Wizards reactions after OT loss
John Wall wasn't in the mood to revisit what happened in Wednesday night's overtime loss to the Boston Celtics, but he was called to the principal's office Thursday before the Wizards left for a four-game West coast trip that begins Friday at the Phoenix Suns (CSN+, 9 p.m. ET).
Wall took 29 shots in the 113-111 defeat at Verizon Center. That's 13 more than Bradley Beal, 21 more than Trevor Ariza and Marcin Gortat, 15 more than Nene and 20 more than Martell Webster. Coach Randy Wittman had a sitdown with Wall and went over the video.
"John's a competitor. I sat down and talked with him," Wittman said. "It's not a malicious thing. He wanted to try to take over the game for us. Sometimes you try so hard it's counterproductive because he's the one guy that can get a lot of guys shots, get them into a rhythm especially at the start of the game. That's what he's got to try to continue to do. When he does that, they're in a rhythm. John's going to get his opportunities. The ball is in his hands."
Wall saw Phil Pressey, a generously listed 5-foot-11 undrafted rookie making the second start of his career because Rajon Rondo was resting his surgically repaired right knee, and decided to take over. It not only ruined the offensive flow but Pressey scored a career-high 20 points, including his fifth three-pointer with less than one minute left in overtime for a 111-108 lead.
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"Last night was really the first time in a while I saw in his heart that he was going to try to do it his own," Wittman said of Wall, who otherwise has had an All-Star caliber season. "I like that competitiveness in him because he's not scared of the moment. But sometimes your biggest strength can be your biggest weakness. That turned into that last night. I think he sees it. We sat and talked and looked and saw the different areas, especially early where guys that need to get involved need to get involved."
For his part, Wall admitted that he took too many shots. Wittman nor his teammates called him out by name, but the stat sheet didn't like. That Wall owned his mistake immediately is a step in the right direction. In the past, when Wittman would seem to question his decision-making or leadership, Wall would issue a shoulder shrug.
"That's part of being a leader. The leader has to take the good with the bad. I've got to show through him, you hold your best player accountable just like you would your 15th player. He's done a good job with that," Wittman said. "This wasn't in his mind, 'I'm just going to do this on my own.' He saw the struggles we were (having) and kind of put it on his own shoulders. We got to make sure we don't do that."