DC Council Game 1: Wizards 84 – Nets 90: A Lead Blown With Selfishness | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council Game 1: Wizards 84 – Nets 90: A Lead Blown With Selfishness

Updated: December 27, 2011

[Editor’s Note: What was formerly the “Rundown” in the preseason is now the DC Council — after each Wizards game: setting the scene, rating the starters, assessing the bench, providing the analysis, and catching anything that you may have missed. Unlike the real DC Council, everything here is over the table. For the season opener, in addition to my first-hand game coverage, we have two guest contributors, Gregg Cobert and Sam Permutt. More on both of them at the bottom of this post. -Kyle W.]


Washington Wizards 84 – New Jersey Nets 90 [box score]

Quick STAT: The Nets out-rebounded 58-38 the team John Hollinger (notorious disliker of the Wizards) called the Buzzards, 18 of those were offensive to Washington’s nine. Kris Humphries responded to absurd boos from the D.C. crowd with 16 tough boards (seven offense) against JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche (14 rebounds combined); starting small forward Damion James grabbed 14 rebounds for the Nets himself. Also worth nothing, the Wizards were 21-34 from the free throw line. -KW

Scene of the Game

Deron Williams.

{“We don’t have anyone that’s at that elite status right now like a Deron Wiliams, that can just take the game over whether he’s scoring, passing or setting people up. He was there. He was like the conductor. He felt like he had control and tempo of the game.”
-Flip Saunders}

[Deron Williams of the New Jersey Nets gets loose before the game. He finished with 23 points on 8-20 shooting, 4-11 from three, with eight assists, four turnovers, eight rebounds, and some damn entertaining back and forth with John Wall. ]

D.C. Flag 3-Star Ratings

w/ Gregg Cobert, Sam Permutt
and Kyle Weidie

<***> Rating the Starting 5, Bench & Coach out of 3 stars.

John Wall

John Wall

COBERT: Wall missed six free throws and came up short on the crucial play of the night was when he drove to the hoop and got caught in the air, turning the ball over. He was outplayed by Deron Williams who had 23 points, eight boards and eight dimes to Wall’s 13 points, eight boards, six dimes, and three steals.
1.75 Stars (out of 3)
PERMUTT: Even more upsetting than Wall’s poor free-throw shooting was his body language. He seemed to take his mistakes or missed calls poorly and responded by slumping down instead of picking his energy up. For Wall to be the leader he can be, no one should be able to tell he’s having a bad game by watching any one play.
0.75 Star
WEIDIE: Decisions, decisions, what is the deal with John Wall’s decisions? His decision-making is worse than Kris Humphries’ when it comes to marriage opportunities (just had to get that one in). Also, Wall fared poorly in pick and roll defense. When is he going to get better already?
1 Star

TOTAL: 3.5 out of 9 stars

Jordan Crawford

Jordan Crawford

COBERT: With 15 points, Crawford provided some scoring punch. but it seemed to come early in the game as the team built their lead; he had eight of his points in the first quarter. However, his shot selection was much better, which was something that left a lot to be desired last year.
1.75 Stars (out of 3)
PERMUTT: Not only did Jordan score (and with relative efficiency), his defensive energy throughout the game was consistent. He was one of the leaders for the strong early defense, limiting Deron Williams and getting in the passing lanes. And that spinning fadeaway in crunch time, coming in cold off the bench, was ridiculous.
2.5 Stars
WEIDIE: When Crawford is on, as he was against New Jersey going 7-12, he’s tolerable, almost ideal. But his selection needs a LOT of work. You certainly wonder when he suddenly pulls up for a 17-18 footer on the break with no teammates around in the first quarter, or when he and JaVale McGee bungle another offensive pick-and-roll. He gave a good possession or two on defense against Deron Williams, but otherwise, Crawford is the Wizard who needs to be the most selfless on offense.
1.75 Stars

