DC Council Game 14: Wizards 105 vs Thunder 102: From Subway To Chicken Wings | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council Game 14: Wizards 105 vs Thunder 102: From Subway To Chicken Wings

Updated: January 20, 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 14 contributors: Kyle Weidie and John Converse Townsend with first-hand coverage, and Sam Permutt watching from afar.]


Washington Wizards 105 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder 102 [box score]


The Washington Wizards won their second game of the season, defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder 105-102. Thanks to a post from the ESPN TrueHoop blog, it appears that the Wizards’ victory was an “extraordinary upset”:
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it’s the first time in NBA history a team with at least 12 losses beat a team with at least 12 wins with each team having played no more than 15 games through that date. With the loss the Thunder fall to 12-3 while the Wizards improve to 2-12. Coming into the game the Wizards had a winning percentage of .077 and the Thunder had an .857 winning percentage. Elias also tells us it’s only the fourth time in NBA history — and third time since 1948 — a team won a game at least 10 games into the season against a team whose winning percentage was at least 780 points higher. The biggest upset ever of that kind came last season, when the 1-13 Los Angeles Clippers defeated the 11-1 New Orleans Hornets.
Before the game, Kevin Durant, superstar, said that this Wizards team was “better than their record shows.” The Wizards doubled their win total last night, making NBA history; perhaps Durant was right after all.

Scene of the Game

Who cares about the John Wall dunk?

The video below allows you to *look* at the Jordan Crawford lob pass to a dunking John Wall again, but what it won’t replay in slow motion is the great pick-and-roll defense Jan Vesely (Crawford was there too) played against the action of James Harden and Nick Collison. Vesely often uses quickness to cut off drives and length to extend his width and get reflections. In this specific instance, Harden simply dribbled the ball off Vesely’s present and defending legs and feet, steal for the Wizards.

“Jan was great. Great amount energy. He’s getting to the point right now where he’s one of our better bigs as far as pick-and-roll defense, he gets his hands on a lot of balls,” said Flip Saunders after the game. In a way, sad, mostly because of how bad JaVale McGee and Kevin Seraphin seem to be at P&R defense, but screw all that pessimism, Vesely is going to be awesome because of little things like this. Maybe the best part? Vesely’s all like ‘whatever’ about it all, telling the Post’s Michael Lee, “I try to do my best on the court and leave everything on the court. I continue to do that here. I try to do what I do and concentrate.”

D.C. Flag 3-Star Ratings

w/ Sam Permutt, John Converse Townsend
and Kyle Weidie

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

John Wall

John Wall

SAM PERMUTT: Wall was masterful on the offensive end.  He was a point guard — changing speeds to navigate double teams, always looking to set his teammates up, under control.  Oh, and he’s still one of the most explosive players in the league, as demonstrated by his alley-oop throwdown courtesy of a Jordan Crawford pass.  The combination of this athleticism with the veteran point guard savvy that he displayed Wednesday (he did not look like a second-year player) enabled him to control the game.  Points off for getting roasted by Westbrook… but come on, he was great.
2.5 Stars (out of 3)
TOWNSEND: It was another complete game for John Wall who made plays all over the floor. Although Russell Westbrook, like most guards, burned Wall off the dribble all night long, Wall’s defensive efforts off the ball are worth talking about. Wall drew a game-high 11 fouls, including four offensive fouls against Oklahoma City, and he may have taken a “game-winning charge” on Durant with 38 seconds left to protect a precious four-point lead.
2.5 Stars
WEIDIE: In a long season-beginning slump, Wall caught a lot of heat. Now it’s only proper to give him credit for the little things. 1) As I wrote for the Daily Dime on ESPN.com, Wall drew four charges; 2) He finished 13-14 on free-throws, the one miss being crucial with 17 seconds left, but he also hit four in a row, each pair sandwiching a charge draw versus Kevin Durant, to put Washington up six with 37 seconds left. Wall tallied 25 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds, 3 turnovers, and no steals … but shouldn’t charges count as takeaway?
2.75 Stars

