Final / OT
9:00 PM ET, March 28, 2011
EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
He ensured that, scoring a game-high 28 points Monday as the Wizards beat the struggling Utah Jazz, 100-95 in overtime for only their second road win of the season.
The Wizards avoided sharing the dubious honor with Sacramento, which holds the NBA record for fewest road victories as the Kings went 1-40 in 1990-1991.
"It's great," Wall said. "We didn't want to go in the record books. But we also wanted to compete. Coach wanted to know who was going to come out here and compete on back-to-backs."
Coming off a loss Sunday night at Golden State and with five players out because of injury, the task fell to rookies Jordan Crawford and Wall.
Wall, feeding off the energy from his Final Four-bound Kentucky Wildcats, carried the load early. He scored 24 of his 28 points in the first half as Washington took a 51-43 lead.
Then, Crawford, a rookie out of Xavier, stepped in. He hit a 15-footer with 4.4 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime, then made two key steals at the beginning of overtime. Maurice Evans also scored seven of his 12 points in overtime
Of Crawford's 25 points, eight came in the fourth quarter and four were in overtime.
"It was great," JaVale McGee said. "Everybody was happy, jumping around, clapping hands."
The loss, meanwhile, dropped the Jazz to a new low. It was their sixth straight as they fell to 36-39.
"It don't hurt no more than it did against the second-best team in the West, the Mavericks," Jazz forward Paul Millsap said referring to Saturday night's fourth-quarter collapse. "It's losing, period."
C.J. Miles led the Jazz with 17 points, but he shot only 3 of 12 from 3-point range and was 1 of 4 in overtime.
"It's frustrating especially because they were open shots," said Miles, who has made only 7 of 34 from 3-point range in the last five games.
But Hayward and Evans both made key turnovers in overtime for the Jazz.
"The young guys were playing well," said Jazz coach Ty Corbin, now 5-16 since replacing the retired Jerry Sloan. "They played hard and I thought they deserved to be on the floor."
Still, the loss gave Washington a series sweep. The Wizards won, 108-101 on Jan. 17. At the time, few realized it was the beginning of the end for the Jazz.
They were 27-13 going into that game, but have gone 9-26 since to fall out of the playoff hunt.
It didn't help Monday that they made only 10 of 21 free throws.
Al Jefferson had 16 rebounds (10 in the first quarter), to go along with his 15 points, but he was on the bench late as the Jazz started looking to the future.
The Jazz's youth movement didn't surprise Wall.
"Sometimes you've got to switch it up and see if you can find a spark," Wall said. "Coach did that with us. One time, he had all five rookies on the court. They just found a spark, got them back into the game (and Corbin) did a good job of keeping them in, let them keep fighting and they took the lead. Luckily, we made a shot down the stretch to go into overtime."
The Wizards entered having lost 10 straight on the road and were 1-35 overall on the road this season, their lone win coming at hapless Cleveland.
Now they have two road wins.
"The rookies definitely stepped up," said McGee, who finished with 11 points and 17 rebounds. "But I don't consider them rookies anymore. It's the second half of the season. They're damn near vets."
The Wizards led 51-43 at halftime thanks to an impressive effort by Wall, who had 20 points in the first 16 minutes and 24 in the half. He made 10 of his first 11 shots and all four free throws in the half.
Wall leads all rookies in assists at 8.7 per game and ranks second among rookies in scoring (16.1) But with so many players injured, he has been asked to score more.
Wall admitted he's been feeding off Kentucky and March Madnesss. He entered Monday's game averaging 18.5 points, 7.5 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists in March.
Jazz veteran Earl Watson was outmatched against the rookie. On one play, Wall left Watson sliding backward on the ground. On another, Wall drove the lane then spun right past Watson for an easy layup.
He didn't feel sorry for Watson.
"This whole year, guys have been coming at me because I'm a rookie and they aren't going to hold nothing back because of my age," Wall said.
The Wizards were without five players: Nick Young, Andray Blatche, Josh Howard, Rashard Lewis and Trevor Booker. Young, who scored 25 points in the first game against Utah, sat out the second half Sunday night against Golden State because of a bruised left knee.
Andrei Kirilenko missed his third straight game and remains on crutches because of bruising to a nerve in his left knee.
G Raja Bell suffered a sprained right foot in the second half. X-rays were negative. ... Corbin had a private meeting with Jefferson before Sunday's practice to discuss Jefferson's ejection in the final minute against Dallas. "We talked about; it's over," Corbin said. ... Wall's 24 points in the first half were the most by a Jazz opponent this season, topping the 24 LeBron James scored in December.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||36-92 (.391)||39-93 (.419)|
|3PM-3PA||6-26 (.231)||7-24 (.292)|
|FTM-FTA||22-29 (.759)||10-21 (.476)|
|Fast Break Points||19||8|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||25 (0/0)||25 (0/0)|