The Washington Wizards didn't treat Monday's contest against the Houston Rockets like any ordinary game.
The night that would end in a 131-119 Wizards victory, one of their finest team performances all year — a feather in the cap towards justifying a controversial trade that left so many of their own fans emotionally ill.
But it started with an honest good-will gesture, with the Wizards acknowledging not just the elephant in the room, but paying tribute to Wall for giving his heart to the city. At the game's first timeout, the Wizards unveiled a 90-second tribute video through Capital One Arena that, for many watching from home, reopened a wound still fresh.
While it was their second meeting of the season, it was the first between the two teams held in D.C., where Wall worked his way into Wizards fans' hearts. And his return brought an undeniable touch of awkwardness.
The Wizards clearly felt the added weight of this game coming into it, as Russell Westbrook, who's been battling a vicious quad injury all year, played on back to back nights for the first time this season.
It would be hard to argue his presence didn't make a difference, too. Westbrook delivered another hallmark triple double, with 16 points, 13 rebounds and 15 assists on 36 percent shooting.
Bradley Beal led the Wizards in scoring, dropping 37 on the Rockets with three steals, three assists and eight rebounds of his own.
Monday's win ushered in just the second two-game win streak for the Wizards this season.
Wall finished with 29 points — well short of the 60-point outcome Beal feared — 11 assists, one blocked shot and a steal. Washington's victory draws the teams even on the season, with the Rockets taking the first game in Houston on Jan. 26.