DC Council Game 7: Wizards 96 vs. Knicks 99: Rich Beginnings, Broke In The End | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council Game 7: Wizards 96 vs. Knicks 99: Rich Beginnings, Broke In The End

Updated: January 7, 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 7 contributors: Rashad Mobley, John Converse Townsend and Kyle Weidie.]


Washington Wizards 96 vs. New York Knicks 99 [box score]

Quick STAT:

“Two things that hurt us… Turnovers, they made 27 points off turnovers, and we shot 61% from the free-throw line.” —Flip Saunders

The Wizards shot 8-13 from the line. With 1:30 left, and JaVale McGee getting set to shoot two, I had a sinking feeling. McGee had just blocked a shot attempt by Carmelo Anthony after he made a vicious spin move against Trevor Booker. After his swat, JaVale jetted in the other direction, ultimately receiving the ball with a chance to finish, but getting a trip to the charity stripe instead. With the Wizards holding on to a 95-94 lead, he missed both of them. For the season, McGee is 10-22 from the line, a .527 percentage that’s just above his .523 career average. The Wizards as a team are ranked 15th in the NBA with a team .750 free-throw percentage, just above the league average of .743.

Scene of the Game


{Getting hit in the face smarts, on purpose or not, whistle or not, but you got to keep going.}

After Carmelo Anthony maneuvered his arms high to get away from Trevor Booker,
he nailed a three to put the Knicks up 98-96. 

[screen shot via Comcast]

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

JOHN CONVERSE TOWNSEND: Before the season, Colonel Saunders assured Wizards faithful that John Wall was a “popcorn player”; Wall flashed his primetime potential in what the coach called a “must-try-hard game” before the night began. The Wizards needed Wall on the floor (in part to keep the mercurial Jordan Crawford sidelined), and no player logged more minutes than the second-year guard on Friday night (42:41). John Wall has never seen a one-on-four fast break he didn’t like. He’s like a young Fox McCloud when he scans the floor in transition. The voice of Peppy Hare, his guide to the Galaxy, is the only one he hears: “USE THE BOOST TO GET THROUGH!” Who is Wall to turn down advice like that? Eight of Wall’s 10 baskets came on shots inside two feet, mostly on full court driving layups. It wasn’t all pretty, though. Wall’s jumper is still spotty at best, and Mike Bibby repeatedly beat him off the dribble.
2.5 Stars (out of 3)
MOBLEY: He did a much better job running the offense, and he continued to flash signs that he’s ready to break out of his slump. But where is this improved jump shot we saw all summer? He should have scored 30 or more last night.
2 Stars
WEIDIE: The game was kind of what we should expect from Wall. It will simply take time for him to learn an offensive move aside from the fast break, for him to be able to knock down three-point shots, for his coach not to say, ‘No, no, no, no, no, no, no…’ when asked if a play with seven seconds left was designed to get Wall an open three, to better know when to look for his own points and when to look for others.
1.75 Stars

TOTAL: 6.25 out of 9 stars

Nick Young

Nick Young

RASHAD MOBLEY: It is easy to call a players only meeting, and it is even easier to give quotes via Twitter and the media, discussing how you and your teammates need to do better, play harder and stop being selfish. Ultimately, someone on the Wizards had to go out and break the pattern of slow starts and large deficits that they’ve been facing this season. Nick Young was that guy last night. He scored 12 of the Wizards’ 31 first quarter points and he played with the type of efficiency that he previously had only shown off the bench. He only scored 12 points over the rest of the game, but he gets a pass, because on this night he got his team the cushion they needed, and it almost worked.
2.5 Stars (out of 3)
TOWNSEND: Nick Young can fill up the cup—and he did—but his nascent intensity and awareness on the defensive side of the ball stood out. More complete efforts from Young, please.
2.25 Stars
WEIDIE: Young had a tough second quarter, going 0-4 with poor shot selection after a 12 point first quarter, but came back OK with 10 second half points. He needs to learn how to be there in the end (he was rather absent in the fourth—3 points, 1-3 FGs, 0 FTAs in nine minutes), instead of in the beginning, but 22 game points on 20 shots is at least consistent, I think.
2 Stars

TOTAL: 6.75 out of 9 stars

Rashard Lewis

Rashard Lewis

KYLE WEIDIE: Talk about bad games—23 minutes, 2 points, 1-4 FGs, 0-2 3P, 4 rebounds, 5 turnovers. We get it that Lewis can be a calming veteran presence in a young and dumb starting lineup, but that doesn’t cut it when he’s air-balling runners and just losing the ball out of bounds in unforced manners. Fans began to boo Lewis in an especially tough third quarter, and to Flip Saunders’ credit, Lewis sat on the bench in the fourth, in favor of Chris Singleton among others. Again, veteran calming presence… we get that, we see results of that (on other occasions, not last night), but this NBA thing is a business, right? It’s getting closer to the point where paying Lewis all that money to come off the bench is more of a bang-for-the-buck than starting him to miss what he’s supposed to be doing: long-distance shooting.
0.25 Star (out of 3)
MOBLEY: Every time Chris Singleton makes a three-pointer, Rashard Lewis’ job gets a little less secure. If Lewis’ name was Charles Jones—as in the secret weapon who was a defensive stalwart and cult favorite on the Washington Bullets teams of the 80s—a stat line like two points and four rebounds in 23 minutes would be OK. But his name is Rashard Lewis, the-24 million-dollar starter, so it’s not OK.
0 Stars
TOWNSEND: Chris Singleton made a strong— no, sorry; Trevor Booker had—that’s not right either. The reason Rashard Lewis remains in the starting lineup can be explained by the ancient Wu-Tang proverb: “Cash rules everything around me.”
0.5 Star

