Wall: ‘I just got to do a better job as a leader’
WASHINGTON — Through the start of his seventh season, John Wall has consistently spoken about leadership, specifically his primary role with the Washington Wizards. However, after receiving two ejections in as many games, Wall recognized that if he is to lead his team, he must remain on the floor.
“For me to be the leader,” Wall said Thursday, “I got to be able to stay in games and close out games and lead my team until the end.”
Wall explained how his game-long frustrations boiled over and he decided to commit a hard foul against Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart in the final quarter of Washington’s 118-93 win Wednesday night. After a review, officials ruled the foul as a flagrant-2 — “unnecessary and excessive contact committed by a player against an opponent,” according to the NBA rule book — and Wall was ejected. In the early hours of Thursday morning, Wall sent an apologetic tweet directed at his teammates and coaches.
“In a game like that with five minutes left, the game’s never over. They could’ve had an opportunity to fight back and have a chance to win the game. I just got to do a better job as a leader,” Wall said Thursday at the team’s practice facility.
“That’s not my intentions to be a dirty player or anything. It’s just frustration got into it where things weren’t going the right way. With the game, it was fine, but I’m talking about certain calls and getting beat up. So I let frustration get the best of me.”
After seven games played, Wall leads the NBA with three points from flagrant penalties (two points from the flagrant-2, and another point from his flagrant-1 foul against Memphis Grizzlies veteran Vince Carter on Oct. 30). If Wall’s season total grows to five points, he will automatically be suspended for one game.
“You got to control yourself,” said coach Scott Brooks, who reminded Wall of his point total. “The last thing you want to do is have your points add up or have your technicals add up and miss games. That puts a lot of pressure on your teammates. You want to be able to be there at all times.
“Part of being a good basketball player and a good basketball team is keeping your composure in some tough situations. When you’re up 20, nothing should bother you. The only thing you should be focusing on is closing out the game and thinking about the game. He’s learned from it and he’s moved on.
“He’s a very competitive guy, which I like. I don’t ever want to take that away from him. I like that about him. I want him to keep doing that.” Tonight, 7 TV: Comcast SportsNet