Flip Saunders took some credit for John Wall's strong performance in the Wizards' upset win over Utah on Monday, saying the night before he had texted Wall with words of encouragement.
As it turns out, Wall texted the coaches first.
Either way, the rookie point guard busted out with 19 points on 7 of 12 shooting, his best performance of the new year, along with a career-high 15 assists against the Jazz. Hopefully, both player and coach have unlimited plans.
"We've been on him, we've been asking a lot of him, and I thought he was exceeding expectations," Saunders said of his message.
Wall said he's seeking a harder line.
"They gonna keep pushing me, that's the text I sent out to my coaches about two weeks ago: keep pushing me, keep making me better," said Wall, who not only showed better lift in his jump shot against Utah but also got a financial incentive to keep from getting down on himself mentally.
"I'm trying to do a better job of keeping my head," Wall said. "I get a fine every time I start showing a sign of frustration or pouting on the court. I ain't trying to lose that."
Wizards assistant coach Ryan Saunders is the enforcer who backs up the fines with video evidence.
"I'm not trying to lose no money," Wall said. "It's not too much, just enough to keep my pockets empty."