NBA

Wall has last word against Wizards after Westbrook trash talk

By Sports Desk January 27, 2021

John Wall was glad to get a rare win over Russell Westbrook – as well as coming out on top against his former team – after helping the Houston Rockets prevail against the Washington Wizards.

Wall had 24 points as the Rockets triumphed 107-88 despite the best efforts of his former back-court partner Bradley Beal, who finished with a game-high 33 for the short-handed Wizards.

For Wall, this was his first time going up against the franchise that drafted him with the first overall pick in the 2010 draft. The point guard was traded prior to this season, swapping places with Westbrook.

Not for the first time in their careers, the pair exchanged words during Tuesday's contest, leading to both receiving technical fouls.

"Trash talking, that's what two competitive guys do," Wall explained in his post-game interview.

"Russ has been kicking my a** for years - I think this is only my third win against Russ since I've been in the league, so he's a hell of a talent.

"I know he's dealing with injuries the same as I was, we just keep trying to get better and lead our team.

"It's just competitive guys trash talking. This isn't the first time; we've trash talked before. We knew how good he could be."

As for Westbrook, he is looking forward to the opportunity of coming up against Houston again later in the season - Washington will have home advantage when the teams meet on February 15.

The nine-time NBA All-Star contributed 19 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in the defeat at Toyota Center, his former home before the trade that sent him to the Wizards.

"Now listen, I don't start talking s***," Westbrook said. "I defend myself because I don't just allow people to say just anything, especially when I know the facts as it pertains to anybody on the court playing against [me].

"So, I think [they] just started talking s*** because they just started to win, started winning at that time. You know, it's cool, though. We play them again."

Wall, playing restricted minutes as he comes back after two injury plagued years, admits he is having fun with Houston, declaring he is just happy to be on a team where he feels wanted.

Victor Oladipo had 20 points while DeMarcus Cousins contributed 19 as well as 11 rebounds for the Rockets, who are starting afresh following the departure of disgruntled superstar James Harden.

"I haven't played in two years so this is fun," Wall said. "To be somewhere where you're wanted, that's the most important thing.

"I never want to be anywhere where I'm not wanted, and I feel like this organisation wanted me here and they've shown nothing but love and trust for me since day one."

Defeat was particularly tough on Beal, who now has 413 points for the struggling Wizards, who own a 3-10 record in the East. 

The shooting guard is the third player in NBA history to score at least 400 points during his first 12 games but have three or fewer wins. The others were both in 1959-60 - Elgin Baylor and Jack Twyman.

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