To John Wall, his struggles on Wednesday night against Detroit were easy to explain.
“Just not making shots,” Wall said. “That’s all I can say.”
But the problems are much more complicated to anyone who saw his body language during and after a 96-95 loss to the Pistons. He threw his hands up after Trevor Booker dropped one of his first-half passes, angrily got back on defense after a teammate missed a shot, and sulked as he watched much of the fourth quarter on the bench. Afterward, Wall couldn’t hide his frustration and disappointment as he discussed after another poor performance.
Wall had seven turnovers for the third time in his past seven games and missed 6 of 9 shots in the loss but didn’t acknowledge how that performance contributed to the loss. He the Wizards didn’t play like a team, as they did in previous games and blamed his miscues on his teammates being unable to catch his passes.
“I don’t know,” Wall said, when asked about the reason for his seven turnovers. “I think you’re seeing the same thing I’m seeing, so I can’t really call it.”
Coaches and players tried to help Wall break out of his funk during the game, but the wall he put up was impenetrable.
“When he’s in a zone, he’s hard to get to sometimes,” rookie Bradley Beal said. “But that’s just the type of player he is. I’m kind of like that. I get frustrated and upset. You probably won’t hear from me about it, but it’s a learning process for him. It’s a learning process for me and everyone else. Sometimes, the older guys don’t have good games and we tell them to stick with it. They’ll either listen or not. It’s up to the player. You can tell him, but you can’t make him.”
When Wall returned from a stress injury in his left knee in mid-January, the Wizards initially won because of his emotion, playmaking and high energy. He had a game-saving block against Denver, led a failed comeback in San Antonio and had a virtuoso performance against the New York Knicks, with Magic Johnson looking on.