The Rundown: Washington Wizards at Philadelphia 76ers – Preseason Game 2 | Wizards Blog Truth About

The Rundown: Washington Wizards at Philadelphia 76ers – Preseason Game 2

Updated: December 21, 2011

[The Rundown: Setting the scene, rating the starters, assessing the bench, providing the analysis, and catching anything that you may have missed… (As the crew at TAI works to hone their post-game coverage.)]


Washington Wizards 94 – Philadelphia 76ers 101 [box score]

Quick STAT: Rashard Lewis shot 1-for-4 and scored three points in 19 minutes. In two preseason games, the starting small forward has gone 2-for-9 and scored seven points in 42 minutes. -R. Mobley

Scene of the Game

Nick Young is BACK!…

{Unfortunately in non-HD form as DC-area fans were treated to
the Comcast Philly feed of last night’s game.}

[Nick Young makes his “take it out on the league” face after scoring his first bucket in the Wizards’ new-look uniforms. Screen shot via Comcast SportsNet]

D.C. Flag 3-Star Ratings

w/ Rashad Mobley, John Converse Townsend
and Kyle Weidie

————> Starting 5, Bench & The Coach

John Wall

John Wall

MOBLEY: Wall still is prone to settling for a forced outside shot or two, it took him 14 shots to score 17 points, and he had more turnovers (4), than he did assists (3). Still, he did a much better job at getting to the basket while putting pressure on the Sixers defense, and he went 7-for-7 from the line.
1.5 Stars
TOWNSEND: John Wall failed to impress in the final preseason game vs. Philadelphia. He missed a handful of layups, botched a left-handed dunk in transition, failed to find his shooting touch, and recorded four turnovers (to just three assists) including traveling and palming violations. While he did end up with 17 points, you expect more from the second-year point guard on both ends of the floor.
1 Star
WEIDIE: Wall did a couple things we know him to be capable of — used his power and speed to get to the rim, hit a shot at the first quarter buzzer. But he also went 5-14 on field-goals (0-3 on three-pointers) in 28 minutes with four turnoves and just three assists. I liked that he got to the free-throw line seven times (7-7), but the summer exhibition season clearly didn’t make him better at running a team.
1.25 Stars

TOTAL: 3.75 out of 9 stars


Jordan Crawford

Jordan Crawford

MOBLEY: Crawford had to be feeling the pressure of Nick Young’s arrival when he stepped on the court tonight, which means he probably was pressing in an effort to please the coaching staff –and it showed. He did score 18 points, but he shot 6-21 to get there. That’s not exactly the type of compliment Wall needs.
1 Star
TOWNSEND:Jordan Crawford is still the type of player who will shoot first and let someone else ask the questions. He took a team-high 21 shots, but converted just six of those scoring chances, missing from all over the floor. I did like his effort on the boards (6 rebounds) and at the free throw line where he converted each of his five attempts—Crawford was 1st among rookies last season in free throw percentage (86.9-percent).
1 Star
WEIDIE: Flip Saunders may hold out for another game or so, but it’s becoming more clear that Crawford is not ready for Prime Time. He hit a tough shot or two, and sank a catch-and-shoot three at the onset of the third thanks to Flip’s offense, but there was way too much forced action en route to Jordan going 6-21 from the field and scoring 18 points. The six rebounds were nice, however.
0.75 Star

TOTAL: 2.75 stars out of 9


Rashard Lewis

Rashard Lewis

MOBLEY: Remember when Gilbert Arenas got traded to Orlando and we kept wondering if he was hurt, or if he’d just lost “it”?  Rashard Lewis, by his own admission, is completely healthy and ready for a fresh start. He’s been a non-factor in two games, and on Tuesday night, he could not take advantage of the four-inch height advantage he had over Andre Iguodala.  Maybe he’s just lost “it”.
0.5 star
TOWNSEND: It was nice to see Lewis on the floor last night; despite getting the starting nod at the three-spot, he was largely a nonfactor in his 19 minutes, as far as the stat sheet is concerned. Lewis did a decent job keeping the Wizards defense intact, rotating effectively and pressuring shooters. It’s hard to imagine Lewis keeping his role as a starter for the length of the season.
0.5 Star
WEIDIE: Lewis is on his way to becoming the highest paid invisible man ever. Fine, and again, it’s only the preseason, and there are a lot of priority parts around him, but still… Maybe he needs to cut that chin beard that my GF always rags on.
0.5 Star

