DC Council Game 13: Wizards 106 vs. Rockets 114: John Wall's Big Day Brings No Rewards | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council Game 13: Wizards 106 vs. Rockets 114: John Wall’s Big Day Brings No Rewards

Updated: January 17, 2012

[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. Game 13 contributors: Adam McGinnis and John Converse Townsend with first-hand coverage and Kyle Weidie from watching on T.V.]


Washington Wizards 106 vs. Houston Rockets 114 [box score]


In scoring a career-high 38 points, John Wall was 7-9 in FGs at the rim, 3-8 in FGs from 16-23 feet, a 37.5-percent rate that’s actually better than the 22-percent he shoots from that distance on the season. Furthermore, Wall didn’t attempt a three-point shot, where he is 0-7 on the season. Last year Wall averaged 1.7 three-point attempts per game (and shot .296), this season he’s averaging 0.6 per game. Since 1985-86, only 14 different NBA guards, on 41 different occasions, have scored 38 or more points without attempting a three pointer. The Washington franchise has seen the most of these instances with former Bullet Jeff Malone being responsible for 15 of them. [stats via HoopData and Basketball-Reference.com]

Scene of the Game

Before the McGee backboard dunk…

John Wall missed a close around-the-world scoop shot in the paint, the Wizards had to quickly get back on defense. Wall communicated with Roger Mason, missed completely cutting off Kyle Lowry, but bothered him into a miss without fouling. Trevor Booker actually came flying into the scene to grab Lowry’s attempt from mid-air, and before anyone knew what happened, JaVale McGee was throwing it off the backboard to himself for a dunk. Here is before that dunk…

D.C. Flag 3-Star Ratings

w/ Adam McGinnis, John Converse Townsend
and Kyle Weidie

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

John Wall

John Wall

JOHN CONVERSE TOWNSEND: John Wall scored a career-high 38 points versus Houston, his second career 30-plus-point game (the other being the 32-point outburst he had vs. the Clippers in March of 2011). Wall also dished out 8 assists, pulled in 6 rebounds, grabbed 4 steals and blocked a shot. Impressive. Really impressive. But what was most striking was the way Wall attacked the Rockets’ defense: off the dribble in the half court, something he hasn’t been able to do consistently in his short pro career. Wall used his speed and power to cruise by whomever was in his path—Kyle Lowry, Goran Dragic, Chandler Parsons included—and finish at the rim, often with contact. Wall’s 16 free throw attempts also tied a career high, and was far above his average attempts this season (5.5). The Wizards need more of the John Wall they saw on Monday afternoon. I’m not suggesting Wall needs to score more, but rather that he continue command attention when running Flip Saunders’ offense, not just in transition.
3 Stars (out of 3)
McGINNIS: So you probably thought Wall’s phenomenal performance would quiet some of his detractors? Nope, haters gonna hate.
3 Stars
WEIDIE: Wall looked pretty incredible, like a former first overall draft pick for the first time this season. I’m still weary of his body language, however. Case in point: the Wizards are on a 13-2 run when Wall gets a defensive rebound with 5:18 left in the game, Washington down 101-96. Pushing the ball around half court, Wall sees a small crease to throw a bounce pass to Jordan Crawford, but has a bad angle: turnover. Wall immediately throws his arms up in the air in frustration before he realizes that the Rockets about to score in transition. Wall had to do a better job living for the next play, focusing less on mistakes.
2.75 Stars

TOTAL: 8.75 out of 9 stars

Nick Young

Nick Young

ADAM McGINNIS: Young started the game strong by getting to the foul line on two drives, but his shot was not falling and he finished 3-12 from the field. Relying on the spin fade away instead of a dribble drive move is still a glaring issue with Nick’s game. One assist and zero rebounds is more the norm than exception with Young’s 2011-12 campaign.
1 Star (out of 3)
TOWNSEND: Though Nick Young averages just 2.8 free throw attempts per game this season, he earned two trips to the line during the first six minutes and sank all four of his attempts. But, in classic fashion, Young spent the rest of the game taking (and missing) fadeaways.
1 Star
WEIDIE: Still plenty of one pass pull-up jumpers and dribbling into double-teams. Look, the Wizards need Young to be aggressive on offense, but he clearly knows little about involving himself with the team while killing opponents with points.
0.5 Stars

