DC Council Game 16: Wizards 94 vs Celtics 100: It Matters In The End | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council Game 16: Wizards 94 vs Celtics 100: It Matters In The End

Updated: January 23, 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 16 contributors: John Converse Townsend and Kyle Weidie with first-hand coverage, and Rashad Mobley watching from afar.]


Washington Wizards 94 vs. Boston Celtics 100 [box score]

Stat of The Game

w/ Rashad Mobley

Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen are averaging a combined 30 points, 11.5 assists and 8.2 rebounds this season.  Against the Wizards, Paul Pierce nearly matched their output by scoring 34 points, handing out 10 assists and grabbing 8 rebounds.  With apologies to Allen Iverson, Pierce was the answer against Washington. At one point in the fourth quarter, the Celtics offense went as follows:  Look for Pierce in the post, and then let him shoot it, draw the foul or pass out of the double team, and it worked to perfection. This was Pierce’s first double-digit assist game since last season when he dished out 10 and 12 assists in consecutive games against Atlanta and Indiana.

Doc Rivers on why Pierce found success:

“We didn’t try to trick the game up. We just… we ran the same play. We told them the options, if they take that away go to this. I just thought it was a good game of guys executing offensively, and defensively

“We had all shooting on the floor, that’s why we took J.O. [Jermaine O’Neal] off. We were playing with him well on the floor, but we knew they were going to trap, and that’s why we put shooters on the floor and Avery under the basket so they couldn’t leave him. So it’s tough, you had to pick your poison. If you trapped [Pierce], you were going to leave [Mickael] Pietrus, Kevin [Garnett] and Brandon [Bass] standing wide open… it was a tough rotation.

Scene of the Game

This site doesn’t give Andray Blatche enough credit?

Why, look at this splendid dunk on an old man with a large forehead.

[Next one of these due in about 94 games.]

D.C. Flag 3-Star Ratings

w/ Rashad Mobley, John Converse Townsend
and Kyle Weidie

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

John Wall

John Wall

RASHAD MOBLEY: Friday night against the Denver Nuggets, Nene was a late scratch from the starting lineup, which should have meant a dominating performance from JaVale McGee was forthcoming. Unfortunately all McGee could muster was 13 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. When it was announced that Rajon Rondo would not play due to a sore wrist, I was curious if Wall would take advantage of his absence and have a dominant game.  Wall thoroughly dominated Avery Bradley (3 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, 6 turnovers) with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists. He controlled the tempo and put pressure on the Celtics by running every chance he could. Unfortunately, he also took a series of bad shots (a.k.a. hero ball) at the end of the game that cost the Wizards a chance to tie or take the lead. And as my colleague Kyle Weidie noticed a couple games back, Wall’s body language continues to be an issue. When Wall felt like a foul call was missed, or toward the end of the game, when both Blatche and McGee failed to put hands on a pinpoint pass, he was demonstrative with his displeasure — not exactly a trait you want from your young leader of a point guard.
2 Stars (out of 3)
TOWNSEND: The Celtics did a pretty good job keeping bodies in the paint, offering the Wizards a chance to become jump shooters — they took it. According to the ESPN play-by-play, John Wall missed six of his 11 jump shots vs. Boston, which is likely his best shooting performance of the season, given he’s shooting about 25 percent on two-point shots thus far. A big reason for Wall’s struggles is his technique. Wall fires set shots in pregame warmups, but shoots jumpers during games. Where’s the consistency? It’s not evident in practice, and it’s surely not there on the court.
2 Stars
WEIDIE: Wall is playing much more in control with his dribbles. Sure, he can get out of control at times, and he has recently been shrinking in clutch play, but you gotta break some eggs to make an omelette (he’s gotta go fast sometimes), and he might as well try his jumper and offensive forays on late game possessions now so he’s better prepared in a future season. It seems Wall is more realizing that he is responsible for making the system happen. His body language has improved, some. He will get there.
2.25 Stars

