Wall's Game-Saving Block

The Situation

Wizards up 2, 8.6 seconds left, Nuggets with the ball. The Wizards decide to put Trevor Ariza on Ty Lawson and John Wall on Andre Miller. The Nuggets can tie with a two or take the lead with a three.

The Play

Ty Lawson catches the inbound, goes around a high screen & drives to the hole. Martell Webster tries to slow down Lawson after the Wizards switch on the high screen, but Wall comes off his defender, leaps with Lawson and swats away his game-tying attempt.

Watch the video multiple times and see where Wall starts (top of the screen on the inbounder Miller) and where he ends up.

The Result

Wall blocked the ball to himself, where he could dribble the ball out, get fouled, and go to the line to sink two free throws to seal the game.

This was a play that was pure instinct. Wall freelanced and read the play to save the game. This is something that can't be taught or scripted, it's just a reaction play. A lot of times one only thinks of a playmaker doing it on offense, but this is an example of how a playmaker can impact a game on defense. And John Wall is a playmaker.

What They Said

“I knew they were going to go for the tie because it would be tough to get a three off of the switch, we switched everything. I saw Ty Lawson had Martell [Webster] beat and he had no other way to go up for the shot. It would be tough to get a pass off for them. I just tried to get a block without fouling. I started out the play on Andre Miller and just came over to the weak side. It was just reaction; usually they run a high pick-and-roll and it is kind of hard to stop a fast guard getting into the lane and he had been doing a good job of making threes in the second half and getting to the free throw line. I saw he had Martell beat and Martell kind of slipped; he basically had an easy layup to tie the game. I just wanted to go over there and make a play.”

"The main thing was to keep my body away from him, I know he likes to attack and jump into anyone that guards him. John came from the weak side and took it out of the air, which was pretty amazing. John is very athletic and the fact that he took the contact from me, jumped over me, and blocked the shot that's amazing. Those are the little things we need to do in order to win games."

"It was a great defensive play by John. We didn’t want to foul him [Ty Lawson], there was a little bit of contact so I am glad the ref didn’t call that. John was able to block the shot and get fouled and knocked down two free throws at the end of the game.”

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