The response Joakim Noah had for John Wall, after he made an incredible circus shot, said it all. "That's some real bullshit you hit, though," Noah said with a smile as he walked past the Wizards' locker room Jan. 17. He stopped briefly to shake Wall's hand, and didn't even have to preface his comments because Wall knew exactly what he meant.
It marked the Wizards' second win in a row. The Bulls had traded Luol Deng two weeks earlier but were on a hot streak. In their first nine games, they'd won seven. The two losses came vs. Washington.
All of that comes back to Wall, who averaged 21 points, shooting 50% and eight assists in three meetings vs. an elite defensive team. He can break down defenses, wreak havoc by playing with pace and getting teammates involved. When all of those things happen, the results usually are good for the Wizards. And Wall can make shots like this to inspire.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau devised a plan in their last regular season meeting, won 96-78, to blitz Wall and Bradley Beal to force the ball out of their hands. It worked.
"You’re not going to slow him one-on-one. We need five guys sprinting back, making him play in a crowd," Thibodeau told CSN Chicago's Aggrey Sam about Wall. "He still has the ability to make good plays. His speed is terrific. Makes and misses, they push it hard. We have to be ready for that.”