Wall looks to aid ailing Wizards vs. 76ers
Veteran point guard John Wall appears to be getting healthier. The struggling Washington Wizards can only hope to say the same.
Wall, who leads the team in scoring (22.3) and assists (8.3), underwent surgery on both knees in May and has not played games on consecutive days in the early stages of this season. CSN Washington reported Tuesday, however, that Wall is approaching the point where such restrictions might be lifted.
Washington, which is 2-7 and in last place in the NBA's Southeast Division, plays the first half of a back-to-back Wednesday night on the road against the Philadelphia 76ers (1-9). The Wizards host the New York Knicks on Thursday.
Bradley Beal, the Wizards' other starting guard, has missed the last two games with tightness in his right hamstring. He practiced Monday, however, and told the Washington Post he hopes to play versus Philadelphia.
"It's not great," said Beal, the Wizards' second-leading scorer (15.4). "It's not 1,000 percent, but it's pretty close."
Without Wall and Beal, the Wizards dropped a 106-95 decision to Chicago on Saturday night. After the game, starting center Marcin Gortat told reporters that Washington has "one of the worst benches in the league right now."
The Washington Post reported that Gortat apologized to his teammates Monday, and that coach Scott Brooks was quick to extinguish the brushfire.
"I look at things from a whole," Brooks told the newspaper. "When I played, I was a backup, and I didn't like to be divided. We don't have two teams here, we have one basketball team, and right now we're not happy and content on being 2-7."
Brooks, in his first year with the Wizards after seven as the Oklahoma City Thunder's head coach, spent 10 seasons in the NBA as a reserve point guard, the first two of those with Philadelphia.
The Sixers beat Indiana in overtime last Friday for their lone victory of the season, snapping a 44-game losing streak in October/November games. They fell 117-96 the next night in Atlanta, and were beaten 115-88 Monday night in Houston, running their road losing streak to 20 contests. That equals the second-longest skid in franchise history.
"Tonight, we just didn't really fight," veteran guard Gerald Henderson told the Philadelphia Inquirer after the loss to the Rockets. "As a defense, you need to be locked in ... on their individual players, their tendencies, and all that stuff.
"We got physically (and) just effort-wise, dominated."
Rookie center Joel Embiid continues to excel, averaging team highs of 18 points and 7.3 rebounds despite being limited to 24 minutes a game as a precaution. Embiid, the third overall pick in the 2014 draft, missed two seasons while recovering from a pair of foot surgeries.
Philadelphia will be without forward Ben Simmons, the top overall pick in the 2016 draft, until at least January following foot surgery. Center/forward Nerlens Noel (knee surgery) and guard Jerryd Bayless (wrist) have also yet to play this season, though the latter was assigned on Monday to the Sixers' NBA Development League team, the Delaware 87ers. He hopes to return by the end of the month.
The Wizards have been without backup center Ian Mahinmi (torn medial meniscus, left knee) through their first nine games.