TOTAL: 1.5 stars out of 9


Andray Blatche

Andray Blatche

MOBLEY: Dre is going to need to score a bit more for the Wizards to be a contender, but a stat-line of 13 points, six rebounds and five assists tells me that he was involved in all facets of the game, and that is just as important. I’d still like to see him connect from close range more often than he does.
1.5 Stars
TOWNSEND: Andray Blatche looked confused early on Tuesday night. He seemed reluctant to shoot mid- to long-range jump shots, even when wide open, instead choosing to force the ball into the paint. Blatche has never been a great shooter, but last year he ranked dead last in field goal percentage between 3-9 feet; the closer he gets to the rim, the less accurate he is—and it showed last night. Sometimes, he simply needs to make the easy play.
2 Stars
WEIDIE: Opinions seem to differ on Blatche’s effort and physique, but I like what I see so far. Sure, he started slow by missing the wide open jumpers Philly was welcoming him to take, but he also worked to resolve that by getting some shots closer to the basket. He was aggressive for spells on defense, he did a better job of showing help on pick-and-roll coverage, he had five assists to go with six rebounds and 13 ponts in 27 minutes. Not great, but showing signs he will get better.
2 Stars

TOTAL: 5.5 stars out of 9


JaVale McGee

JaVale McGee

MOBLEY: If you showed me the tape of tonight’s game against the Sixers, and then you told me that this was exactly what I’d get out of McGee all year, I’d have no complaints. Twenty points, nine rebounds, two blocks (and even more shots altered), and three steals. Now I could mention the quick shots, the awkward hook attempts and the defensive rotation lapses, but I won’t. McGee played well tonight.
3 Stars
TOWNSEND: The Wizards got exactly what they wanted out of JaVale McGee. On defense, JaVale altered shots and protected the paint, and while he could have pressured the ball a bit better, he did a better job of staying on his feet. On offense, he ran the floor and rebounded. Although his post game is unpolished, he did manage to get several good looks at the rim. He even showed off a skyhook—a shot that could revolutionize his game if mastered.
2 Stars
WEIDIE: I love the JaVale McGee hook shot — Hooks McGee we will call him — as long as his attempts don’t get further and further away from the rim. However, McGee, despite great numbers, keeps giving me reason to be hard on him. 1) He’s a black hole when he gets the ball on offense, and it looks like he’ll only dwindle the trust of teammates in that regard; 2) He’s ball watches on defense and constantly finds himself in the midst of cluelessness as a result.
2.25 Stars

TOTAL: 7.25 stars out of 9


The Bench

The Bench

MOBLEY: Nick Young and Trevor Booker made their debuts, and they both briefly flashed the type of energy the Wizards can expect from them this season. Young ran off screens and had a bit of a quick trigger, but still scored eight points in 16 minutes. Booker is known more for his hustle than he is for his offensive prowess, and he continued that trend by grabbing 11 rebounds. Shelvin Mack had trouble with Jrue Holiday on defense, but he won’t be in the minority there–plus he looked much more confident than he did on Friday night.
1.5 Stars
  Sub of the Game: Trevor Booker
TOWNSEND: The 2011-12 Wizards are much deeper than last year’s team. The dynamic duo of Trevor Booker and rookie Chris Singleton may become a defensive terror off the bench. Shelvin Mack was brilliant running with the second line last night, and it’s now clear why Flip Saunders has been raving about the combo guard out of Butler. He had wonderful command of the offense and totaled 7 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 0 turnovers in 20 minutes.
2.5 Stars
  Sub Man of the Game: Shelvin Mack
WEIDIE: Not sure Nick Young will be on the bench for long, but he looked nice in his debut after missing training camp (despite going 3-10 from the field). You gotta love Trevor Booker’s 11 rebounds in 21 minutes of his debut; Ronny Turiaf was a solid defensive presence as expected; but I was most impressed with Shelvin Mack. His ability to manage the team, technicanlly speaking as a point guard, seems to be advanced beyond his rookie status.
1.5 Stars
  Sub Man of the Game: Shelvin Mack