TOTAL: 7.75 out of 9 stars

Nick Young

Nick Young

JOHN CONVERSE TOWNSEND: If you’ve seen Nick Young play once, you’ve seen him play a million times, but it’s not every day that you see Young make shots. On Wednesday night, Young made a game-high five three-pointers, all in the second half of action. Three came in the 3rd quarter to cut the Thunder lead to four points, and two came in the 4th quarter. The first gave the Wizards their first lead since the 2nd quarter and Young’s final three-ball extended the lead to five points — just enough cushion to hold off the Durant and Co. Young, for just the fifth time in his five-year career, attempted at least 10 free throws in a game, his highest total since February 1 of last year. He’s a really nice shooter, but would benefit from making more plays at the basket instead of settling jump shots — easier buckets. Young will also get more than his fair share of credit for defending Durant to close the game, but the NBA’s reigning scoring champion went 1-5 with Young chasing him around the court in the fourth. Numbers never lie, right?
2 Stars (out of 3)
PERMUTT: He passed kind of a lot in the first half, even though it didn’t result in much.  He had a block.  And he caught fire.  I forget all the bad things that he did early on.
2.5 Stars
WEIDIE: I’m not going to get wholly excited about Young’s 6-17 shooting night –5-10 from deep and 10 trips to the free-throw line helps — the fact is that scorers like Nick get unconscious sometimes. I’m not going to get excited about his “defense” on Durant either — despite Flip Saunders saying that a little guy like Young caused issues for Durant by getting under him,. Methinks KD just missed some shots he makes on most other nights. Still, without Nick, the Wizards don’t win.
2.25 Stars

TOTAL: 6.75 out of 9 stars

Chris Singleton

Chris Singleton

KYLE WEIDIE: Despite Kevin Durant scoring 9 points on 4-8 shooting in the first quarter, I thought Singleton defended him well. To start, Chris scored the first points of the game with a confident pump fake, drive, and bucket over Durant, so it was nice to see him take it to the scoring champ. Also, four of Durant’s 1st quarter points weren’t Singleton’s fault (dunk off a Wall turnover, JaVale McGee didn’t step up). But he did have problems getting through a couple of screens quickly enough. If anything, Singleton’s toughness softened Durant up for Trevor Booker’s increased defensive size against him in the 2nd quarter. People wonder why Singleton only played 13 minutes, 1) I think Flip felt Rashard Lewis was a better option in the 3rd quarter; even if Lewis isn’t hitting, he still makes the offense better as a threat, and 2) Singleton lost minutes to Jordan Crawford in the fourth. Again, can’t blame the move of the coach, the three-guard lineup worked. Sometimes these things happen to rookies.
1.5 Star (out of 3)
PERMUTT: Looked like he was getting beat by Durant easily, but got some sneaky deflections from behind.  Played well enough to play more than he did.
1.5 Stars
TOWNSEND: Singleton had a rough night. No one has ever said guarding Kevin Durant is an easy assignment (he finished with 33 points), but Singleton got absolutely worked in the 1st quarter, giving up 9 points before getting the hook from Flip Saunders. Singleton is expected to make a full recovery.
0.25 Star

TOTAL: 3.25 out of 9 stars

Andray Blatche

Trevor Booker

JOHN CONVERSE TOWNSEND: Flip Saunders gave praise to Andray Blatche after the game, crediting his courage against Perkins and, generally, his play in the first half. Selective memory (and hearing) from Saunders, who said that “‘Dray was really good for us in the first half, even though every time he shoots it, the crowd seems to get the ‘oohs and aahs’ and everything else.” Oohs and aahs? All I heard was boo! and bah!, beginning when Blatche’s name was announced in the starting lineup. Blatche had a miserable first quarter, firing (and even airballing) long two-pointers. He was traveled and turned the ball over. ‘Dray played better at the five-spot later in the game, batting away passes and harassing the roll man in the Thunder’s two-man game. It can’t be easy to play against the opposition and the hometown crowd, but Blatche made strides to redeem himself as a starter in D.C. — even if he’ll still be passive in the paint and come up short on breakaway dunk attempts.
1.75 Stars (out of 3)
PERMUTT: It’s got to be hard when you get booed before you even step on the court.  He was really battling with Perk — surprising, but you have to respect it.
2 Stars
WEIDIE: Watching Blatche in post-game interviews makes me say: ‘This guy’ — but yea, give him credit, considering the environment.
2 Stars

TOTAL: 5.75 out of 9 stars

JaVale McGee

JaVale McGee

SAM PERMUTT: JaVale was the only player who didn’t seem affected by the ‘hey-we’re-beating-the-best-team-this-is-cool-we-could-win’ excitement that energized the majority of his teammates.  He came out looking slow and disinterested, and he stayed that way for most of the night, sprinkling in a couple of nice dunks courtesy of John Wall passes.  His after-mistake brooding is becoming a real problem; even if he’s only mad at himself, his sulking completely isolates him from his teammates.
0.5 Star (out of 3)
TOWNSEND: In the closing minutes of Wednesday night’s game, JaVale McGee missed four free throws in less than a minute — free throws that would have given the Wizards a nine-point lead over the Thunder. McGee, inexplicably, is a much worse free throw shooter today (45.7-percent) than he was when he entered the league (66-percent), which will relegate him to the bench to prevent Impale-a-JaVale / Knee-a-McGee strategies. That might not be so bad, since the Wizards play just as well (sometimes even better) with McGee on the sideline. On the flipside, and in a game where both teams both scored 1.09 points per possession (PPP), McGee’s rebounding margin gave the Wiz a 13 possession edge. That’s big. Stat via mySynergySports
1.25 Stars
WEIDIE: His horrid pick-and-roll defense got him the hook in the second quarter and stares from Saunders, but to his credit, he saw some decent run in the second half by being active. Unfortunately, as bad as McGee is at P&R D, he’s worse at free-throws. After he missed four crucial ones, however, his teammates picked him up, encouraged him to keep his head up, reminding Saunders in his post game presser about a talk the Wizards got from a Sergeant Master in the Marines the previous night. Not sure that resonated with McGee, though. After the final buzzer sounded and the Wizards sealed the W, McGee was the first to dart back to the locker room, alone, while his teammates celebrated and congratulated each other on the court.
1 Star