TOTAL: 0.75 out of 9 stars

Andray Blatche

Andray Blatche

JOHN CONVERSE TOWNSEND: After ‘Dray Blatche missed an 18-foot jumper in the opening minute of the game, a father sitting behind the media table told his two sons: “Kids, when you become seven feet (tall), don’t be shooting jumpers.” This gentleman continued to offer advice to Blatche during the game, summarized in two words: Don’t shoot. Blatche, entirely unaware of this man’s existence, did limit his outside shooting versus the Knicks in favor of scoring opportunities closer to the hoop. Despite not having the strength to push defenders around in the paint, as well as a severe reliance on shot fakes to set up his post play, Blatche was effective on the block. He handled double-teams with ease, and on several occasions made sharp passes to open teammates on the perimeter.
1.75 Stars (out of 3)
MOBLEY: Prior to the game, Coach Flip Saunders referred to this game as a “must play well,” and Blatche responded by playing a mediocre game. If he had played well, the Wizards would have won.
1.5 Stars
WEIDIE: 15 points on 7-11 shooting and 1-2 FTs, with six rebounds, one offensive, three steals, two blocks, three turnovers and one assist. Those should be the numbers for a role player off the bench filling in the starting lineup for the main power forward who is out due to a nagging injury. Now somebody’s just got to find that starting power forward and put him on the Wizards.
1 Star

TOTAL: 4.25 out of 9 stars

JaVale McGee

JaVale McGee

RASHAD MOBLEY: The last time we saw JaVale McGee, he was thoroughly outplayed by Dwight Howard—the player Chris Paul once said McGee reminded him of. Last night, McGee went up against Tyson Chandler—the guy whose game McGee’s is similar to, despite McGee’s denials. The two gentlemen played to a virtual draw with Chandler going for 12 points and 15 rebounds (nine offensive) and McGee putting up 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. As was his strength with the Mavericks, Chandler didn’t cost his team the victory, he just continually gave them better chances to win. In the fourth and decisive quarter, McGee was virtually invisible except for two main plays. With 9:03 left in the fourth quarter, coming out of a timeout, McGee allowed Ivan Shumpert to steal the ball from him, and 20 seconds later Shumpert his a three-pointer to take the Knicks lead up to six. Then with 1:30 left in the game, McGee missed two free throws that could have either given the Wizards a lead or pulled them into a tie. So it isn’t that McGee didn’t play well, he just didn’t play well enough when his team needed him.
1.75 Stars (out of 3)
TOWNSEND: JaVale McGee had another strong performance against a difficult matchup in Tyson Chandler. He didn’t have the minerals to sink two go-ahead free throws with 1:30 left in the fourth quarter, but who expected him to?
2 Stars
WEIDIE: There’s a sense of consistency building with McGee, and I like that. It’s constructive. Now he needs to take some more baby steps such as A) Now overtly sending Saunders the signal that he’s ready to come out the game by not running the floor, and B) Keeping better concentration so as not to lose track of crafty opposition post men on defense during the second half of games.
1.75 Stars

TOTAL: 5.5 out of 9 stars

The Bench

The Bench

JOHN CONVERSE TOWNSEND: The bench, led by pinewood heroes Trevor Booker and rookie Chris Singleton, played great last night. That dynamic duo outscored, outrebounded and outdefended incumbent starters Andray Blatche and Rashard Lewis, and committed seven fewer turnovers. If it was up to me, Singleton would start over Lewis and Booker would spell Blatche at every opportunity. Jordan Crawford was on a short leash, finally. Kevin Seraphin played an uneven game. He’s like a McDonald’s burger: a supersized test in photos, but a flat, uninspiring patty in practice. Somewhere, Shelvin Mack is on a milk box missing.
2.25 Stars (out of 3)
Sub of the Game: Chris Singleton
MOBLEY: Jordan Crawford decided to join Rashard Lewis in the witness protection program last night by going scoreless. But the strong performances on both ends of the floor by Trevor Booker and Chris Singleton did more than enough to offset that. They both deserve to start, but for now they are best served by providing the type of boosts they gave against the Knicks: 20 points, 14 rebounds, five steals, four blocks and three assists.
2.75 Stars
Sub Man of the Game: Chris Singleton
WEIDIE: Singleton and Booker… Wow. Both of those super-subs are fun to watch. They are not just tough, guard anyone defensive players (they both saw action against ‘Melo Anthony), but there’s decent offensive contribution from both as well (more than, say, a Michael Ruffin or Dominic McGuire), although Singleton’s jump shot is surprisingly, vastly better than Booker’s. The bench rating is all these two with a small side dish of Seraphin, who gave ten quality minutes, for him. The only other bench player who played, Jordan Crawford, was wholly irrelevant.
2.5 Stars
Sub Man of the Game: Chris Singleton

