- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 6, 2011

John Wall will start his second season with exactly the kind of challenge he was hoping for, facing one of the league’s best point guards. Wall and the Washington Wizards will open the 2011-12 season against two-time All-Star Deron Williams and the New Jersey Nets at Verizon Center on Mon., Dec. 26.

(For the full schedule, click here.)

The Wizards will then go on the road to play the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks before returning home to Verizon Center for a New Year’s Day contest against the Boston Celtics, featuring another All-Star point guard, Rajon Rondo, and the Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

Wall knows what it takes to be an elite point guard; he spent the offseason figuring it out.

“They [the elite point guards] just played better at times,” Wall said. “They knew the game better than me. So, mainly the whole time this summer, I was just studying a lot of film on how I played and what I did wrong and what you can work on and how you can take advantage of certain plays. I’m a smarter player and [have a] better IQ.”

A few notable home games in January include Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and the New York Knicks visiting Jan. 6; D.C. native Kevin Durant, the two-time NBA scoring champion, and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Jan. 18; and league MVP Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 30.

Notable home games in February include Rookie of the Year Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers on Feb. 4; the Miami Heat and the Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on Feb. 10, and Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic on Feb. 29.

In March, Kobe Bryant and the Lakers will be in town on March 7, and the Wizards final home game will be against the Heat on April 26.

The compressed 66-game schedule will also force each team to play three games in three consecutive nights at least once during the season. The Wizards will have to do it twice, March 24-26, and April 4-6.