TOTAL: 2.75 out of 9 stars

The Bench

The Bench

SAM PERMUTT The Wizards are not blessed with a James Harden off the bench, a player who can control the ball and make plays for himself and others (unless you count Jordan Crawford taking bad shots).  But with John Wall in the game for all but three minutes, the Wizards bench players were able to fill important roles–hustling (Jan & Trevor), making timely shots (Rashard from the corner), and gunning (Jordan Crawford).
2 Stars (out of 3)
Sub Man of the Game: Jan Veseley made something out of nothing on more than one occasion.  Not sure his dunking is Blake-esque yet, but he got the job done.
TOWNSEND: The old crusty Orlando pirate, Rashard Lewis, seemed to find his sea legs last night. He was surprisingly spry, throwing down a two-handed dunk in the 2nd quarter and tip-slamming his own miss in the 3rd. Jordan Crawford kept the Wizards in the game by attacking the rim and making his free throws (9 for 11). Trevor Booker vs. Kevin Durant was a match-up both teams seemed to like. In the first half, the Thunder would isolate the two by forcing the Wizards to switch in the pick-and-roll, but Booker held his own, which was likely the reason Saunders stuck Booker on Durant later in the game. Thunder Coach Scott Brooks called Booker a “winning basketball player” who “makes winning plays” at the end of the night. Jan Vesely did a little bit of everything. Shelvin Mack and Roger Mason made cameos.
2 Stars
Sub Man of the Game: Jan Vesely
WEIDIE: Jan Vesely provided my post game moment, Jordan Crawford was a scoring option, Rashard Lewis was adequate, and Trevor Booker’s minutes (15), and fouls (4 to go with 4 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 turnovers and a block), were productive.
2 Stars
Sub Man of the Game: Jan Vesely

BENCH TOTAL: 6 out of 9 stars

The Coach: Flip Saunders

The Coach: Flip Saunders

KYLE WEIDIE: Hey, it’s getting to the point where Saunders is bringing in Marines and playing creative lineups of John Wall, Jordan Crawford, Nick Young, Jan Vesely and Trevor Booker down the stretch against the Thunder (with Young responsible for guarding Kevin Durant). Hell, I was even under the impression that it was Saunders who played the Tupac before the game too. The old dog is using all the tricks in the book, and I like it.
3 Stars (out of 3)
PERMUTT: No Subway. What a relief.
3 Stars
TOWNSEND: I couldn’t believe Saunders didn’t bench Andray Blatche in the first quarter — Blatche couldn’t believe it either — but it worked out for the best. Saunders coached a heckuva game, personally introducing Kevin Durant to half the roster and employing atypical, but remarkably effective five-man units. Has he finally figured out how to win with this bunch?
3 Stars

COACH TOTAL: 9 out of 9 stars

Seen on the Scene

w/ Kyle Weidie

The Washington Post’s Mike Wise interviewed Pamela McGee before the game… Hey, did you know he wrote a story about her son?

Also, fans booed Andray Blatche during pregame introductions, but you’ve already heard about that.

Top Tweets

@MimiPh: Chick in front of me at #Wizards game just pulled out a book to read. http://lockerz.com/s/175695546

@adammcginnis: If Jan ever gets starter minutes, he might lead the league in deflections, his hands are relentless in passing lanes

@johnschuhmann: Honestly thought Blatche was a better amnesty candidate than Lewis. 3 more years on his deal after this 1. Who would trade for that?

End Scene


“No Subway today.”

—Flip Saunders.

@MrMichaelLee of the WashPost Tweets: “Flip Saunders upgraded from usual Subway sub after big win over OKC. Got some pizza & chicken wings from Circa at Dupont Circle”

[We can certainly include this picture again since Saunders has been getting his Game Changer, John Wall, back lately, right?]

[But we’ll also post this pic of Jordan Crawford shooting pre-game…]

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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.