Originally posted on Wizards Extreme  |  Last updated 3/26/13
In my total 14 year old kid moment, I somewhat forgot I was covering last night's game on behalf of the media. Constantly looking to my colleague, Abdullah, and saying, "Did you see that crossover?", "Oh my goodness, he's on fire." At one point when Wall drove to the basket between two Grizzlies players and hit an under hand scoop lay up to finish the half I belted, "He's going to get 50 tonight!!" If John felt like was a kid playing backyard ball at the expense of Jerryd Bayless' knee caps, I felt like the kid at the park watching him in awe. It was apparent from the moment the Wizards came out of the tunnel that John Wall was set to have a career game. I noticed it in the pre-game shoot around. He's normally pretty loose before games, but you could tell he was on a mission tonight. John Wall knew his team would be short-handed; and his team knew they would have to rely on his will to win last night's game against a very good Memphis Grizzlies team. With only nine guys at Wittman's disposalm and three of five Wizards starters not active due to injury, it was going to take a big time effort from every guy on the team to win the game, not just John. Okafor continued to be the consistent force in the middle with 21 points and nine rebounds, while Chris Singleton played 42 minutes. Pretty Ironic. "Even with John's 7, we don't win this game without the other guys. They all gave us quality minutes." It's hard to disagree with Coach Wittman's comment. Everyone who got playing time tonight made it count. Except for Jan Vesely. Here's my debbie downer moment of the article: Jan Vesely is the worst player in the NBA. Okay, back to John Wall. Whether you're a Wizards fan, or a "Memphis Grizzlies" bandwagon fan, Wall's will and his ability to get his teammates involved in the game was special to watch. Even though he went on a tear scoring and shooting the ball the way he did, he still put up eight assists, collected seven rebounds and at one point in the first half, he had a massive tomahawk style block on Bayless as the Memphis guard thought he had a guaranteed 2 points. He thought wrong. The Wizards frustrated the Grizzlies on both ends of the floor. Not only was Memphis unable to slow the game down to their pace and style, but Washington ran up and down the court on them and forced them to play a more uptempo style that they're not accustom to. Their pressure and tenacity forced Memphis in to earning two technical fouls. One was on Zach Randolph and another to Lionel Hollins, who almost got a second one for kicking a basketball. He wound up and looked set to deliver a David Beckham "esque" free kick to the fans sitting court side across from the Memphis bench, but wisely stopped and innocently tapped the ball to referee. As Hollins tried his best to motivate and will his team past a depleted Wizards roster, John Wall reminded everyone of what kind of player he can be. Last night was John Wall's coming out party, and everyone in the DMV and in Memphis, Tennessee was invited to witness. He answered all his critics and now seems poised on taking the next step. The Wizards are now 21-16 with Wall in the line up and if not for just a couple more road wins, they would be right in the thick of the 8th seed playoff chase even despite that 4-28 start. In a league where one player can elevate your team from the black hole of the NBA to being a playoff contender, John Wall looks like he's set on proving to people that he can be that franchise player to elevate Washington towards the NBA's postseason on a consistent basis. With their staring 5 seemingly set for next season, the Wizards are taking a "no prisoners" type of mentality as the season winds down. They know that they are a playoff team with Wall in the line up and the rest of their starting line up seems to gel perfectly. As a result, they're playing these remaining games with the mindset that they're playing for a playoff spot. They want to show the rest of the league that, even though it might be too late for this season, The Wizards WILL be a force to reckon with next year. These guys have a great balance of veteran leadership, energetic youth and just the right amount of swagger to make it happen.  They're out on a mission and the objective is next year's NBA post season. "Don't believe me just watch." Go Wiz Kids!
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