DC Council Game 8: Wizards 72 vs. Timberwolves 93: Broke and Eight | Truth About It.net

DC Council Game 8: Wizards 72 vs. Timberwolves 93: Broke and Eight

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Updated: January 8, 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 8 contributors: covered on-hand by Adam McGinnis and Kyle Weidie, with John Converse Townsend from the television feed. Oh, and you can now find our stuff on Google+. Go ahead and circle Truth About It.]

Score

Washington Wizards 72 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves 93 [box score]

Ricky Rubio had 14 assists off the bench for Minnesota. The Wizards totalled 15 assists as a team. The Spanish sensation and his fellow rookie teammate, Derrick Williams, each had a plus/minus of plus-29 as subs for the T-Wolves (Williams had 14 points on 4-7 from deep and seven rebounds). Rubio added 13 points, five turnovers to his tally, but his presence off the bench, especially against Jordan Crawford, was more than evident. Rubio came in for Luke Ridnour at the 1:30 mark of the first quarter when the Wizards were up 17-13. He immediately prompted a 17-2 run for his team. Minnesota never looked back.

Scene of the Game

Mirrors.

{“When you’re playing like that,
it’s hard to make eye contact with anybody.”}

—Flip Saunders when asked if it’s hard to look the team owner
in the eye with him sitting right next to the Wizards bench.

[screen shot via Comcast]

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

KYLE WEIDIE: John Wall had 10 points on 3-10 shooting, 4-4 FTs, 6 assists, 4 turnovers, 2 steals and 5 rebounds. If only he had shooters around him to hide his own poor shooting. And we are all sure, as Ted Leonsis and Ernie Grunfeld have gladly said, that he knows this rebuilding thing is a “process.” But I swear they are trying to mix cake batter using a nice shiny John Wall bowl but with rusty utensils. How would Leonsis react to Wall’s camp sending messages about certain things needing to happen, certain people needing to be traded? Don’t act like these hypothetical things don’t happen, if they haven’t already.
0.75 Star (out of 3)
McGINNIS: The soil definitely needs more fertilizer but Wall’s game appears stuck in mud.
1 Star
TOWNSEND: He’s fast, but flawed, and is growing increasingly frustrated. Wall is probably counting down the days to freedom via free agency.
1.25 Stars

TOTAL: 3 out of 9 stars

Nick Young

Nick Young

ADAM McGINNIS: Whatever momentum Nick Young might have built up with a solid outing on Friday night did not carry over to Sunday afternoon. Young made a couple circus shots early and delivered a few key threes, but an over-reliance on the spin fade away move is still the main weakness of his game. It creates no potential opportunities for teammates while making it almost impossible to draw fouls when you are lounging away from defenders and the hoop. Nick can masterfully create this look at any time but it seems more and more to be coming at the expense of offensive flow. Illustrating my point is that Young finished with 16 shot attempts and no free throw attempts.
1 Star (out of 3)
TOWNSEND: After an active, but inefficient first quarter in which Nick Young took eight of his team-high 16 shots, he faded into the background before finding a comfortable spot on the bench.
0.75 Stars
WEIDIE: Young had some nice offensive moves, but he also let Luke Ridnour body and bother him when trying to get post position a time or two. He shot an inefficient 6-16 and continues to be a one-dimensional player.
0.75 Stars

TOTAL: 2.5 out of 9 stars

Chris Singleton

Chris Singleton

KYLE WEIDIE: Chris Singleton got his first NBA start and got a little bit caught up in the situation. He was tentative on offense, going 1-8 from the field with three points. He was around on some plays, securing seven boards, three offensive, but seemed to get caught up with the speed of the game in other instances. He also picked up his first NBA flagrant foul against Kevin Love late in the first. It was really just a hard foul that Singleton felt bad about as he went to help Love off the ground. It’s good to get the lesson of reality as a starter out of Singleton’s system—just like getting clock awareness in his mind thanks to the Knicks game. His bad afternoon pales in comparison to the play of his teammates.
0.75 Star (out of 3)
McGINNIS: Highlight of his game was likely the flagrant foul he committed because shows some toughness that rest of team desperately lacks. One of Singleton’s favorite football teams (he hilariously roots for 1/8th of the NFL) is his hometown Atlanta Falcons and they had an equally rough afternoon by scoring one less point (2) than Chris tallied (3).
1 Star
TOWNSEND: Chris Singleton finally broke into the starting lineup, but underachieved in 40 minutes of action.
1 Star