TOTAL: 2.5 out of 9 stars

Chris Singleton

Chris Singleton

ADAM McGINNIS: Singleton was straight ballin’ in the opening stanza with rebounds, steals, and leading multiple successful fast breaks. He appeared to be out of position a few times on offense with bad spacing and missed a few open threes. He got subbed out two minutes into the second half and never saw the court again.
1.5 Star (out of 3)
TOWNSEND: The rookie wing started the game off with a bang, turning two steals into three Wizards points. Singleton did a god job guarding Kevin Martin in the first half, but didn’t have a chance to make an impact in the second half, spending all but the first three minutes of the 3rd quarter on the bench.
1.5 Stars
WEIDIE: Singleton provided a very nice spark to start, going end-to-end off a couple steals. He needs to improve his passing, and he only got 18 minutes of burn, but maybe that’s OK; his role as a rookie might not be to get a ton of minutes right now. As long as he’s starting, right?
1.5 Star

TOTAL: 4.5 out of 9 stars

Trevor Booker

Trevor Booker

JOHN CONVERSE TOWNSEND: This was a game to forget. Trevor Booker picked up two fouls in the 1st quarter which relegated him to the bench early in the game. And though Booker played inconsequential minutes early in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, he was twice pulled in favor of Andray Blatche. Booker may be in a funk right now, but he should remain in the starting lineup.
0.25 Star (out of 3)
MCGINNIS: Cook Book got in early foul trouble and was a non factor while sitting out the entire 4th quarter. He missed a potential highlight oop dunk on a sensational pass from Wall.
0.5 Star
WEIDIE: It felt funny that Booker got so little time after getting in early foul trouble, 11 total minutes on the night. Maybe Flip preferred to gamble with what Andray Blatche was providing scoring-wise.
0.75 Star

TOTAL: 1.5 out of 9 stars

JaVale McGee

JaVale McGee

KYLE WEIDIE: Aside from the illin’ dunk attempts, McGee at least got 10 rebounds, eight points and three blocks. He also had a team-worst plus-minus of minus-18. Oh, and three turnovers, zero assists; on the season McGee has provided 25 giveaways and has shared five buckets with teammates. What can you say? The guy is just way into himself. I said I didn’t care about making a big deal out of his dunk, but would certainly say that the attempt, amongst a plethora of other things JaVale McGee does, shows his youthful selfishness. So McGee’s antics give bloggable storylines, great, but is he growing up and learning from them?
1 Star (out of 3)
McGINNIS: I am more troubled by the step-back jump shot attempt and McGee constantly losing his man on defense than I am about his backboard dunk that has produced so much overreaction.
1 Star
TOWNSEND: JaVale McGee appeared to be pressing against the Rockets. McGee was taken out of the offense by his teammates, and the defensive focus and discipline displayed vs. Philadelphia seemed all but forgotten.
0.75 Star

