- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 27, 2021

John Wall got revenge against his former team on Tuesday, helping the Rockets knock off the Washington Wizards. And in the process, the 30-year-old got in some good ol’ fashion trash-talking, as well.

Wall barked at Wizards guard Russell Westbrook in the final minutes of Houston’s 107-88 win — leading to a fiery exchange in which both were assessed technical fouls. Wall and Westbrook, of course, were traded for each other in December.

Wall finished with 24 points, nine rebounds and three assists. His trash-talking came when Wall scored all of Houston’s nine points in a 9-2 run that put the game out of reach for the Wizards. 

Wall said the trash-talking was “what competitive guys do,” indicating the exchange was all in fun.

“Russ been kicking my (butt) for years,” Wall said. “This is only my third win against Russ, I think, since I’ve been in the league. So that means that he’s a hell of a talent.

“I know he’s going through injuries, same as I was, and we’re just trying to keep getting better, trying to lead our teams. But [it was] just two competitive guys trash-talking. This ain’t the first time we trash-talked before, and we know how good that he can be.”

Westbrook has struggled for Washington this season as the former MVP has dealt with a lingering quad injury. Against Houston, Westbrook scored 19 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and had seven assists. 

Speaking to reporters, Westbrook said the exchange was just him defending himself. 

“Now listen, I don’t start talking [expletive],” Westbrook said. “I defend myself because I don’t just allow people to say just anything, especially when I know the facts as it pertains to anybody on the court playing against [me]. So, I think they just started talking (trash) because they just started to win, started winning at that time.

“So, you know, it’s cool, though. We play them again.”

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