Washington Wizards star point guard John Wall wasn't an efficient scorer against the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night at the Verizon Center, but he nevertheless notched a triple-double in his team's 109-89 victory over Anthony Davis and Co.
Wall was a proficient distributor on the night, dishing out 11 assists to only two turnovers, and he crashed the glass better than usual to corral 12 boards. However, he scored just 16 points on 5-of-17 shooting and missed 11 of his first 13 shots from the field.
The Wizards shared the pretty three-pointer Wall drained from the top of the key to seal the triple-double:
Washington's star floor general deserves credit for finding other ways to make an impact when his shot wasn't falling. Driving into the paint was a challenge with Davis patrolling down low, yet he still managed to carve out a stellar all-around game.
After collecting a strong rebound in the third quarter, Wall undressed Pelicans wing Dante Cunningham and found a trailing Jared Dudley in transition before draining one of his three triples to cap off the sequence:
Dudley was on the receiving end of an earlier highlight-reel play from Wall and converted that time around—one of six three-pointers for him on the night:
If there were style points for assists, Wall would have racked up even gaudier numbers with some of his plays, including this long-range pass that led to an easy bucket for Bradley Beal:
Regardless of how poorly Wall shot for much of the contest, he still made a noticable difference and ultimately served as the catalyst for a blowout victory.
Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post highlighted how Wall did far more good than bad Tuesday:
John Wall has his 2nd triple-double of the month: 11p, 11a, 11r. Shooting just 3/15 but he's a plus-23.— Jorge Castillo (@jorgeccastillo) February 24, 2016
For those inclined to dismiss Wall's achievement because of his inefficient shooting, achieving a triple-double by any means is no easy feat. It takes a truly elite player to reach double digits in three categories.
ESPN Stats & Info noted the rare company the 25-year-old joined by notching his second triple-double of the season:
John Wall is the 7th player with multiple triple-doubles this season (Green, Westbrook, Rondo, Whiteside, Curry, Harden)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 24, 2016
Michael Jenkins of Comcast SportsNet hinted at how Wall is often overlooked as one of the NBA's premier players:
If a three-time All-Star can be underrated, then John Wall is your guy. Impressive performance by the #Wizards.— Michael Jenkins (@JenksCSN) February 24, 2016
Wall indeed may not get his fair due, but in all fairness, Washington only improved its record to 26-29 after beating New Orleans. The Wizards, who entered the evening 10th in the Eastern Conference, still have plenty of work to do to get back into the postseason conversation.
While Wall's achievement against the Pelicans can't be diminished, he needs to maintain a high level of play over the final two months of the season for Washington to earn its third straight playoff berth.
The Wizards face a golden opportunity in that regard Wednesday, as they're set to take on the East's current No. 8 seed, the Chicago Bulls. Wall will have a chance to showcase his skills against former league MVP Derrick Rose at the United Center in Chicago.
Before discussing his strong individual effort, Wall spoke about Washington's defense. The Wizards held their opponent to under 90 points for the third game in their last four tries but still had room to improve, according to the franchise floor general:
Wall also spoke about how tough it was for his team to play back-to-back-to-back games right after the All-Star break.
Wizards big man Marcin Gortat discussed how Wall has been close quite often in prior triple-double bids and implied the milestone would boost his confidence:
Hoop District relayed what head coach Wizards Randy Wittman had to say regarding Wall's outing and implied the star would still look for ways to be better.
"If you talk to John, he'll say 'Man, I didn't play very good,'" said Wittman.
As Washington continues to deal with injuries and fights to scrap its way back into the East playoff picture, Wall must be at the forefront of a hopeful post-All-Star break turnaround. He had to be encouraged by how well his teammates supported him against the Pelicans, though.
Dudley was dialed in from distance, and Gortat contributed 21 points, 12 boards and two blocks while helping limit Davis to nine points on the heels of his 59-point eruption against Detroit. Notching a 20-point win despite subpar shooting nights from Wall, Bradley Beal and Markieff Morris is a great sign for Washington's playoff hopes.