TOTAL: 2.75 out of 9 stars

Andray Blatche

Andray Blatche

JOHN CONVERSE TOWNSEND: The Tin Man again reminded D.C. that he’s a clinking, clanking, clattering collection of caliginous junk. Blatche made just five of his 16 shots from the field, making today’s game the fourth time this season that Blatche shot 38.5 percent or worse. Blatche failed to earn a trip to the free throw line for the second time this season. Remember the Andray Blatche that said he was “willing to die” for success? He was nowhere to be seen. Andray Blatche the Post Player must have lost his way in the Land of Oz, too; in 31 minutes vs. Minnesota, Blatche took just three—three!—shots in the paint: a whole lot of wet fart, but no heart.
0 Stars (out of 3)
McGINNIS: At this point, I am convinced Dray is just trolling the Wizards crowd to boo him with every mid-range jumper attempt.
1 Star
WEIDIE: Typical instance of 7-Day ‘Dray: Early in the third quarter he tried to back down Wesley Johnson all the way from the right three-point corner. As you would assume, he dribbled too much, bumbled his way into traffic, and turned the ball over.
0.25 Star

TOTAL: 1.25 out of 9 stars

JaVale McGee

JaVale McGee

JOHN CONVERSE TOWNSEND: The NBA’s leading shot blocker added another three notches to his belt, including a monster swat on rookie Ricky Rubio (try saying that three times fast!). JaVale McGee continues to look for his post game, and would be helped by being introduced to a backboard. He’s determined to attack the rim and showcased baseline spin move, predictable but surprisingly effective. McGee was also the lone Wizard with a positive plus-minus, so there’s that, too.
1.25 Stars (out of 3)
McGINNIS: Crazy blocks, sick dunks, inability to pass from post, flailing at shooters, firing low percentage shots, hustling for offensive boards, taking inexplicable power dribbles when under the hoop and getting rebounds snagged over him by smaller players. So basically the type of up and down game that has defined Pierre since he entered the NBA.
1 Star
WEIDIE: There were a couple predictable instances where he tried too hard to take it upon himself and score in the post. Aside from dunks, McGee seems to be a below average finisher near the rim. There was also an instance or two of McGee getting lost on defense, again, as usual. But still, he’s the most consistent player this team, which is a very weird thought.
1.25 Stars

TOTAL: 3.5 out of 9 stars

The Bench

The Bench

KYLE WEIDIE: Jordan Crawford has played this season like he left his basketball sense in Detroit. He was a big part of the reason that Ricky Rubio went off in the second quarter, but the scary thing is I don’t think he has a clue about his horrid shot selection. Otherwise, Trevor Booker was the lone bench presence. He featured toughness, post moves, a confident jumper, even a dribble to his right for an assist to Jan Vesely, a dunk that made his first NBA points. With 14 points, 5 rebounds 2 assists and 3 blocks, Cook Book was out on the table. Also, Vesely airballed his first attempt at NBA points, a free-throw. He also missed the second.
1.5 Stars (out of 3)
Sub Man of the Game: Trevor Booker
McGINNIS: Booker was a stat stuffer and is quickly developing into the lone positive in a season full of disappointments. I am out of adjectives to describe how awful Jordan Crawford is at basketball right now. The talking point how Wizards stole him from Atlanta Hawks has gone up in smoke faster than an errant Crawford jumper. Little does Jan Vesely know but air-balling his first NBA free throw is such a Wizards way to begin a career. Sorry Man. The Curse O Les Boulez never dies.
1 Star
Sub Man of the Game: Trevor Booker
TOWNSEND: Hoardin’ Jordan Crawford had his best passing game of the season, though you wouldn’t know it by looking at the box score (11 shots, 2 assists). Trevor Booker again showed that he’s talented enough to start on this Wizards team. Jan Vesely made his first career start; in his second minute as an N.B.A. role player, the rookie airballed a free throw.
2 Stars (for Trevor Booker)

