Though the series is flying under the radar, John Wall has had one of the best starts to the 2017 NBA Playoffs of any player in the NBA. Through the first four games of Washington's first-round tilt against the Hawks, he is averaging about 29 points, 10 assists, and 4 rebounds per game on better than 50 percent shooting.
Fans of the Wizards are pretty thrilled with his play, but not every journalist covering the team seems to be enamored with what he's doing on the other end of the court. Candace Buckner, who covers the Wizards for the Washington Post, sent out a tweet during Game 4 making fun of Wall's lackadaisical defense in the series:
Wall tends to be one of the better defenders at his position in the NBA, but it's a fair point from Buckner. The Wiz have struggled as a team to get stops against Atlanta, which is a big reason why they're heading back to Washington with the series tied at 2-2 after jumping out to a commanding 2-0 lead. Schroder is scoring an extra five points per game in the playoffs compared to the regular season, and Wall has been responsible for covering him during most of that uptick.
When the guard saw Buckner's jab, he let his Twitter followers know exactly what he thought about it:
This is far from a real dig at Buckner, but it's rare to see a pro athlete actually acknowledge a columnist or reporter critiquing their play on Twitter. At most, some guys internalize the criticism and carry it with them as motivation moving forward.
Other Wizards players did appear to find Buckner's jab legitimately funny, though they also contradicted that with allusions to her no longer being welcome in the locker room:
Give her credit, she at least tried to keep a good sense of humor about it:
We'll have to wait and see if this is a real beef or just a couple of colleagues poking fun at one another, but the easiest way to get past this is for Wall to prove his doubters wrong and push the Wizards to a win in the series. If his two-way play sparks their advancement to the second round, there's nothing any critic can say to get under his skin.