"He's going to be great," Arenas said. "He has a knack for finding people and getting to the basket. ... He's Batman, I'm Robin."
More on the Mavericks
News, notes and analysis of the Mavericks from ESPNDallas.com's Tim MacMahon, Jean-Jacques Taylor and our team. Blog »ESPN Dallas »
Wall had 21 points and nine assists, Lester Hudson hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds remaining, and the Wizards held on to beat the Dallas Mavericks 97-94 on Tuesday night in the preseason opener for both teams.
Wall, the former Kentucky point guard who was the No. 1 pick in the draft, displayed speed and passing skills, offering hope he can help the Wizards improve on last season's 26-56 record.
"Overall, John kind of led us," Washington coach Flip Saunders said. "He's got unbelievable speed, makes good decisions, ends up with nine assists and only two turnovers."
At the morning shootaround, Saunders predicted Wall would be involved in "three or four" spectacular plays, and Wall didn't disappoint.
"I had a couple," said Wall, whose ability to penetrate earned him 11 trips to the foul line, converting nine. "But the most important thing was to get the jitters out of the way. I had a lot of assists and was able to get to the free throw line."
• John Wall shined in his preseason debut, scoring 21 points, dishing out nine assists, and only turning the ball over twice in 36 minutes.
• Andray Blatche led the Wizards with 22 points, while Gilbert Arenas chipped in 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting.
• Dirk Nowitzki played just 21 minutes and finished with 11 points and five rebounds for the Mavericks.
-- ESPN Stats & Information
Arenas started alongside Wall in the backcourt and scored 12 points in 26 minutes after being limited in training camp by a sprained right ankle. The Wizards' most effective lineup was a three-guard set with Wall, Arenas and Kirk Hinrich.