Hey, so it turns out having your best player available helps you win basketball games. With John Wall making his long-awaited debut after a prolonged recovery from knee injury, the Wizards put together an impressive 93-83 win over the visiting Atlanta Hawks.
Wall stepped off the bench to a standing ovation mid-way through the first quarter and made his presence felt with a couple early drives to draw fouls. It was the rest of the Wizards' work in the paint, though, that put them ahead. Wall's understudy and running mate -- A.J. Price and Bradley Beal -- knifed repeatedly through the Atlanta defense for inside buckets. The Hawks kept in the game through the first half by hitting six of eleven threes, but collapsed from beyond the arc thereafter.
In the fourth, a lineup featuring Price and Garrett Temple forced a whole mess o' turnovers to keep the Hawks at bay, then Wall re-entered and finally erupted for real. He'd crossed folks up earlier, but not until late did he really make stuff happen. Wall's consecutive driving layups put Washington up ten down the stretch, then a gorgeous behind-the-back pass to a dunking Trevor Ariza iced the Wizards' sixth win of the year. Sixth!
Welcome back, John Wall. So very nice to have you.