John Wall has defined his career in Washington through his passing genius. Slick deliveries in the pick-and-roll, threaded passes in traffic and no-look specialties to surprised teammates. On Monday night, Wall cemented his legacy as the franchise's all-time best passer.
But he didn't stick around to celebrate the achievement.
In the Wizards' 114-106 loss to the Houston Rockets, Wall had 21 points and eight assists — reaching 3,826 for his career to surpass Wes Unseld to become the Wizards/Bullets all-time assist leader — but also picked up a pair of technical fouls. Wall's second came in the closing 33 seconds after using "inappropriate language" toward a game official.
"I felt that there was contact and that [Wall] bumped me," official Marc Davis said in a statement after the game. "I wasn't certain of his intent. I told him to watch himself. He looked over his shoulder and used vulgarity and inappropriate language and was ejected on his second technical foul."
A fitting moment to crystallize this Wizards' season. Even on a night when so much should be celebrated, Washington finishes in frustration and disbelief after dropping its fifth game in six tries.
"Nobody's happy," Bradley Beal said. "Emotions are a little high. Everybody's mad. We're 1-5. We didn't expect to be like this right now. We just got to figure it out."
When asked what he thought was the problem, Beal quickly responded.
More specifically, the lack of heart and pride in playing defense. As James Harden continued his Most Valuable Player march with 32 points and 15 assists the Rockets shot 51.9 percent overall and 45.9 percent from the 3-point arc.
In contrast, the Wizards struggled to hit shots (41.5 percent). And as the misses piled up, Washington (1-5) appeared to lose its disposition to defend.
"That happens and that's not a good trait for a basketball team," coach Scott Brooks said. "You can't ride the roller coaster of making shots.
"That has to be corrected."
The offense flowed through the first quarter — the Wizards assisted on four of their first seven field goals while the other three came within the paint — but the defense failed to cover the 3-point arc.
Entering the game, Washington ranked near the bottom of the league in allowing opponents to shoot 37.8 percent from beyond the arc. The Wizards didn't break that trend in the first quarter, as they consistently challenged late and surrendered five 3-pointers.
Then, the leaky defense spread through other areas as the Wizards' seven-point lead slipped away.
As the Wizards concentrated on stopping Harden in the first half, they must have forgotten that he can pass the ball, too.
Harden, who entered Monday averaging 12.3 assists, had 10 assists before the intermission.
On the other end, the Wizards couldn't hit a shot to help Wall make history. With Wall needing four assists to break the franchise record, Washington did not score for nearly a five-minute stretch near the end of the half.
But as Wall snapped out of it, so did the Wizards' offense. Early in the third quarter, Otto Porter Jr. won a jump ball, tipping the possession to Wall — and history followed. At the 10:15 mark, Wall pushed the fast break and dished his record-breaking assist to Beal for a dunk. With 3,823 out of the way, the Wizards began functioning again.
In the quarter, Wall created 21 points by scoring and sharing the ball — three of his assists led to open 3-point looks for Porter, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Markieff Morris. Even so, Wall threw away two possessions late in the fourth quarter as the Wizards tried to stay close with Houston. Wall looked frustrated after each one and later couldn't contain his emotions and earned an early exit.
Terps' Durkin wants explanation from Big Ten on late hits
Maryland football coach DJ Durkin said Monday that he is trying to get a clarification from the Big Ten Conference about why there was no penalty called on Michigan for what he thought was a late hit on quarterback Perry Hills and why the Terps got whistled for one later in the game. The hit by Wolverines defensive end Chase Winovich in the second quarter of Maryland's 59-3 loss to No. 3 Michigan in Ann Arbor on Saturday knocked Hills out of the game with an undisclosed injury. Asked if he thought the hit on Hills was late, Durkin said in a teleconference with reporters, "Yes, as a late hit is defined. When you compare it to the late hit that was called on us late in the game, I don't know. We definitely sent [the film of the two plays] in for them to look at to get an explanation on. The ball was gone [from Hills' hand] and he was driven into the ground. I put it in the league for clarification for exactly how they're calling it." Hills' status for Saturday's game against No. 6 Ohio State at Maryland Stadium is in question, though Durkin sounded optimistic the fifth-year senior will be back for the game. It also appears the injury is a recurring problem with his right (throwing) shoulder. "Perry will be able to go and practice, but those are always decisions [regarding playing] we'll make as the days go," Durkin said." Durkin also said sophomore running back Ty Johnson, who was injured in the third quarter and remained on the sideline the rest of the game, should be ready to face the Buckeyes.
For more of Don Markus' blog post on Maryland football, go to baltimoresun.com/terps
More Maryland football: The Terps unveiled their Under Armour "Red Ops" uniform to be worn for Saturday's home game against Ohio State. The uniform, which features a red helmet, red pants and a red jersey with black lettering, was inspired by "engineering in reinforced concrete," according to the school.
College field hockey: Towson athletic director Tim Leonard announced that the contract of coach Carly Campana will not be renewed. "We want to thank Carly for her years of service and dedication to the program," Leonard said. "At this time, we feel as though it is necessary to have a change in direction for the program. This is a tough job. We are going to be looking for someone with high energy and who has a vision for what this program can become and turn our liabilities into an asset."Campana compiled a 7-65 record in four seasons. Towson finished 0-6 in Colonial Athletic Association play in each of her four years. … Salisbury will host the winner between Elizabethtown and Kenyon on Saturday in the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament. … Washington College senior midfielder Elizabeth Davis was named to the All-Centennial Conference first team. Johns Hopkins freshman midfielder Katie McErlean, McDaniel junior forward Gabrielle Yore and Washington College senior midfielder Allison Remenapp (Century) were named to the second team. Washington College sophomore goalkeeper Morgan Domanico (Bel Air) received honorable mention.
College football: Navy senior quarterback Will Worth received American Athletic Conference Player of the Week honorable mention. … Towson redshirt freshman running back Shane Simpson was named the Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Week.
Men's college soccer: Loyola Maryland senior Matt Sanchez (McDonogh) was named the Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year, freshman forward Brian Saramago Rookie of the Year and Steve Nichols Coach of the Year. Saramago and Sanchez were also named to the All-Patriot League first team, and sophomore midfielder Gabriel Carlsson, freshman midfielder Barry Sharifi and senior defender Ryan Tuck were selected to the second team. Navy junior midfielder Brock Dudley was named to the second team and senior forward Sam Bascom received third-team honors.
Women's college soccer: Johns Hopkins (15-2-2) will host Western Connecticut State (15-5-2) at 5 p.m. and McDaniel (16-2-1) will host Farmingdale State (11-8-3) at 11 a.m. Saturday in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament.
Women's college volleyball: Johns Hopkins (19-8) will face Christopher Newport (25-9) and Stevenson (26-7) will play Randolph-Macon (23-7) in Fredericksburg, Va., on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament.
Women's college swimming: Washington College sophomore Julia Portmann was named CC Swimmer of the Week.