With all the hype surrounding the new Star Wars film, The Last Jedi, releasing today, it seemed only fitting that John Wall would make his return last night in dramatic fashion for the Washington Wizards’ victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. Wall, who has missed the past nine games with some left knee soreness, came back when the Wizards needed him the most. The Wizards, who currently sit in first place in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference at 15-13, have had some serious ups and downs without their star point guard.
JOHN WALL IS BACK THROWING DOWN LEFTY DUNKS, Y'ALL.
— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) December 14, 2017
In the nine game absence, coach Scott Brooks made several lineup adjustments, with mixed results. Tim Frazier and Tomas Satoransky did their best in filling in at the starting point guard position during Wall’s absence, but it’s asking a lot of this team to continue to roll along without their most important player. The Wizards went 4-5 during this stretch, with Bradley Beal carrying the scoring load for the majority of the games, and Otto Porter Jr. playing his part in keeping the team afloat.
The Wizards are working on how to get by — and maintain a winning record — without John Wall. The point guard explained Friday he's doing all he can to hustle his way back.https://t.co/reeAzSlO9f
— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) December 1, 2017
The Wizards are hoping now that with John Wall back, and four more home games in a row on their schedule, they can get on a bit of a roll to maintain their division lead and begin to climb up the Eastern Conference standings. The East looked weak at first, with Boston losing Gordon Hayward to injury and Cleveland struggling to find wins, but both teams have solved their early season woes in major ways, and find themselves still the class of the Eastern Conference.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) December 13, 2017
So just how important is Wall to the Wizards? In Star Wars terms, he is their “force” and the reason for remaining a relevant team in the Eastern Conference. However, in Wall’s return to the court last evening, this team still struggled to maintain the lead they built in first half, and an abysmal third quarter nearly cost them the game. The Wizards will need to find ways to get back to their early season success by fine-tuning their defensive schemes and by looking to Wall for leadership both on and off the court. Time will tell if John Wall and company can do their part to bring balance to the NBA and get the Wizards closer to their championship aspirations.
Photo Credit: NBA.com/Wizards
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