TOTAL: 6.25 out of 9 stars

Nick Young

Nick Young

JOHN CONVERSE TOWNSEND: Nick Young made his first shot, a fadeaway J, but failed to get even a hand up to contest a Ray Allen 18-footer — hand down, man down. Allen, with Young getting a long hard look at the back of his jersey in the first quarter, scored 7 points in 7 minutes (3 of 4 FG), mostly on uncontested shots. Flip Saunders had words for Young after taking him out of the game for Crawford — after the game, Saunders said that “Nick was terrible early, just how he was guarding Ray, not much energy.” Crawford, a much tougher off-ball defender than his teammate, stayed much closer to Allen and gave up just one shot for the rest of the quarter, a missed three-pointer. The lack of defensive intensity hurt the Wizards. With Young trailing every play, the defense was forced to rotate, leaving shooters open. And since those same shooters don’t have “Wizards” printed across their chests, they often convert those easy scoring opportunities. It’s great to be able to answer the opposition with a pretty jump shot, but the Wizards need more players that will take it personally when scored on. Sam Cassell, an assistant coach, did; he ripped Young’s “horrible” defensive effort on several occasions on Sunday afternoon. If looks could kill, Young might be in a body bag today.
1.25 Stars (out of 3)
MOBLEY: Against the Nuggets, Young started fast and petered out toward the end of the game. Against the Celtics, he started slow but scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half. He also drew a technical foul after a big dunk late in the fourth quarter that cut into the Wizards’ brief lead. He still has not put together four (or even three) solid quarters, like Paul Pierce did.
1.75 Stars
WEIDIE: Like Wall, Young has shown more willingness to play the right way recently, but man he can get dogged on defense. He needs to play with more pride in trying to stop his opponent, he needs more defensive activity, and he needs to better know how to use his athleticism to chase guys like Ray Allen. Saunders said he was “terrible early,” but gave him credit for having a better second half. Young usually better at taking care of the ball (4 turnovers Sunday), but I guess sloppiness comes with being so much of a focus on offense that you have to learn how to pass.
1.5 Stars

TOTAL: 4.5 out of 9 stars

Chris Singleton

Chris Singleton

RASHAD MOBLEY: On NBATV Friday night, Dennis Scott mentioned that Paul Pierce could play in the NBA for five more years because he had that “rec league” game that doesn’t require much athleticism at all. Chris Singleton’s success during this brief NBA season — and the reason why he’s in the starting lineup — has been based on ability to use his athleticism to his advantage, while managing to pepper in some surprisingly good shooting. While guarding Paul Pierce, Singleton looked like a pitcher throwing on three days rest. His athletic prowess was nullified, because Pierce’s rec league game is predicated on head fakes, creative angles and just sheer will. Not only did Singleton pick up two quick fouls, but he never displayed that surprising shoot touch of his either.
0.5 Star (out of 3)
TOWNSEND: There’s only so much you can do to slow a player who still finds ways to produce against double-teams like Paul Pierce. Singleton is still tentative, still learning, and still taking offense to being scored on.
1.5 Stars
WEIDIE: When asked before the game if Flip Saunders saw improvement from Singleton over the last couple of games, the coach immediate retorted, “No, not defensively,” he went on to speak of Singleton’s struggles with positioning, fouls, and adjusting aggressiveness, while conceding that he has gone against some of the top small forwards in the NBA (Carmelo, Durant, Pierce). With the game tied at 78 with 7:30 minutes left in the fourth, Pierce easily slid past Singleton on the baseline for a layup. It seemed like the rookie was hesitant to be physical.
0.75 Star