TOTAL: 6 stars out of 9

Rashard Lewis

Rashard Lewis

COBERT: Lewis had a rough go in the first half going 0-4, but finished with nine points and two boards. He seemed to disappear whenever he was on the court tonight. As a result, he lost crunch time minutes to Chris Singleton.
1 star (out of 3)
PERMUTT: His lack of court presence is eerie. Early in the game, the team seemed to look to get him some touches, a strategy which they rightfully abandoned after his near air-ball on a corner three. He did some good work in the third quarter, and looks like he’s trying to get comfortable in the post.
1 Star
WEIDIE: Let’s be honest, Lewis is being paid to shoot. He finished with a bang for his buck like a D.C. government worker, going 2-8 on FGs and 0-3 on 3Ps. And while it’s nice that he went 5-6 from the free-throw line against the Nets, his defense is pretty bad, generally. If Singleton can hit the corner three with confidence like he did once in the game, he should start taking more and more of Lewis’ minutes.
0.75 Star

TOTAL: 2.75 stars out of 9

Andray Blatche

Andray Blatche

COBERT: Like Crawford, Blatche seemed to do his damage in the early part of the game as he tallied a final total of 11 points and eight rebounds. He had some beautiful passes out of the double team, so it was good to see him not being a black hole or trying to do too much, I think.
2 Stars (out of 3)
PERMUTT: Anytime you get a technical for a physical confrontation with an opponent early on, then let that opponent go for 21 and 16, your star rating will suffer. Especially when that opponent is Kris Humphries (a great hustle player, but not one with overwhelming talent). A solid and unselfish first-half was more than overwhelmed by second-half softness.
0.75 Star
WEIDIE: It’s tough to buy the sudden “I need the ball in the post more” sob story. For the most part, Blatche was invisible. Team leaders, guys who get on the mic in front of the crowd pregame and profess themselves as a team captain to the bewilderment of even some within the organization, find ways to make themselves visible.
0.75 Star

TOTAL: 3.5 stars out of 9

JaVale McGee

JaVale McGee

COBERT: McGee patrolled the paint and occupied the space to block two shots and change even more. He got three offensive rebounds, two in the second quarter, and took his time with a nice jump hook early in the first quarter. He, however, wasn’t consistent, contributing to the team’s free throw woes by going 1-6 from the line.
2 Stars (out of 3)
PERMUTT: After air-balling an ill-advised 15-foot fadeaway jumper… JaVale hustled back and took a charge? Following a quick steal in the back-court, with the hoop tantalizingly close… Javale held the ball, before making a decent lob pass to Andray? Progress. Other than that, the normal mix of altering shots, silly mistakes, and raw post moves.
1.5 Stars
WEIDIE: Depending on what site you look at, ESPN.com or NBA.com, Ronny Turiaf had a plus/minus of plus-14 or 15, while JaVale McGee was at minus-19 or 20. Either way, and however you feel about the validity of that specific statistical measure, it’s significant. What got McGee taken out of the game essentially for good with 4:26 left: Letting the 6’7″ Damion James easily muscle him out of the way for an offensive rebound putback the gave New Jersey a 77-74 lead; McGee had already been running gassed, Turiaf waiting at the scorer’s table when James got the board.
1.25 Stars

TOTAL: 4.75 stars out of 9

The Bench

The Bench

COBERT: The top bench players for the Wizards were Nick Young, Chris Singleton, and Ronny Turiaf. Young was phenomenal on the offensive end with an efficient 16 point night, playing the sixth man role to perfection. Singleton played solid defense, specifically on Deron Williams. However, the sub of the game was Turiaf. His passing in the first quarter and defensive plays on the interior were outstanding including the charges he drew.
2 Stars (out of 3)
Sub of the Game: Ronny Turiaf
PERMUTT: Ronny Turiaf taking charges and mixing it up on the block. Nick Young gunning (efficiently and stylishly) and even setting some good screens. Chris Singleton diving on the floor and guarding D-Will. Roger Mason hitting a timely three. The whole squad playing with energy, especially with the trapping defense. With all the talk about roles, the bench guys sure seem to know theirs.
2.75 Stars
Sub Man of the Game: Ronny Turiaf. His defensive presence kept the Wizards in the game in the second half.
WEIDIE: Nick Young was incredibly efficient, going 6-9 from the field, didn’t attempt a three, 4-4 on FTs with two rebounds and zero turnovers… and he came back in the game after badly jamming his foot running into Blatche. We’ll see how that goes, it didn’t look good when he initially had to be carried to the locker room. It could stiffen significantly overnight. Otherwise, Turiaf brings excellent presence, someone please help Shelvin Mack find a jumper soon, and I’m starting to get a crush on Chris Singleton’s defense.
2.25 Stars
Sub Man of the Game: Chris Singleton

