- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 1, 2012

No rest for the weary is a phrase that could easily apply to Wizards point guard John Wall.

After facing All-Star point guard Deron Williams to start the season in the home opener against the New Jersey Nets, Wall had to face Brandon Jennings on Friday night in Milwaukee.

Returning to Verizon Center at 0-3, Wall’s New Year’s Day gift was a matchup with Rajon Rondo and the aging, but experienced, Boston Celtics. Monday night, Wall and Washington are in Boston.

“He’s a great point guard,” Wall said. “He’s an All-Star point guard that knows how to win, knows how to lead a team and knows how to get everybody involved in the offense.”

“I learned a lot about him from playing with him this summer at Kentucky. He’s knows a lot of tricks and trades in the game, and they do a great job of giving him the ball and letting him run the show and find his teammates.”

Once again, Wall had the chance to look across the court and see a player he’d like to emulate in Rondo, a fellow Kentucky Wildcat. Rondo, 25, is entering his sixth season and is a two-time All-Star, a two-time first team All-Defensive selection and won a championship with the Celtics in 2008.

But as for their respective teams, the similarities end there. Rondo is running one of the league’s oldest teams and has three potential Hall-of-Fame players on the court with him in Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

Wall is running one of the league’s youngest teams, and only one teammate, Rashard Lewis, has made an All-Star team (2005, 2009).

The Celtics started 1-3, having lost the first three games of their season without Pierce, who was sidelined with a heel injury. The aging Celtics have a short window to make another championship run with this current group.

The home-and-home games on consecutive nights will provide an example of how a young team competes against a veteran team this shortened season.

“It’s a challenge,” Wizards coach Flip Saunders said. “What we’re trying to do is just get better every day. Your shootarounds a lot of times become practice. It’s tough when you’re struggling, as we are right now. I told the guys it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

As for Wall’s struggles, Saunders said his point guard needs to relax a little and not be so hard on himself.

“He’s forcing some things a little,” Saunders said. “I told him if he doesn’t play hard and he doesn’t have a smile on his face, I’m taking him out. He’s got to put that passion and that smile back on his face.”

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