BENCH TOTAL: 7.5 out of 9 stars

The Coach: Flip Saunders

The Coach: Flip Saunders

KYLE WEIDIE: Saunders came into his post game presser rather quickly. He didn’t seem mad, but rather disappointed. The way he slowly walked back to his coach’s quarters after speaking with the media gave the aura that he really, really wanted that win. And he did what he could with what he had to work with, so there’s not much blame to be laid with in-game substitution patterns (although Shelvin Mack would have been nice). Saunders benched Lewis in the fourth when he was playing poorly, he kept Jordan Crawford on a necessary short leash, he trusted rookies and second year players to guard Carmelo Anthony, earning them valuable experience. (Although, there could be something said about not doubling Anthony at certain junctures so as to not to let him get completely in a rhythm.) Saunders did predictably back off light threats to change his starting lineup, and unfortunately for him, the disappointing, winless look on his face might be becoming all too commonplace for his players.
1.25 Stars (out of 3)
MOBLEY: Roger Mason is a former Knick, but isn’t allowed to enter the game at any point. The New York Knicks are weak in the backcourt, but Shelvin Mack also gets a DNP, and Jordan Crawford is allowed to meander around the court for 11 meaningless minutes. Flip did free Booker and Singleton, but some of his bench decisions continue to baffle me.
1.5 Stars
TOWNSEND: Give Flip Saunders his propers for the rotations last night. That said, he didn’t have an answer to tie the game at 99. From my view, Nick Young simply raced around the perimeter, into the teeth of a triple-team for a contested shot—back iron.
1.75 Stars

COACH TOTAL: 4.5 out of 9 stars

Seen on the Scene

w/ Kyle Weidie

Pardon The Interruption (PTI) came on both of the big screen televisions in the Wizards locker room pre-game. Nick Young and Andray Blatche saw that Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser were jib-jabbing about the Atlanta Hawks, but “John Wall” was the next topic. As Blatche and Young said, “Turn this up,” sitting in their chairs and moving them inches away from the screen—Blatche literally turning it up—Wall emerged from the training room. Nick and ‘Dray knew what was about to go down, they just wanted to enjoy being part of the show in the locker room, in front of the attending D.C. media. Before Kornheiser could start ranting about a team that Wilbon said were “his” Wizards (Kornheiser’s, Wilbon himself back to a complete affiliation with Chicago), Roger Mason said, “Cut that shit off.” Wall had disappeared by then. The words coming out of Kornheiser’s mouth didn’t matter, Blatche and Young enacted their concocted reaction, shutting the T.V.s down as Young threw a paper bag of contents, amongst them dinner rolls, in the direction of the screens. Message sent, boys. Always a scene on Fun Street.

Fan Tweets

@Unsilent: Chris Singleton is more important to the Wizards future than anybody who played tonight, save for Wall.

@BoneyStarks: John Wall = The Spanish Kid on “Mighty Ducks” that couldn’t slow down.

@gheorghetheblog: Rashard Lewis serves zero purpose. Please freeze him in Carbonite and leave him over by the Verizon Center Burger King.

@docfunk: The Wizards can still turn things around if they kidnap Kevin Love on Sunday.

Slept-On Moment

  • MOBLEY: Coming into last night’s game, Knicks’ guard Mike Bibby, the former Washington Wizard (for two days), had only made one three-pointer, and had not scored in double figures.  Against the Wizards, Bibby scored 11 points and hit three pointers—including two at the end of third quarter that allowed the Knicks to regain the lead.  This would be a good time to mention, again, that Jordan Crawford—Bibby’s former teammate in Atlanta—went scoreless.
  • TOWNSEND: With just over four minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Knicks leading 93-85, Trevor Booker blocked a Carmelo Anthony dunk attempt along the baseline. Booker then hit the hardwood (for the second time in the contest) to keep the loose ball in play, tipping the ball to an open John Wall before crashing through one of the ad displays that line the Verizon Center court. Not two seconds later, Wall finished a layup on the other end of the court to cut the Knicks lead to six points. Free Booker.
  • WEIDIE: John Wall’s wide open three attempt with seven seconds left and his Wizards down 98-96 was a prime example of bad, unacceptable decision-making. It has some to do with the fact that he can’t shoot, but mostly is due to the fact that Tyson Chandler was running at him and Wall didn’t use the time and space he had to drive to the rim and create something better for him or a teammate (JaVale McGee was standing under the rim, for instance… Lob perchance?) while taking New York’s main basket protector out of the equation. Instead, Wall tried to be the hero.

End Scene


“I had a wide open shot, I just missed it. I think I could’ve penetrated and took a better shot, but just having confidence and believe I can make it.”

—John Wall

{This is not the shot of a franchise leading point guard who can’t shoot, it is merely a screen shot of a bad shot.}


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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.