John Wall returns to Washington when the Wizards host the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night.
Wall averaged 19 points and 9.2 assists per game while directing the Wizards offense over nine seasons after being selected by Washington as the first pick overall in the 2010 draft.
After being traded to the Rockets in December 2020, Wall sat out the 2021-22 season. He signed with the Clippers and is averaging 12.8 points and 5.8 assists in over 22 minutes per game while coming off the bench and sitting out the second game of back-to-backs.
“I definitely wish I was asked to do more,” Wall told the Washington Post. “The way I played in D.C. helped a lot. I knew to get off the ball when guys needed shots, I knew to push the pace — I knew all of that. But the situation I’m in now, that’s not what this team needs.”
The Rockets and Wall played in Washington during the 2020-’21 season, but no fans were in the stands due to Covid-19, so Saturday night will provide a more appropriate DC homecoming.
“I love the city,” Wall told The Athletic. “Hopefully, it’ll be lit, and we’ll have some fun.”
The Clippers visit Washington having lost four of five after a 115-110 loss to the Miami Heat.
Paul George finished with 29 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Clippers, who went 0-2 on their Florida swing after falling in overtime at Orlando on Wednesday. Reggie Jackson added 20 for the Clippers, while Nicolas Batum and Marcus Morris Sr. each scored 11.
The Clippers were without Kawhi Leonard on the second night of a back-to-back as the team manages his right knee issues.
Washington has lost five in a row and eight of their last nine overall after a 121-111 loss at the Indiana Pacers Friday.
The Wizards got within three points with under six minutes to play, but a lengthy stretch without a field goal was ultimately too much to overcome.
Kristaps Porzingis scored a game-high 29 points on 11-of-13 shooting and added nine rebounds. He has reached the 20-point mark in seven consecutive games. Kyle Kuzma topped the 20-point plateau for the ninth time in his past 10 games, scoring 27 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Reserve Jordan Goodwin added 19.
“We have to bite down and take the positives out of these tough losses that we are going through right now,” Porzingis said. “So that’s got to be our mind-set. It’s not easy to win in this league and we’re seeing that right now.”
The Pacers made 18-of-41 from 3-point range while the Wizards were 10-of-29.
The Wizards remain without Wall’s long-time running mate, Bradley Beal (strained hamstring), and were down to nine players against the Pacers as Will Barton (foot sprain), Rui Hachimura (right ankle soreness) and Delon Wright (right hamstring strain) were also absent.
“I thought our overall effort tonight, in general, was good,” Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “I’m sure guys got a little fatigued, but that’s not an excuse. We have to find a way to gut those minutes out and close it.”
–Field Level Media