BENCH TOTAL: 7 stars out of 9

The Coach: Flip Saunders

The Coach: Flip Saunders

COBERT: Flip Saunders preached the entire preseason about practicing defense, and that defense got after it during the first 18 minutes when the Wizards built a 21 point lead, but he couldn’t keep his team focused so the Nets took control of the inevitable run to lead them to victory. However, I thought Saunders made some good decisions by rewarding defense with playing time, aided by putting Singleton on Williams.
1.5 Stars (out of 3)
PERMUTT: Made some difficult substitution decisions–putting Ronny in early (JaVale already looked tired) and sticking with him late, giving Singleton late minutes–that were ultimately very helpful. The trapping defense looks to be a serious weapon. The timeout in the first-half at 38-28 was a little late, as it already seemed clear that New Jersey was back in the game.
2.5 Stars
WEIDIE: Saunders doesn’t often start press conferences without being asked a question. On Tuesday he kicked it off by plain and simply saying that his team became selfish on offense in the end, a familiar tune from last year’s team. People understand there will be early struggles, but you can’t help but get a growing sense of desperate urgency through just one regular season game and two preseason games.
1.25 Stars

COACH TOTAL: 5.25 stars out of 9

Seen on the Scene

w/ Kyle Weidie

I should’ve known that the D.C. crowd would boo Kris Humphries every time he touched the ball. It’s rather absurd, but we live in a TMZ world, I guess. Maybe Rashad Mobley was right in that Washington did it only because New Yorkers did it first in MSG, which is even more absurd. In any case, there was evidence that a few in that same crowd began to head for the doors with the Wizards up 77-76 and about four minutes left. It took until the 12 second mark in the fourth quarter for fans to really grab their coats en masse; adding to the whole scene was the fact the “Dougie” started blasting through the Verizon Center at that exact moment. [Sidenote: No, Wall didn’t come out dancing during pre-game introductions like last year… he jogged out all business.] Otherwise, most signs from a 70-percent capacity (my very rough estimation) opening night Verizon Center crowd point to there being a long way to go before Washingtonians become more dedicated and intelligent basketball fans, increased season ticket sales prior to this season be damned. If anything, the jerseys looked great (although home numbers are equally as hard to see as on the road), and the increase of red in the building is an improvement. Lamont Peterson was also in attendance, getting a standing ovation from the very small number of people who follow boxing.

Fan Tweets

@docfunk: John Wall’s new dance is miming a missed FT. Then another. Then another.

@El_Doubarge07: I swear D-Will was going bald last year….got a full mop now!

Slept-On Moment

  • COBERT: Moments of beautiful passing stood out to me, especially in the first quarter, and specifically the passes from Blatche to McGee and Turiaf to Blatche. Andray did finish with three assists (JaVale had none, but should have had at least had one to Wall on the second possession of the game; Wall shot FTs instead.). The lack of ball movement was a problem in the fourth quarter, however, as players started taking more shots without moving the ball..
  • PERMUTT: The first points of the season: JaVale’s overly ambitious lead pass led to an awkward missed lay-up attempt for John Wall, but he was fouled. As Wall hit the first of two free throws, the crowd paused to decide whether or not they should keep standing until a more legitimate basket was made before ultimately settling into their seats. An inauspicious beginning.
  • WEIDIE: The slept-on moment is to never sleep on the Wizards once they get up 21 points in the second quarter. That lead means little, even against a bad team like the Nets. Also, don’t sleep on Chris Singleton’s defense… he does soooo many little things. Don’t sleep on New Jersey’s Sundiata Gaines either. He had four points, three assists a steal and a rebound in eight minutes off the bench.

