A point guard and a center generally can't duel in the way we usually think of players dueling—directly, one-on-one, attacking each other at both ends. Apart from the occasional defensive switch or confrontation at the rim, they'll mostly compete from a distance, and indirectly, via their teams and the scoreboard. So John Wall and Boogie Cousins—friends, former UK teammates, fellow 2010 lottery picks—didn't really duel each other when the Wizards and Kings met up in D.C. last night. Instead, they took turns torching each others' teams, while trash-talking each other.
Boogie got the first half, overwhelming the Wizards with his combination of range, quickness, power, and straight-up slick-ass game so abundant it's coming out of his goddamn ears. To say that poor Marcin Gortat guarded him is like saying a clapboard shack guarded the tornado that rendered it into a cloud of matchsticks. Boogie had 21 points on 11 shots at halftime, and punctuated the half with a pair of the kinds of plays that ought to make you puke in awe and terror when the man doing them is seven feet tall and nearly 300 pounds.
First, he turned in transition, ran with Wall—only perhaps the fastest player in the NBA—and swatted his layup attempt to West Virginia:
Then, less than a minute later, he turned a Ray McCallum airball into a one-handed alley-oop:
Which, maybe isn't the most spectacular-looking affair, until you remember that the guy throwing it down also made like 200 feet worth of smooth jumpshots in the half, and then you kinda faint a little.
Wall hung around in the first half, keeping his Wizards at least vaguely in the game with 11 points and a few gorgeous driving buckets. Then, as though he and Boogie had agreed beforehand to clear the stage for each other, it was his turn. He went goddamn nuts after halftime.
Listen. I make no attempt to hide my John Wall fandom. It's part of who I am, like brown hair and enough full-fat dairy products to congest the goddamn Chunnel. But, if that fourth three pointer, at 0:50 in that video up there—the shot, the explosion from the crowd, that skipping dance back upcourt with the three-fingers gesture, how it dissolves into a stream of chin-out shit-talking—doesn't make you feel like you could run through a fucking wall and punt a passing motor vehicle into outer space, you're dead inside.
Wall's second half line—20 points, 10 assists, four threes on five attempts—by itself would be the best game many perfectly serviceable NBA guards will have this season. Meanwhile, Boogie returned to earth, as his teammates couldn't keep the defense from crashing onto him and foul trouble distracted him from feasting on Gortat. He finished with 30 and picked up his sixth foul—at least a couple of them were bogus, the kind he alone among stars ever gets—with over five minutes left to play.
The game swung crazily: the Kings won the first half by 18, then lost the second half by 34. Which means, yeah, the Wizards got the victory, which probably means Wall did, too. That couldn't seem more irrelevant. Two supermen put on a show; the win goes to the lucky bastards who got to watch them.
Photo via Getty