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Reactions to John Wall’s NBA debut last night:
Michael Lee of the Washington Post: “It didn’t take long for Wall to realize that this league is on a much different level, and that the separation between the Washington Wizards and the Orlando Magic is much greater. Wall’s speedy drives to the basket were greeted by a muscle-bound, 6-foot-11 wall named Dwight Howard. His open jumpers rarely fell, his teammates couldn’t hit shots, either, and the Wizards were embarrassed, 112-83. ‘For my first game to be a road game against a team that went to the Finals two years ago, it’s pretty tough,’ Wall said after scoring 14 points with nine assists in 35 minutes. ‘We knew it was going to be a tough game and we came up pretty short. As a team, we have a lot to work on.’”
More from Michael Lee of the WP: “It was an unusual performance for Wall, who typically looks for his teammates first but fell into the Magic’s trap. When speaking about Wall before the game, Stan Van Gundy said, ‘In terms of his speed on the floor, he’s up there with anybody in the league.’ Since the Magic knew that it couldn’t keep up with the 20-year-old lightening bolt, Van Gundy decided to have point guard Jameer Nelson step back as far as he could, giving Wall as much room as he wanted for jumpers. Of Wall’s 13 misses, eight came from 17 feet or beyond. ‘He was wide open. It’s not like he took bad shots,’ Saunders said.”
Adam Figman of Slam Online: “In his first NBA game, John Wall didn’t exactly fly over the bar Blake Griffin set the night before. After the Clippers‘ rookie astounded fans and garnered some (very) early Rookie of the Year buzz, Wall failed to match Griff against an Orlando team that made a helluva first impression. The Wizards’ guard finished with a modest 14 points (6-19 from field) and 9 assists, though to his credit, got little-to-no help from, well, anyone.”
Jason Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Wizards point guard John Wall, the top overall pick in June’s draft, scored 14 points and dished out nine assists. But he made only six of his 19 shot attempts. ‘I thought we kept Wall under control until very late in the game,’ Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said.
Mike Bianchi of the Sentinel: “Even Tiger Woods came out of seclusion to be here his first Magic game since another not-so-festive Thursday night 11 months ago. I guess it’s true: This new arena truly has brought the community closer together even a disgraced golfer who hasn’t been out in public in nearly a year. I wasn’t there when the expansion Magic opened up the old arena 21 years ago, but it couldn’t have been any more fervent and festive than this. And by this, I mean Thursday night’s hellacious hoops housewarming when the Orlando Magic trounced the Washington Generals, er, Wizards 112-83 and lifted the curtain not only on a new building but on a new attitude.”