Sub Man of the Game: Trevor Booker

BENCH TOTAL: 4.5 out of 9 stars

The Coach: Flip Saunders

The Coach: Flip Saunders

JOHN CONVERSE TOWNSEND: The success of Flip Saunders’ offense is predicated opon crisp ball movement and effective midrange shooting: two things this roster simply cannot do. The team ranks dead last in offensive efficiency, and are scraping a seemingly bottomless barrel in terms of points, assists and field goal percentage per game. The Wizards can’t even get to the charity stripe, currently averaging 20.25 trips to the free throw line per game—for comparison’s sake, the historic season low for free throw attempts per game is 19.8 set by the New York Knicks in 2002-03. Defense? What defense? The Wizards have lost half of their games this season by at least 18 points. It’s hard to tell what this team is made of right now; whatever it is, it belongs buried in a cat hole.
0.5 Stars (out of 3)
McGINNIS: Flip’s body language at the conclusion of the contest was that of a beaten man and the optimism he beamed in training camp has completely vanished.
1 Star
WEIDIE: Much of these crappy, non-dedicated, offensively selfish players are not the fault of Saunders. Unfortunately, the one steering the ship is usually the first to go anyway, regardless of if the crew is ingesting the sails and pooping them on the deck instead of tacking with the wind.
1 Star

COACH TOTAL: 2.5 out of 9 stars

Seen on the Scene

w/ Adam McGinnis

Ricky Rubio mania is a sight to be seen in itself.  Derrick Williams was the consensus best player in college basketball last season and number two pick in NBA draft with much justified hype. But as he walked up to his locker stall before the game, Williams was forced to patiently wait to get to his stuff due to scrum of reporters surrounding Rubio, assigned the stall next to Williams’. The number two pick was virtually ignored by the scribes.

National reporters Ken Berger of CBS SportslineDavid Aldridge of TNT/NBA.com and J. Michael Falgoust of USA Today, were on hand to see Rubio in person. Right before warms up, a 60-person contingent of all ages, draped in Spanish flags and T-shirts, lined up to make a human alleyway for T-Wolves to run on court. The Rubio fans were an outing organized by the Embassy of Spain. Following Rubio’s masterful performance, he posed for pictures and mingled with the adoring Spanish fans. The Rubio buzz is legit.

Top Tweets

@StillUnknown85: McGee needs to keep the ball high down low, its going to get stripped if he keeps bringing it back down.

@noamschiller: If I’m the Wizards, I get rid of everybody except for Wall, Singleton and Booker. And I’m the guy who inexplicably likes Nick Young.

@Hoopdata: When 4 of your 5 highest usage guys (Crawford, Young, Blatche, McGee) just don’t know how to play basketball, what do you expect to happen?

