2010 No. 1 overall pick John Wall couldn't hide his happiness after making his Houston Rockets debut and playing his first NBA game in two years. Wall, who suffered an Achilles injury in December 2018, was traded to the Rockets this offseason and on Thursday night he made his debut for his new team.
Wall performed extremely well as he scored 22 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and dished out 9 assists to help the Rockets beat the Sacramento Kings 122-119. "It was great, man, just to get out there and have fun," Wall said after the game, per ESPN.
"When I get between those four lines and once the ball touches my hands after the jump ball, I was fine. I was happy to be able to compete with some of the best guys in this league and [demonstrate] that I have the ability to be one of the best point guards in this league."
Christian Wood, who also arrived to the Rockets this offseason, had a double-double in a win over the Kings as he scored 21 points and collected 12 rebounds. "He looks like he's back in his All-Star mode," Wood said of Wall.
James Harden praises Wall
Harden, the 2018 NBA MVP, was extremely satisfied with what he saw from Wall in his first game in the Wizards uniform. Harden scored 16 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter to help the Rockets fend off the Kings.
"He was extremely aggressive, making plays, defensively getting after it," Harden said of Wall. "He looked really, really good, especially for not playing in two years." Wall averaged 19 points and 9.2 assists per game during his tenure with the Washington Wizards.
"Having 22, 9 and 6 is not bad for my first game in two years," Wall acknowledged. "I can pat myself on the back for that, and I know that I'll be even better for the next game." The Rockets lost their first two games of the season but they were missing players due to COVID-19 protocols.
Now when everyone is healthy and allowed to play, Rockets head coach Stephen Silas hopes it will lead to wins. "They haven't been together, and we're still trying to figure it out -- who has it and who's playing off the ball some," Rockets coach Silas said of Wall and Harden.
"They're kind of figuring it out on their own with my help. That relationship has to grow and get better and better."