TOTAL: 2.75 out of 9 stars

Andray Blatche

Trevor Booker

KYLE WEIDIE: Blatche didn’t hear many boos Sunday, as Nick Young said in a post-game quoteable, because A) the crowd was decidedly Celtics — although with plenty of Wizards sympathizers, about one in every eight in attendance looked to be wearing Celtics green, and they sounded much louder than that ratio — and most, likely Celtics fans of old, probably have no clue about who Andray Blatche is or anything else to do with the ‘modern’ NBA outside of Boston, and B) perhaps people felt more kind on a Sunday (I mean, Wizards fans aren’t like the Barksdale crew trying to pop a cap in Omar on the Sabbath, knocking his grandma’s crown off in the process). Andray was present, but when you see how much Flip Saunders, in his post-game presser, fawns over Kevin Garnett’s ability to play aggressive, trapping defense on pick and rolls  — “He smothered our guys,” said Flip — you just know that, most often, whatever Andray does on the court is a disservice, simply because he rarely, if ever, shows the ability to do what a guy like Garnett does, even though he has the exact same tools. Just a smaller toolbox, I guess. Blatche finished with 8 points on 4-10 shooting, 9 rebounds (1 offensive), 2 assists, 2 turnovers, 3 fouls and a block in 37 minutes.
1.25 Stars (out of 3)
MOBLEY: His full court pass to Nick Young that resulted in a monster dunk was downright pretty. His drive and dunk over Jermaine O’Neal was also a thing of beauty. But failing to score in double figures against 67-year-old Kevin Garnett, while allowing him to score 17, unacceptable.
1 Star
TOWNSEND: Before the game, Andray Blatche talked candidly and at length about how being booed has messed with his psyche, so I wonder whether it was Kevin Garnett’s ugly mug or the chip on Blatche’s shoulder that got him ready to play. Blatche came out firing, scoring six points and grabbing five rebounds in the first quarter. The problem is that Blatche produced just two points and four rebounds in his final 25 minutes of action.
1.25 Stars

TOTAL: 3.5 out of 9 stars

JaVale McGee

JaVale McGee

JOHN CONVERSE TOWNSEND: JaVale McGee not only averaged 16.5 points and 14 rebounds in two prior games against the Celtics this season, but was also poised to have a big game against a defense that recently allowed the Suns’ Marcin Gortat to go for 24 and 12. McGee started the game well, blocking an Avery Bradley dunk attempt on the C’s first possession. McGee then showed the 15,000 in attendance at the Verizon Center some new tricks, including a spinning fadeaway jump shot and a running hook shot over traffic… He missed both looks. McGee might not be a knucklehead, but he makes his fair share of knucklehead plays. No rebounds in the second half? Not good enough.
0.75 Star (out of 3)
MOBLEY: For this game only, I agree with Pam McGee: More plays should have been run for JaVale against Boston. Jermaine O’Neal could not guard him, and yet he only got 10 shot attempts, which was way too few.
2 Stars
WEIDIE: During the game, I lauded McGee for his activeness and a really strong drop-step post move bucket and-1 against Jermaine O’Neal early in the third. He played within himself on offense and was a defensive presence a couple times (in terms of shot-blocking only), but barely rebounded the ball. He had a defensive rebound 45 seconds into the game, and got his second, an offensive board, midway through the first quarter. He finished with three rebounds in 31 minutes. Oh yea, that last defensive play and the body language? No thanks.
1 Star

TOTAL: 3.75 out of 9 stars

The Bench

The Bench

KYLE WEIDIE: Hey? How about that Kevin Seraphin guy? You sit and watch from the bench for a couple of games and it’s amazing what you can learn once back in action. In 11 minutes — off the bench before Trevor Booker — Kevin showed his physicality against the Celtics, scoring four points (once in transition running with John Wall — getting in shape!), grabbing five rebounds, with two blocks and three fouls. He led the team with a plus-8. You gotta like Jordan Crawford’s moxie (12 points, 5-11 FGs)… getting in Pierce’s face, hitting runners in the lane… I even saw him back it out on offense in the first quarter to get the ball out to Wall, who sliced through the lane for a bucket. Jordan still took some questionable shots late, though. Shelvin Mack was solid as usual in limited time. Otherwise, the combo of Rashard Lewis, Roger Mason, Trevor Booker and Jan Vesely played 34 total minutes and scored six points with three rebounds and one assist. A stinker from that crew.
1.25 Stars (out of 3)
Sub Man of the Game: Kevin Seraphin
MOBLEY: With 5:13 left in the first quarter, Flip Saunders started subbing his bench players into the game (with the exception of Chris Singleton, who was already on the bench with two fouls. Shelvin Mack, Rashard Lewis, Kevin Seraphin, Jordan Crawford and Roger Mason all saw time late in the first quarter and early in the second. The Wizards were down 13-10 when they entered, and by the time Flip started re-inserting his starters, the Wizards led 25-22. Solid bench play tonight.
2 Stars
Sub Man of the Game: Jordan Crawford
TOWNSEND: A welcome Kevin Seraphin sighting! Seraphin had a career game off the bench (four points, five rebounds and two blocks) and appeared to have figured out some of the nuances of the NBA game. Seraphin made a nice defensive adjustment in guarding Brandon Bass. He got physical and took away the space Bass was exploiting for easy baskets. Curiously, though, Trevor Booker and Jan Vesely spent much of the afternoon watching the Wizards play the Celtics from the bench.
1 Star
Sub Man of the Game: Kevin Seraphin