BENCH TOTAL: 5.5 stars out of 9


The Coach: Flip Saunders

The Coach: Flip Saunders

MOBLEY: Aside from having the quick timeout trigger when the Sixers would go on a run, Flip Saunders did not really do anything of note during Tuesday night’s game. But he does get all the credit in the world for getting the Wizards ready to play after Friday night’s blowout loss.
2 Stars
TOWNSEND: Overall, FSaunders did a really nice job with his rotations, which kept the Wizards in the game until it all fell apart in the last couple of minutes.
2.5 Stars
WEIDIE: When the Wiz Kids initially got down 25-16, improvement from Friday’s game looked very minimal. But then they got composed and made a go of it. When his players run his offense, all seems great… but that being said, Flip’s problem may be getting his players to run his offense.
1.5 Stars

COACH TOTAL: 6 stars out of 9


Scene on the Screen

w/ John Townsend

The Comcast Philadelphia broadcasters did a nice job of bringing energy to a virtually empty Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia last night. Steve Buckhantz at one point joined the Sixers crew made up of two-time NBA champion Malik Rose, Marc Zumoff and Meredith Markovitz.

A moment: After John Wall traveled in the half court, Rose chuckled: “You can’t do that in this league, there, young fella.”

“Or in any league for that matter,” Zumoff chimed in, just before reminding the TV audience that Wall averaged nearly four turnovers per game last year.

Fan Tweets



@Abstract_cool: THATS THE MCGEE I WANT TO SEE!!!!!!!

Slept-On Moment

  • MOBLEY: Doug Collins played Jrue Holiday in crunch-time (the last 6:05 of the fourth quarter), and he delivered by scoring 15 points during that span. Flip Saunders sat John Wall during the entire fourth quarter, and Shelvin Mack and Jordan Crawford were average at best. I’m not doubting whether Wall can take over a game once the regular season starts, but in a two-game preseason, wouldn’t it have been ideal for Wall to flex his crunch-time muscle?
  • TOWNSEND: I watched the game with a friend who pointed out the some of the Wizards players were wearing cPRIME performance sports band, the same bracelets often seen on Dwight Howard’s wrists. The “life-changing, patent-pending technology” promises to improve strength, balance, performance, flexibility, and endurance. Bologna or a competitive edge?
  • WEIDIE: Properly closing out on shooters… The theory, as least as I was taught, is to defensively close out on perimter shooters with high hands, but with feet ready to guard the dribble drive. Now, certainly some “shooters” warrant more attention, but what I noticed last night was John Wall closing out on a shooter with textbook form. Rashard Lewis and Jordan Crawford, on the other hand, closed out with their hands in their pockets … Not very ideal.

End Scene


“We’re still trying to figure out what each others’ roles is, who’s going to be the main scorer, who is going to be the secondary scorer.” -John Wall, via Wizards Insider

{This is Andray Blatche.}

[screen shot via: Comcast SportsNet]

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.

  • W. Unseld

    I like the new game reviews. It can get a tad confusing. I thought you all were being harsh until I realized that 1.5 starts is 5 or average.

  • szr

    What did I learn from this preseason game? The Wizards are who I thought they were – 3 good players (Wall, McGee, Booker), and a bunch of awful ones.

    Wall was having a nice game until the end of the third and fourth quarters. He was shooting efficiently and generally doing good stuff. I think he went into solo offensive mode at the end of the game because he was tired of watching Crawford and Blatche shoot every time they touched the ball.

    McGee remains the best player in a Washington uniform.

    Booker does all the stuff that lead to wins.

    Crawford? The Wizards had 100 shots last night. Crawford took 21 of them. How he gets any minutes at all on an NBA team is a total mystery to me. Awful – ship him out tomorrow and the Wizards would be a better team.

    Honestly, after tonight’s performance, I’m don’t the Wizards are going to break double digits in wins. Philly isn’t exactly an NBA powerhouse, and they easily had their way with us.

    I’ve asked it before, and I’ll ask it again – what exactly does Grunfeld have to do to get fired from his job?

  • SZR…

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention Flip Saunders… his head might be 1st to roll if this keeps up.

    Thanks for the comment W. Unseld… You’re right, need to make the rating system more clear and do some other things to make the post-game recaps more reader-friendly.

  • Michael

    Hey how about that Jordan Crawford? Another fine performance out of him last night.

    I agree 100% that Grunfeld needs to be fired.

    I still support Flip. But if he continues to play Crawford and gives him the green light to be the worst player on the court night in and night out, he will need to go as well.

