John Wall Says Bench Was Wizards' 'Downfall,' Wishes Kelly Oubre Played More

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 28, 2017

BOSTON, MA -  MAY 15:  John Wall #2 and Head Coach Scott Brooks of the Washington Wizards look on during Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2017 NBA Playoffs on May 15, 2017 at TD Garden in BOSTON, MA. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Washington Wizards point guard John Wall is stuck at home with the NBA Finals on the horizon, and he pointed the finger of blame at his bench on Sunday.

"We need to help our bench," per CSN's Chase Hughes (h/t Dan Feldman of NBC Sports). "Just to be honest, that was our downfall in each series that we had in the [Eastern Conference] semifinals, our bench got out played."

He also took issue with Kelly Oubre's playing time.

"I think Kelly Oubre could've played a little bit more. … But Coach [Scott Brooks] makes the decision, and we stick behind him 100 percent."

Wall and the Wizards lost to the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the second round after a six-game battle with the Atlanta Hawks in the first. Oubre averaged just 6.5 points per game against Boston but shot 51.6 percent from the field and reached double figures in three of the seven contests.

Wall finished Game 7 with a respectable 18 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds after he drilled the winning three in Game 6, but he appeared to run out of gas and missed his last 11 shots from the field.

Feldman noted Washington played its starters 34.2 minutes per game together in the playoffs, second only to the Indiana Pacers (who lasted just four contests against the Cleveland Cavaliers).

Even though Feldman also pointed out Washington's starting lineup outscored opponents by 4.7 points per 100 possessions, other lineups featuring the bench got outscored by 15.5 points per 100 possessions, and the additional time on the court likely cost Wall his legs with the season on the line.

"I heard Marcus Smart say after the game that I had no legs," Wall said. "He's basically right. I don't make excuses. I'm going to play. If I miss shots or make shots, I'll live with it. I know people will say he finished 0-for-11, but I play—it took everything I had in me to keep fighting."

These comments come after Wall said "Forty-eight to five—our bench had five points," following the Game 7 defeat, per Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com.

Talent was not a question in Washington's starting lineup, and Beal even said "Cleveland didn't want to see us," via Hughes. Perhaps Washington would have given LeBron James and the Cavaliers a better test than the five games Boston did, but the bench struggles helped prevent that from happening.

Wall certainly noticed.


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