End Scene


“[Kris] Humphries, he’s been sitting in New York City or wherever he’s been, he comes in and gets 16 rebounds and 23 points. That can’t happen.” -Flip Saunders

{This is MarShon Brooks.}

[The New Jersey Net rookie poses after hitting a shot in a shooting contest against former Wizard DeShawn Stevenson. photo: K. Weidie]

About Greg Cobert: I went to James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia with a degree in Media Arts & Design. I am a basketball junkie and growing up my favorite player was Larry Johnson from the Charlotte Hornets, but my favorite player from the Wizards had to have been Dominic McGuire. Twitter: @g_reggulator

About Sam Permutt: Although my family was never much into sports, growing up in my hometown of Columbia, MD made me a casual Wizards fan. As I grew older and realized my own passion for basketball, my affections for the team increased, culminating in me falling head-over-heels in love with the Wiz-Kids during the Gilbert Arenas era. I have never looked back. I am a recent graduate of Haverford College and am currently playing professional basketball in Israel.

Kyle Weidie on EmailKyle Weidie on GoogleKyle Weidie on InstagramKyle Weidie on LinkedinKyle Weidie on TwitterKyle Weidie on Youtube
Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle lives in D.C. with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.

  • Michael

    Before this game started I said to myself there was nothing the Wizards could do to impress me because their opponent was so dreadful. I couldn’t believe how bad the Nets were and the lack of talent on their opening day roster. It was putrid. However, leave it to the Wizards to lose to these guys.

    Some quick thoughts:

    -My biggest concern this season was that Wall had not improved a lick during the summer. This game only provided confirmation of that. I don’t want to make any rash judgments, but this could potentially be a lost year for Wall. We’ll see…

    -I’m probably be the biggest Crawford hater on this site, but he did play well in the first half. However, he reverted back to his true terrible form in the second half and it was no surprise as John Hollinger pointed out that the Wizards went on a run when he left the game.

    -Young looks out of place on this Wizards team. He’s one of the few Wizards who has actually gotten better during his time in Washington over the past couple years. I think he knows this is going to be his last season here. He needs to play on a better team.

    -And last, Singleton showed some amazing potential out there. Guarding Deron Williams in crunch time in his first game as a pro was pretty awesome.

  • szr

    – I think Wall didn’t look like himself on offense. But until the 4th quarter, he was looking solid on defense, especially getting 8 rebounds (which is amazingly good for a guard) and 3 steals. And while his shot wasn’t falling, he did lead the teams in assists which is something. He was missing free throws, which is rare for him.

    – Crawford was scoring, but I think Kyle nailed it regarding shot selection. Yes, he hit some shots, but they were often contested jumpers taken early in the shot clock, with the bigs out of position for offensive rebounds. In other words, shots that you really don’t want to take.

    – Lewis is on this team?

    – McGee didn’t look so good. He had some nice blocks, but I can’t believe he wasn’t getting twice as many rebounds as he did. I don’t know, he just didn’t seem all that intense. Missing a bunch of free throws also made his offensive performance worse than it should have been. 1 for 6?!

    – Blatche? I don’t get that guy. The whole “I’m the CAPTAIN!” thing was just weird. The post-game comments were also weird. I had a decent game defensively, but I just don’t understand his complaints. He took 13 shots, which was tied with Wall for the team high, so it wasn’t like he was being frozen out of the offense or anything.

    – Who is this Nick Young guy? He looked great out there last night, hitting the mid-range jumper consistently, and (most importantly) taking it when it was open, and passing when it wasn’t. More of that please!

    – Turiaf looked okay, Booker looked unenergetic, the rest of the bench looked meh to me.