Slept-On Moment

  • McGINNIS: During one offensive transition, Singleton was on wing and found Nick Young in the corner as a defender closed out on him. But instead of quickly passing it back to Singleton, who would have been wide open for a three, Young held the ball for a few seconds. This pause completely closed the Wizards’ window of opportunity. The Timberwolves soon recovered on defense and Washington’s offensive possession ended with a missed Crawford one-on-one contested jumper. That was just one example of dozens of offensive errors that were self inflicted by a cerebral misunderstanding of where and when to attack defenses for high percentage chances.
  • TOWNSEND: What we saw: 4th quarter, 7 minutes left, Timberwolves winning 85-68. Ricky Rubio passed to Kevin Love at the top of the three-point line and cut to the left corner. Luke Ridnour, on the other side of the floor, curled around two off-ball screens set by rookie Derrick Williams and Anthony Tolliver. Roger Mason, recognizing the play, stepped out to prevent the pass—he succeeded—but failed to communicate the switch to a trailing Jordan Crawford. This left Andray Blatche, who was standing above the restricted area, responsible for defending two Timberwolves forwards: Derrick Williams (along the baseline, ten feet from the hoop) and a cutting Anthony Tolliver. Love threw a perfect arching pass to Tolliver, who took one dribble and banked home a layup. What about Blatche, you ask? He could have challenged the Timberwolves forward, forced a pass, and allowed the Wizards defense time to recover. He could have even fouled Tolliver. Instead, Blatche chose to step out of the way.
  • WEIDIE: There was a moment early in the third quarter when John Wall almost turned his team around… The period started with the usual Andray Blatche jumper; he happened to make it. The next possession he bumbled a turnover trying to post Wesley Johnson from afar, Luke Ridnour answered with a three, then the next possession: a missed Blatche 21-foot jumper. The simple motion of Blatche going through the motions sucked the life out of the Wizards. They were down 50-36 at the time. Then Wall jumped the inbounds passing lane, stole it from Ridnour, and coasted the other way for points. After that, Kevin Love lost the ball, Blatche decided to hustle because Wall was, and the next thing you know, the Game Changer was finding Nick Young for three in the corner. 50-41 Timberwolves. More ball pressure from Wall on Ridnour, another turnover. But that’s when the Wizards were the Wizards, thanks to Blatche. After picking up the steal, Blatche dribbled too much. The rhythm of the fast break was thrown off too easily. No one noticed McGee alone under the rim for several seconds. The Wizards ended up having to make a couple extra passes, and then forced it to McGee in the post, who missed it badly. Window of opportunity: closed.

End Scene

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT:

“You can’t give 82 Knute Rockne talks, every night. You’re job as a professional in this league is to start preparing for a game the day before and be ready to play. That’s what you do.  As I told our guys, I want all those guys to go home, like I’m going to go home tonight, and I’m going to say, ‘What can I do, as a coach, what can I do to get us better?’ Because right now I haven’t done a good enough job, that’s evident. We’re not totally getting through to some guys and some guys continue to play [the way] they want to play and not the way we need to play as a team.”

—Flip Saunders

[screen shot via Comcast]


14 Comments

  1. jgeezy79

    January 8, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    it is indescribable how bad this team is right now. I would write more but why……

  2. JT's Hoops Blog

    January 8, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    And I thought last season was the nastiest I have ever seen them.

  3. Alex

    January 9, 2012 at 12:07 am

    It’s obviously not as simple an issue as I’m about to describe it, but: How much of the Wizards’ offensive woes simply stem from the fact no one can shoot? John brought this up in Flip’s grade, and with Rashard out today, the Wiz really only had one quality shooter playing decent minutes, Nick Young. Even when there was a little “ball movement,” it wasn’t enough to get shots this team can actually make. Most good NBA teams, even those without explosive LeBron/Durant types, just need to free up any non-center for a 15-18 footer — the Wizards need to get layups, because if anyone but Young or Lewis gets the ball and has an open jumper, it’s not really a good shot. With Lewis out, the Wizards’ task was that much harder today. And it’s a little scary how poor most of our core’s shooting is — Young and Lewis aren’t even necessarily in our long-term plans.

  4. Thomloverrosthirdchin

    January 9, 2012 at 4:14 am

    Yeah enough with all this loser talk,one of u geniuses(weide,mobley,some guy in isreal),figure out what has to happen to get us a coach named Sloan and a small forward named Green(not medically cleared by nba standards=wizards starter)….

