By A. Sherrod Blakely
WASHINGTON It's weird to see Rajon Rondo out there as the poised veteran playmaker.
But on nights like this, it's obvious.
Yes, John Wall got the win in leading the Wizards to an 85-83 victory over the Boston Celtics.
And Wall, who had 16 points and four assists, is indeed a player on the rise in the NBA.
There's little doubt that someday, he'll be among the NBA's top point guards with Rondo, Deron Williams of Utah, New Orleans' Chris Paul and Chicago's Derrick Rose.
But his time to shine at that level, isn't now.
He came up with a slew of big plays down the stretch for the Wizards.
But he also made his share of mistakes that allowed the Celtics to have a fighter's chance down the stretch when, truth be told, Boston's play should have not afforded them such a luxury.
Paul Pierce's potential game-winning shot was set up by Rondo stripping the ball from Wall.
That was one of four turnovers by Wall, who has spent most of this season ranked among the NBA's leaders in turnovers.
Still, the more you watch him play, it's clear that he will a player to watch for many years to come.
"He's going to be a great young point guard, if he continues to work on his game and stay humble," Rondo said. "He has a bright future ahead of him."
Celtics coach Doc Rivers agrees.
"He plays hard. he's aggressive," Rivers said. "He's got a great step and speed, and he's competitive. He plays far beyond his age."
West on the mend
C's guard Delonte West was with the Celtics in Washington, yet another example of his return being sooner rather than later.
Injured players don't normally start to travel with the team unless they are relatively close to returning to action.
"There's still a lot of stiffness in the wrist," West told CSNNE.com. "But it's getting better and better everyday. That's the only way I can explain it."
Boston has had a number of games this season in which the use of West would have been helpful.
Saturday's loss to the Wizards was one of those games.
Rajon Rondo had 13 points and nine assists, but he spend significant stretches of the game on the bench with foul trouble.
And his replacement, Nate Robinson, had his struggles scoring (six points on 3-for-8 shooting).
West said as badly as he wants to be out there, he's not trying to rush back too soon.
"When I come back, I want to be back, ready to help this team win games," he said. "I'm patient; trying to be, at least."
Odds and ends
Semih Erden, starting in place of Shaquille O'Neal (right hip), had six points and a career-high 11 rebounds. It is the second time in as many nights that the 7-foot rookie from Turkey set a career high. In Boston's win over Utah on Friday, Erden had a career-high 14 points. Andray Blatche picked up a technical foul for shoving Kevin Garnett. It was yet another game in which Blatche allowed Garnett to get into his head, and lead him to doing something foolish. Ray Allen made a pair of 3-pointers on Saturday. He now has 2,537 made 3-pointers, and needs 24 to pass Reggie Miller (2,560) for the NBA's all-time lead in that category.