TOTAL: 2.75 out of 9 stars

The Bench

The Bench

KYLE WEIDIE: To Jordan Crawford’s credit—17 points, 7-12 FGs, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 turnovers in 29 minutes—he’s capable of finding open teammates, and has also been limiting some instances of egregious shooting. He also hustled on some key defensive plays, but still gets caught sleeping here and there. Crawford has ways to slash and get to the basket, he just needs to learn to put himself in better positions to finish. I wonder if bulking up would help him, I know it would on defense. Dare I say Andray Blatche was a pleasant surprise off the bench? He was feeling a couple nice jumpers, rebounding really well (11 and 12 in 34 minutes), but he still isn’t what the Wizards need. They need toughness at the power forward role. Hopefully Saunders keeps bringing Blatche off the bench in favor of Trevor Booker to drive home that message. Jan Vesely gave 26 very quality minutes, and his plus-minus of plus-11 led the Wizards by far.
2 Stars (out of 3)
Sub Man of the Game: Andray Blatche
McGINNIS: Jordan Crawford played more like the super sub that most fans expected coming into season. Blatche provided a spark for offense on second unit but struggled defensively at the center position. Vesely hustled, ran the floor and displayed explosive hops on offensive rebounds. Shelvin had a nice fade away step-back J.
1.5 Stars
Sub Man of the Game: Jordan Crawford
TOWNSEND: Andray Blatche, whose “severely sprained” shoulder was thought to require extensive rehab, looked no worse for wear in his unexpected return to action. He recorded 11 points on 8 shots, while limiting his jump shots, and also brought down 12 rebounds. Jan Vesely, the Wizards’ best pick-and-roll defender, all but shut down Luis Scola’s offensive game. Jordan Crawford had his first efficient outing in recent memory. Crawford is excitable and can be overzealous with the rock, but he has a lot of talent. Plus he’s a better teammate than he gets credit for.
2.5 Stars
Sub Man of the Game: Jan Vesely

BENCH TOTAL: 6 out of 9 stars

The Coach: Flip Saunders

The Coach: Flip Saunders

JOHN CONVERSE TOWNSEND: Flip Saunders has begun to trot out three-guard rotations featuring some combination of John Wall, Shelvin Mack, Jordan Crawford, and Roger Mason. At times, such a lineup works, spacing the floor and giving the point guard options around the perimeter. At others, the undersized five-man unit suffers on the glass and defensively. In the second quarter, small ball produced with unselfish ball movement and close-range shots. In the third, however, the Rockets punished Saunders’ three-guard lineup (this time anchored by JaVale McGee instead of Jan Vesely), going on a 12-4 run that sealed the Wizards’ fate. It’s nice to see Saunders innovate, in any case; creativity amid futility is always welcome.
1.75 Stars (out of 3)
McGINNIS: Sitting McGee and riding Crawford’s hot hand were wise decisions but Singleton could have used more burn in 2nd half when team was unable to attain any stops.
2 Stars
WEIDIE: Flip is getting real gimmicky with the lineups—he had one with Blatche, Vesely, Crawford, Wall and Mack at one point. And why not? In Saunders’ situation, you can’t blame him for seeing what lineups work, perhaps by trial and error. But that one I mentioned… it didn’t really work.
1.75 Stars

COACH TOTAL: 5.5 out of 9 stars

Seen on the Scene

w/ Adam McGinnis

  • During pre-game shoot around, assistant coaches Sam Cassell and Ryan Saunders were lined up in the lane and Wall would attack the rim practicing shots between the two. The hard work paid off resulting in Wall’s career high.
  • There were numerous Marting Luther King tributes played on Jumbotron throughout the game with several Washington players discussing what MLK means to them.
  • Wall, Singleton and Kevin Seraphin all took time to sign autographs for fans before the afternoon tilt.
  • In the locker room, Mack claimed his gaming skills in NBA 2K12 are legit.
  • Kevin McHale admitted in pre-game presser to not watching any Wizards games until just recently and he blew off repeated questions about his Minnesota Timberwolves past with Flip Saunders. You were left with sense that there was some type of strained relationship between the two from McHale’s point of view.

Top Tweets

@abe_squad: Thunder @ Wizards on Wednesday…oh…F-word.

@NBA_Wiz: The McGee self-oop in a vacuum isn’t huge deal. Combined with other knuckleheaded moves, it does little to dispel notion of losing culture.

End Scene


“We’re the most self-inflicted team in the league right now. It’s like the team that’s the most penalized team in football, that’s what I feel like we are. Once we clean those things up, then we give ourselves chances.”

—Maurice “Mo” Evans, via Washington Examiner

JaVale McGee makes Kevin Martin pay
for pump-faking him.

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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 currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.