John Wall got the message. He played better Friday against the New York Knicks.
Unfortunately for him, the Wizards lost their second game in a row 96-88 at Verizon Center. Power forward Nene has missed both games with a shoulder injury.
“I feel like I lost the game for us, a couple turnovers in the fourth quarter in transition,” said Wall, who had a game-high five giveaways, including two of the Wizards’ four in the last five minutes when they trailed at one point 87-86. “Sometimes the calls go your way and sometimes they don’t. I put the game on my hands.”
Wall had seven turnovers in just 24 minutes of a 96-95 loss to the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.
The Wizards played more inspired this time, after coach Randy Wittman blasted his players for questioning his rotation and their minutes during the loss to Detroit.
Friday’s game featured four technical foul calls and bodies frequently spilling to the floor. The effort was there, but the execution down the stretch was not.
Wall finished with 16 points on 6-for-14 shooting and six assists. In his previous three games he was just 10-for-30 shooting.
“The last couple of games I turned it over too much and was being passive,” he said. “I wanted to be more aggressive.”
Wall went at Jason Kidd, the Knicks’ 39-year-old point guard. Along with backcourt mate Bradley Beal, Wall spearheaded a third-quarter comeback after the Wizards fell behind 67-56. The Wizards went on a 21-6 spurt and entered the fourth ahead 77-73.
Mistakes caught up to the Wizards, however, as they only shot 19-for-29 from the foul line.
“It was a tight game. We needed to get a shot attempt and we didn't. But our guys battled. I don’t have a complaint about that,” Wittman said. “We stayed with what we wanted to do and did a good job of it. Against a team like this, you can’t miss 10 free throws. … We have to be better at the free-throw line and take care of the ball down in crunch time.”