  • szr

    Yeah, I like this post-game analysis format too, and it is interesting to see what factors you guys, as the writer/editors, think are important.

    Regarding Flip Saunders – I don’t think he’s a bad coach, and he can only do so much with the players he has. For team chemistry and psychological reasons he can’t ever let them think he doesn’t believe in them.

    But the guy who put this team together and has been running things since 2003, on the other hand, shouldn’t get a pass. Especially considering the W/Ls during that period:

    2004 – 25 / 57
    2005 – 45 / 37
    2006 – 42 / 40
    2007 – 41 / 41
    2008 – 43 / 39
    2009 – 19 / 63
    2010 – 26 / 56
    2011 – 23 / 59

    At his best, Grunfeld was putting together Washington teams that just barely made the playoffs. And how much of an achievement is that in a league in which more than half the teams make the playoffs?

    Also, I’m getting pretty tired of hearing “they’re a young team” as an excuse for losing. The truth is that the Wizards aren’t even that young of a team – Sacramento, Golden State, Houston, Memphis, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and New Orleans all have teams younger than the wizards. Oh, and so does Philly.

  • Michael

    And keep in mind, even when they were making the playoffs, it was in a really weak Eastern Conference.

  • rashad20

    you think JaVale is the best player in a Wizards uniform so far this preseason? tell that to the PTI crew, who killed McGee yesterday. i think wall will play better when the season starts..

    before bruce boudreau got fired, i thought both flip and ernie would be safe until the end of the 12-13 i think they are one bad season from being on the street. unfortunately, that means starting over again for the wiz

  • Michael

    If they did that, then it just it’s just further evidence on how stupid the “PTI” crew really is. One guy in Kornheiser who rarely watches sports yet gets paid to comment on sports and another guy in Wilbon who reminds me of quintessential casual sports fan who gets paid to give his opinions on a variety of topics every day that he knows very little about.

  • szr

    Well, I think it is pretty crazy to say Wall is *currently* better than McGee. Wall was much better than I expected for a rookie last season, and he may well become the player we all think he could be, but so far he is more potential than actual.

    I’m not terribly surprised that the PTI guys disagree with me. Kornheiser is a buffoon, and Wilbon pretty much just echoes the conventional wisdom. And the conventional wisdom valorizes total points above anything else in an individual basketball player, regardless of how many shots he needs to take to get those numbers.

    For me? I looke at the game differently. I look at possessions, rather than points, as the coin of the realm. Against Philly, the Wizards had 100 total shots at the basket. 21 of them were taken by a guy shooting 20% (Crawford). The Wizards cannot afford to have 20% of their offense being taken by someone that bad.

    John Wall, at the half, was having a great game. He was 4 for 8 from the field, and had gone to the freethrow line several times (was it 5?). He had 3 assists too. For the rest of the game he became a much worse player, not distributing the ball, shooting poorly, and turing the ball over. I’m no mind reader, but you have to think he was getting annoyed at Blatche and Crawford shooting the ball so much and so ineffectively, and thus decided to “take control” of the offense himself.

    Meanwhile, McGee was putting together a monster game. 8 for 15 shooting. 9 rebounds. 3 steals. 2 blocks.

    To put it another way, McGee used 15% of the Wizard’s total shot attempts to produce 19% of the team’s total points. And that was just his offensive contribution.

  • nich obert

    I’m thinking it might be a little early to “ship Crawford out of town” – he has only played 42 games so far and has shown some flashes of being able to be a good bench scorer. Obviously he doesn’t deserve to be starting, but I can’t fault the Wiz for trying to get him reps and hope it clicks for him.

    Are those teams actual rotations younger than the Wizards? I guess we have to count Rashard Lewis, but other than that this team feels younger than any of them. I guess “feels” isn’t the same as “birthdays”

  • szr

    Well, Philly started this team against us:

    Holiday – 21
    Meeks – 24
    Hawes – 23
    Igoudala – 27
    Brand – 32
    Average – 25.4


    Crawford – 23
    Wall – 21
    McGee – 23
    Blatche – 25
    Lewis – 32
    Average – 24.8

    I don’t have time to look at the starting line-ups of the other teams with a lower average age, but you have a point – the Wizards are slightly younger than Philly when looking just at starters.

    Man I wish we could trade Blatche for Iggy.

  • Thomloverosthirdchin

    I wish Shanny was coaching this team…