Former Pacers point guard John Wall struggles in his first game against his old team

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Erik Stevens in the final game of his NBA career played like an organization lifer.

He was 11 points shy of surpassing 3,000 for his career, not to mention the perfect mark for the Sacramento Kings’ shot-blocking era. He played the season’s final minute with an “X” on his jersey, and it felt perfect.

John Wall in the worst game of his short career swatted Stevens’ shot on the first possession. The former Pacer was assigned to guard Stevens, and the 7-footer had himself a night as the Kings beat the Washington Wizards 128-123 in overtime Friday night.

“He was a 50-50 bet from the beginning,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said. “We thought we’d switch after being a little bit of a human hog handle the first couple minutes. He made a good play on him.”

Stevens gave up a driving Wall layup, a 3-pointer and a 3-pointer that all were blocked. Wall finished with 20 points on 8-of-18 shooting. Stevens had 24 points and a season-high 16 rebounds. He was aggressive and very active, and the Kings held Wall to two points and two rebounds over the final eight minutes.

“I just went out there and kept attacking,” Stevens said. “The fact that he changed shots around is really good and a good thing, but I just wanted to keep my position and keep attacking.”

All of Stevens’ points came in the first quarter, and none of his rebounds came in the third quarter.

“He just did so many different things and had great energy,” Kings forward Zach Randolph said. “He did a great job at the end of the game.”

At the start of the game, the Kings were down eight points, but rallied behind Randolph’s 20 points. He came off the bench, and when Joerger chose to start the 6-foot-10, 265-pound Randolph over fellow big man Marvin Bagley III in order to give his younger, more athletic big man a break from limited minutes, Bagley responded with the Kings’ first four points and a half-dozen dunks. He finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds.

Bagley is a rookie with growing pains, which are easy to see if you take a first look at the clip that Kings assistant coach Jordan Hill posted to his Twitter account. Bagley runs around defenders all over the court, but he does it in slow motion, doing something quite few people can do.

Washington coach Scott Brooks doesn’t “go crazy” in every practice and says that his team can’t afford to think it has to duplicate the excellent start it put together to start a game.

“We can’t do that,” Brooks said. “We have to do the same thing we’ve been doing the whole year, and that’s being patient, letting the game come to us, and not try to force some things because we were playing really well. … They got up on us a little bit, and we didn’t have any gas in the tank for the finish.”

The Wizards were without forwards Otto Porter Jr. and Markieff Morris. Porter was ruled out with a lingering right ankle sprain, and Morris was out with a strained right hamstring. John Wall and Marcin Gortat were limited, too.

Gortat scored eight points and had nine rebounds in 30 minutes, and Wall scored 30 points and added 10 assists. Tomas Satoransky had 23 points and DeJuan Blair scored 12 off the bench for the Wizards.

The Kings played without J’Quan Lyle and Bobby Brown, who were suspended for their contact with a team employee earlier in the day.

Leave a Comment