16-3 spurt.
Trailing 39-30, Wall quickly returned to point-producing mode. He scored 14 of the Wizards' final 25 points of the half with an array of jumpers and drives, finishing 9-of-13 from the floor.
NOTES: Quincy Pondexter also scored 14 points for the Grizzlies, and Zach Randolph had 10 . . . Washington also played without Trevor Ariza (flu) and A.J. Price (sore right groin). Singleton and Trevor Booker made their 10th and ninth starts of the season, respectively. ... The Grizzlies still need one more road win to establish a franchise record with 20. Memphis is poised to post a winning road record for the first time in franchise history. ... Memphis won the previous meeting at home 85-76 on Feb. 1. ... The Wizards head back on the road to play against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday. The Grizzlies play the Knicks in New York on Wednesday.

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