Things looked grim early on for the Wizards. In a must-win Game 4 at home against the top-seeded Boston Celtics, Washington looked flat. John Wall was scoreless until midway through the second quarter, and had it not been for timely Otto Porter shooting, Boston may have run away with it.
And then, Wall turned the jets on as he always does.
After starting 0-of-9 from the floor, the Wizards’ All-Star guard poured in 14 second-quarter points to remind the Celtics who the home team was. Wall followed the second with a 13-point, five-assist third quarter, opening up what would become a 121-102 win to tie the series at two apiece.
Wall played every second of a 26-0 run during the third period. And he did it in style, imparting his will onto the Celtics, dominating from everywhere on the floor.
In his best moments, he made Marcus Smart look like silly putty with a calm in-and-out spin that got him to the rack.
On the very next possession, he found Porter on a no-look pass for a layup in transition:
In all, Wall finished with 27 points on 8-of-25 shooting. After his 0-9 start, he shot 50 percent from the floor. Wall threw in 12 assists and five steals to deliver a vicious beatdown to a Boston team that looked far from a squad with the conference’s best record.
This was one of Wall’s signature games.
Wall started off cold, heated up in the second, then was radiant in the third. These are the games that stars are made of.
Isaiah Thomas is a special player, and his ability to create something out of nothing doesn’t go unnoticed. As is Kyrie Irving, who is one of the most gifted scorers the NBA has to offer.
But Wall is the entire package.
He creates shots for himself without forcing it. His head is always up, making the right decision at the right time. Wall is the best point guard in the East and his play this postseason has firmly lodged his name into the discussion with the West’s best, too.
The Wizards have now tied the series after falling behind 2-0 in Boston. They’ll need to pick up a win on the road if they want to dance with the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals.
And if the Celtics want to advance? They’d better find a way to stop Wall, and fast.