Wall moves past trade, falling 29 in return to DC

To John Wallreturns to Washington DC for the first time since Wizards traded him to Houston Rockets brought standard emotions with it, but it also brought something else: closure.

“I think I talked to The Athletic about what I wanted to get out of my chest and let the past be the past,” Wall said after Monday’s 131-119 tab to the wizards. “Other than that, I’m no longer talking about being with the guides or anything else.”

Wall referred to an interview he did before his return, in which he said he felt there was a lack of honesty and transparency from the Wizards’ front office, leading to the trade that sent him to Houston in December in exchange for Russell Westbrook.

Wall said his memories of his time in Washington will concentrate more on his involvement in society, where he was a fixture in several different programs.

“I have good things I did that I will continue to do and remember that I did, from being with Miyah [a 6-year-old girl Wall befriended who died of cancer in 2015], Bright Beginnings, my adopted school in Ketcham Elementary. The fifth graders know I have an agreement with them, I will continue, “he said. I won [NBA] Community Assist Award helps DC

“Those are the things I want to keep talking about, but anything with the Wizards or how the deal went down or the like, that article was the last time I talked about it. I’m past it and moving forward with my new franchise. “

The Wizards showed a tribute video in the first half acknowledging Wall and his 10 years with the franchise, most notably his work in the DC area community. But without fans in the building, it would not have the same weight that a typical return game – especially for a fan favorite like Wall – would normally have.

“It was hard. I played for the fans; I played for the city,” Wall said. “I’m an emotional and passionate person. I’ve been for 10 years. I wanted to see these guys and see them here to support me.

“It was definitely hard to have my first game back in DC with my mom in the stands,” Wall said of his late mother, Frances Pulley. “She’s been there with me for everything and it was hard to know she was not here. She would probably have been in row 10, section G – or front row if she was fine. I did not have the opportunity. to have it, but I know she’s keeping an eye on me and very proud of me for the comeback I had. But it would have been dope to see her there. “

Wall scored 29 points to go along with 11 assists in 35 minutes, but with key Houston players out (Christian Wood, Victor Oladipo, PJ Tucker and Eric Gordon) pulled the Wizards away in the second half to give the Rockets their sixth straight loss.

It was the second time Wall played against his former team, which diluted some of the emotions, he said.

“It was cool, really. I wasn’t that worried about it. We’ve already played them once,” he said. “I think it would have been different if the fans were there, but the fans weren’t there. It was good to compete and see some of the guys I messed with. That was it.”

Despite no fans, Wall said it was nice to see famous faces in the arena, but he regretted the disappearances.

“I know a few people throughout this arena today who have supported me since I was a kid for 10 years that I didn’t get a chance to see because they were fired because of the pandemic,” Wall said. “I wish them the best. I know they played an important role in me becoming a young boy for a grown man.

“If I have the opportunity when I come back next year and there are fans, I will definitely get these people in the stands. So I look forward to buying many tickets to people who have looked out and helped me grow. to whom I am today, and let them know that I have not forgotten them. “

Wall had the energy to go early, played an electric first half and punctured it with a signature, cloud-right left-handed thump that ended with a loud shout. Wall scored 22 of his 29 in the opening half, but with the offensive burden almost entirely falling on him, the Rockets were unable to keep up with the Wizards’ firepower.

Bradley Beal scored 37 on 14-of-24 shooting for Washington, while Westbrook added another triple-double to the books: 16 points, 13 rebounds and 15 assists.

“We go for it. We compete. We protect each other, push each other,” Beal said of his former teammate Wall. “Even tonight we push each other, tell each other to be better and protect each other. It’s just competitive. It’s just who we are; it’s our nature. I think that was what pushed us a little bit to be who we are, who we both are today, and that’s a beautiful thing.

“So I’m definitely looking forward to just competing against him for the rest of my career, as crazy as it may sound.”

Several places during the competition, Wall talked and laughed with Beal. The two had built a backbone bond, grown up together and developed their partnership to both become All-Star level guards.

“I think he embraces it. He enjoys it,” Wall said of Beal. “I think he wishes he was on the other side of being there with me because of all the hard work and dedication we’ve put in over the last two years.”

Wall missed the entire final season due to a ruptured Achilles tendon that suffered in February 2019, leaving many wondering what kind of player he would be when he returned. It was a driving factor in the exchange of Westbrook, with Walls heavy contract and health concerns looming over his future.

But the 30-year-old guard has returned to a high level with an average of 19.5 points and 5.9 assists per game. Fight for the Rockets. Asked if he enjoyed showing what he can still do and what he could possibly have done with the Wizards, Wall was short and to the point.

“Yes. They see it,” he said. “They’ve seen it all season.”

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