John Wall sprains foot in loss to Bull
John Wall lumbered out of the locker room with a walking boot protecting his injured left foot, weary after chasing around Derrick Rose all night. It was his third game in four days, too.
Welcome to the NBA, kid.
Rose scored 15 of his 24 points in the second half, outplaying Wall and leading the Chicago Bulls to a 103-96 victory over the banged-up Washington Wizards on Saturday.
”I’m just trying to make people fear me on the court,” Rose said. ”Being aggressive. Keep on putting pressure on them.”
Joakim Noah had 21 points and nine rebounds for Chicago, which earned its third consecutive victory in its last home game until Dec. 1. The Bulls open a seven-game road trip Tuesday at Houston, clearing out of the United Center so the circus can come to town.
”All the stuff about going on the road and the circus, I’m not concerned about that,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. ”I’m just worried about the next game.”
Before the big show moved into Chicago’s longtime home, Rose and Wall faced off in a matchup of speedy young point guards with similar backgrounds. Both played for John Calipari in college and were selected No. 1 overall by lagging franchises in need of a boost: Rose in 2008 and Wall this year.
Their first regular-season matchup went to Rose, rapidly blossoming into one of the league’s top players in his third season. Wall injured his left foot in the third quarter and returned when the Wizards rallied in the fourth, but could be sidelined for a few days now.
”It’s swollen a little bit,” he said. ”I sprained it. I just got to take some days off and get treatment on it.”
Wall finished with 16 points, six assists and perhaps even more credibility among his teammates, impressed that he felt he had to be on the floor when the Wizards were trying for the comeback win.
”We’re proud that he hurt his foot and came back and gave us what he did,” Gilbert Arenas said.
Wizards forward Yi Jianlian also went down in the third quarter with a bruised right knee and Al Thornton gutted through 25 minutes one night after he left a 93-85 loss to Charlotte with stomach pain.
The Bulls took control with a 13-0 run that started in the second quarter and carried over into the second half. Rose hit two jumpers and Keith Bogans capped the surge with a 3-pointer that made it 59-42 with 7:54 left.
Arenas made seven 3-pointers and finished with a season-high 30 points for Washington, which has lost four of five. Fellow reserve Nick Young finished with 11.
”The positive thing is our guys didn’t give up,” Wizards coach Flip Saunders said. ”We had a group in there at the end that really competed the last quarter.”
Arenas went 4-for-4 from long range and scored 15 in the fourth, powering Washington’s rally. He hit a 3 with 10.9 seconds left to get the Wizards within five, but Rose and Keith Bogans each made two foul shots to help the Bulls hold on for the victory.
Luol Deng had 20 points, nine rebounds and six assists for the Bulls, who forced 23 turnovers, leading to 18 points. Bogans finished with 11.
All the talk before the game was about Rose and Wall, but Saunders downplayed the similarities, pointing to Rose’s experience while praising Wall’s maturity and development. Wall and Rose didn’t seem too interested in the hype either.
”The matchup people are trying to make it a big matchup,” Rose said. ”My thing is just winning basketball games and giving spurts when the team needed something.”
The first half was pretty much a draw, with Wall setting up the highlight play of the night. The ex-Kentucky star threw a perfect lob on the break to JaVale McGee, who slammed it in over Kyle Korver to cut Chicago’s lead to 38-37 with 4:06 left in the second quarter. McGee’s dunk delighted the Wizards’ bench and drew ‘oohs’ from the crowd, but he missed the resulting free throw and Chicago scored the next six points.
Lost in the all the pregame hoopla was the return of Kirk Hinrich, who made his first regular-season appearance in the United Center since he was traded to Washington in June. Hinrich got a round of applause when he stepped on the floor about 90 minutes before the game, and more cheers when the Wizards’ starting lineup was introduced.
”It was really nice,” Hinrich said. ”I’m not really one for that, but it means something that they appreciate the type of player I was.”
Hinrich, the seventh overall pick in the 2003 draft, spent seven seasons in Chicago, averaging 13.4 points while setting the franchise record with 812 3-pointers. The Bulls traded him away to get more salary-cap space, hoping to lure a couple of the marquee free agents that were on the market this summer.
Chicago paid tribute to the former Kansas star during a timeout in the first quarter, showing a montage of his career highlights on the overhead videoboard. He finished with eight points.
Notes: Saunders was adopting a wait-and-see outlook for Yi and Wall. ”We’re like a MASH crew,” he said. … Washington outrebounded Chicago 47-40 one night after the Wizards managed only 30 rebounds against the Bobcats.