BENCH TOTAL: 4.25 out of 9 stars

The Coach: Flip Saunders

The Coach: Flip Saunders

JOHN CONVERSE TOWNSEND: Flip Saunders managed the game well early, acting quickly to correct mismatches; like in the first quarter, when he realized that Jordan Crawford and Roger Mason wouldn’t be able to properly defend Mickael Pietrus and Paul Pierce, Saunders threw Nick Young and Jan Vesely into the ball game. Late in the game, however, Saunders didn’t have a lot of answers. The Wizards couldn’t get the shots they wanted, were stumped in the pick-and-roll and there were times when the team barely made it inside the three-point line. No player on the roster was able to disrupt Paul Pierce’s rhythm, until John Wall took on that responsibility with a few minutes left in the game. It was too little too late, though. Poor execution and worse decision-making down the stretch cost the Wizards.
1.25 Stars (out of 3)
MOBLEY: I’ll quote Doc Rivers (as told to Kyle Weidie before the game): “You know, this is the way Flip has always coached, and you can see it now. They’re actually listening and doing what probably — I know — he’s asked them to do since he’s been here. I don’t know what has prompted it, but they’re doing it.”
2 Stars
WEIDIE: If you polled NBA coaches on which colleague they feel most sorry for, I’m pretty sure 99-percent would answer Flip Saunders. Now, of course, some/most/many of these coaches might handle the situation differently. Feel like Saunders is trying to make a vehicle for the soap box derby with plywood and scotch tape… when he probably just wants more scotch.
1.5 Stars

COACH TOTAL: 4.75 out of 9 stars

Seen on the Scene

w/ Kyle Weidie

  • The scene of the night was Kevin Garnett abruptly getting up from his interview, completing it, grabbing his stuff, walking past a fruit tray, grunting/growling at it, stabbing a piece of honeydew melon (I think?) with a fork, throwing it in his mouth, and then rolling out.
  • It was Chinese New Year Day/Eve, so there were festivities.
  • In the Wizards locker room before the game, Andray Blatche asked pair of Chinese reporters what they were covering. When the reporters answered they were celebrating the New Year, Blatche laughed, “You’re late!”
  • A funny late scene: the “Shots” song by LMFAO blasting through the Verizon Center while little kids, some with moms joining, danced. “Lyrics don’t matter anymore,” John Converse Townsend turned to me instead. They sure don’t.
  • Why did Flip Saunders give his clipboard a hard toss to the ground in the game’s final moments? Seems like it was because Andray Blatche failed to block out Brandon Bass, but it likely was a build up from the entire day’s events. In any case, let’s go to the video…

Top Tweets

@BoneyStarks: John Wall making jumpshots. Taking his time. This is lovely to see.

@DCAjay: Wall hits the floor regularly on both ends of the floor but people aren’t satisfied with his effort? Never see him take a play off

@ChilledOnTheRox: @adammcginnis we should trade John wall for rondo’s injured wrist #HerdVoice #KornheiserVoice #DoucheVoice

End Scene


“I was joking with Flip, when the same guy, the third time, knocked him down, I asked him do they have a hit out on Ray (for a minute).”
—Doc Rivers on Ray Allen’s ankle jam (via Jan Vesely)

“It was the way [Vesely] was setting screens. He was stepping out and extending and every time I tried go around it, his foot was in the way so it just seemed like a train wreck waiting to happen.”
-Ray Allen on Jan Vesely (via Wizards Insider)

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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.