    – Coaching? I don’t know how to assess it.

  • Michael

    I give an “F” for coaching. They started Jordan Crawford. If his terrible preseason wasn’t enough to warrant a benching to start the game, I don’t know what will.

    Regarding Wall, I notice a lot of people say he plays too fast. I think we need to call it what it really is, he plays too stupid. Just cause every so often he can beat the other team down the court and get an easy layup doesn’t mean he can do that the entire game. Taking it 1-on-3 in the second half was just poor decision making time and time again. Plus, it looked as if he was trying to draw the foul and I’m thinking to myself, why would you want to do that John? You just missed 4 straight free throws. You getting fouled isn’t in our best interest at this point in time.

    I still like the guy. He brings an aggressiveness, energy and defensive presence unlike any player on this team. But he is not a rookie anymore. He should be smarter than this. He should have a level of maturity to his game that was clearly missing last night.

  • Sean

    So I counted how many times Javale passed the ball in the game not including after defensive rebounds. I only counted one and that was that god awful lob thing to Blatche near the end of the game that Blatche fumbled. Though you guys say he had an assist opportunity to Wall in the second possession I must have missed. He is the most difficult player to watch on this team, he is unbelievably selfish, it is a shock he has come this far in my opinion. Flip should sit him until he decides he wants to learn how to play the game. That is all.

  • Sean

    Ahh I remember that first pass now it was that super low skidding bounce pass that Wall couldnt handle…so Mcgee threw two passes and one was in transition a bail out foul and the other was a turnover….way to go wookie or whatever you call yourself

  • Michael:

    Way too early to call it a lost year for Wall, but then again, there is such a thing as a sophomore slump…. Also, regardless of his poor free-throw shooting, he needs to continue to get in the habit of smartly attacking the basket and earning trips to the line. Now, his actual smart attacking and ability to hit freebies make take some time, but he still should be heading toward those goals.

  • Finnigan

    Why does McGee not understand that he is allowed to pass the basketball when he gets it on the offensive half of the court? He literally puts it up every time, even if he is doubled. He doesn’t even ever reset to re-post. He is so clueless its painful to watch. I’d be perfectly happy if we purge this team of Blatche & McGee (and to a lesser extent Young – because I still think he plays overly selfish basketball – by the beginning of next season).

  • Finnigan

    On the other hand, Chris Singleton is the Man!

  • Michael

    @Kyle- I agree, to early to call it that. But the potential is there. I just haven’t seen the necessary strides in his jumper and decision making that could make him an all-star candidate instead of just a good player on a bad team.

  • Robert

    I agree with Michael. Wall does not play smart. He has no feeling (i.e. Basketball IQ) for floor spacing and pace. I dont think Wall will ever be that Rondo or Nash type of point guard who have a natural feeling for spacing and angles. If he’s going to be that point guard who drives to get to the bucket and gets to the line (like Derrick Rose), he needs to learn to finish high and at the rim. I think he has a little too much in his game of what I would compare to tyler hansborough – he releases shots on the way down while also putting the ball up from below his head. Compare that to Derrick Rose’s game winner on Christmas – he released the ball high and at the peak of his jump. John Wall normally releases the ball on his way down, and way too often it looks almost like the ball gets stuck on his hip and is released from there. I think John Wall needs to work on finishing. And finishing at the rim with a dunk or a finger roll, not finishing with these falling down running awkward layups from 8 feet away.

    He also needs to work on keeping his dribble, among other things, if he is going to be a POINT guard. Right now he’s more of a combo/athletic guard who gets assists because he dominates the ball, not because of point guard skills.

  • Williesurvive

    This Singketon guy could be a problem…if he keeps hustling and defending like that Ernie may have to surgically improve his game….

  • Williesurvive


  • szr

    You guys are crazy writing off John Wall. Last year, as a rookie, he was a solid starting PG. The season is long, and assuming he makes reasonable improvements over last year, he would be a top 20 PG on the league, and possibly a top 10 next year.