After 10 seasons as a Washington Wizard, John Wall made his first appearance in a visiting uniform at Capital One Arena when the Houston Rockets traveled to the nation's capital on Monday.
He was warmly received with a tribute video from his former team, but left with a loss after being outdueled by friend and former backcourt mate Bradley Beal.
Beal tallied 37 points, eight rebounds and three assists as the Wizards beat a shorthanded Rockets team playing without Christian Wood and Victor Oladipo, 131-119.
Wall came out of gates inspired, posting 22 points and seven assists in the first half. But his final tally of 29 points, 11 assists and three rebounds wasn't enough to overcome the big game by Beal. A 1-for-7 effort from 3-point distance didn't help Houston's cause.
Wizards roll out welcome mat for Wall
Before tipoff, the Wizards welcomed Wall back with a tribute video featuring his contributions to the community and some of his top highlights over his 10-year stint in Washington that included five All-Star appearances.
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) February 16, 2021
It was a welcome that would have surely been echoed by Wizards fans had they been in attendance. But he'll have to wait for that reception on another night as fans are still prohibited at Wizards home games amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the game, it was all love between Beal and Wall.
All love between John Wall and Bradley Beal 🤝
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 16, 2021
Wall's played well in recovery from Achilles injury
Wall was a rare bright spot in Washington for the better part of nine seasons before injuries stunted his tenure and cost him all of last season. The Wizards traded Wall to the Rockets in the offseason in a deal that sent Russell Westbrook to Washington in return.
Westbrook came up big in Monday's win, tallying 16 points, 15 assists and 13 rebounds.
Wall, 30 and coming off an Achilles tear, has flashed much of the form that made him an All-Star since joining Houston, averaging 19.5 points and 5.9 assists while shooting a career-best 37.5% from 3-point distance in 17 games with the Rockets prior to Monday.
He showed off his renewed athleticism early in Monday's game.
Wall not happy with exit from Washington
“I felt like I deserved the honesty and respect because I’ve been there for 10 years. I’ve been through the bad times, when we had s****y teams and when we had good teams in D.C.,” Wall told The Athletic. “I never turned my back on the organization. I played through damn near every injury that a lot of people wouldn’t have played through. I played through broken hands in the playoffs. I think I did everything I could and gave everything I had, heart and soul to the organization on and off the court."
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