John Wall played maybe his best game of the season Monday. Matched up on the elite Deron Williams of Utah, Wall had 19 points (7-of-12 shooting) and a career high 15 assists — one of those a pass to Nick Young in the corner to seal the win with a three. Wall did a good job of getting his teammates the ball in spots they like on the floor.
More importantly, Wall seemed to be in control. At points this season he has seemed to play a little too fast, Monday it seemed like the game slowed down for him a little. There were fewer of the reckless drives and passes, particularly in the second half.
Wall plays with his emotions visible, and in an interesting note in the Washington Post he has asked coach Flip Saunders to help him keep his attitude right by fining him.
Wall had urged Saunders to be harder on him two weeks ago, asking him to keep pushing him to get better, because, “I want to be a great point guard.” He even asked to receive fines whenever he starts to pout, sulk or show frustration during games.
“It ain’t too much,” Wall said of the fines, “but it’s enough to keep my pockets empty. I don’t want to lose that money.”
That’s a pretty mature way to deal with things. And it started to show on the court Monday.
Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.
Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.
Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.