  5. Thomloverrosthirdchin

    January 9, 2012 at 4:23 am

    Jeff green(not cleared by nba doctors means wizards starter,ask oberto) + Jerry sloan=true rebuild

  6. gas

    January 9, 2012 at 9:15 am

    I was that the game with my kids. I agree that it comes down to being able to hit a 15ft jumper and the 3pt shot. Walking out of the game it was like “can’t anyone on this team hit a jumper”. Blatche needs to go, this week. I personally do not think this is Flip’s fault. These players are just not good. Not smart, can’t shoot, will not take their profession seriously (see the Post article on reading the scouting report on K. Love)and basically Blatche just sucks the life of of the team when he is on the court.

  7. Michael

    January 9, 2012 at 10:01 am

    I’ve been a Flip defender throughout his tenure here, but if he continues to play Jordan Crawford, I have no problem seeing him go. Besides the fact Crawford can’t shoot or play defense, I am just astounded at how much difficulty he has getting the team in their offense when running the point. If Flip can’t figure out that Shelvin Mack is a superior option at point, he needs to be fired.

    However, everyone’s displeasure should still be focused on Ernie Grunfeld. He is the one who assembled this pathetic group of players.

  8. Incandescent Rex

    January 9, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Flip needs to go. I don’t think Flip’s a bad coach but he’s lost the ability to reach this team. They need a new voice, more of an authoritarian.

  9. Adam McGinnis

    January 9, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Michael, you have noticed how Crawford dribbles ball up court, immediately uses an on ball screen to shoot a 20 foot jumper with about 17 seconds left on shot clock when he runs the point. My favorite was Crawford’s behind the back post entrance pass with 20 seconds remaining in the blowout. Of course, it was a turnover. The problem with Mack is that he is unproven rookie and tweener that Flip must not have any confidence in yet but it is past time to see what the rookie can do in meaningful minutes since Crawford is so terrible.

  10. elvena

    January 9, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    It’s easy to say that everyone needs to go–Grunfeld, Saunders, most of the players.

    Obviously, the easiest one to fire right now is Flip. Although it may be time to can him, I dread the thought of hiring a new coach now, and then, down the road, a new GM who will want his own coach. We’ve been down that road, and it was nasty.

  11. Michael

    January 9, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    @adam- Yep, all classic Crawford moments. Crawford has zero point guard instincts, so why they continue to use him in this manner puzzles me. It’s not just his shot selection, but also it seems like he has more problems than anyone just getting the ball up the court against pressure. I recall one play where Avery Bradley was hounding him up the court, and by the time he got it over half court and under control to the point he could make an entry pass into the wing, there was like 10 or so seconds on the shot clock. So what he does he do? Well he jacks up a 3 at the top of the arc. I mean wtf?

    And I guess I disagree on Mack being a tweener. He brought the ball up the court a lot with Butler. He isn’t the shoot first player that Crawford is. If Mustafa Shakur can get minutes as the back up point guard last year, I see no reason why Mack can’t get any minutes.

    I do agree that he is unproven. But to me Crawford has proven to be nothing but an utter failure since coming to Washington. He is extremely inefficient both this year and last year and most definitely is not a point guard. Mack should be getting playing time. Especially with the team being 0-8 and all.

  12. Khlamidia Takayama

    January 9, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Just like with the Redskins, Wizards players have no character and/or are way over-rated. Call the Wizards the Redskins of the NBA and call the Redskins the Wizards of the NFL. There are a whole lot of people wondering just what it is that attracts the Wizards and Redskins to players that have no character and just what it is that causes the Wizards and Redskins to over-rate players in grotesque fashions.

  13. Robert

    January 10, 2012 at 12:23 am

    I’m sick of people talking about how the clock is ticking on the Wizards to put a better team around John Wall before his impending free agency. The clock is ticking on Wall to get better and become a franchise player before his free agency.

    No team is going to sign a guy to be their point guard if that guy can’t shoot, sucks at running the pick and roll, and dominates the ball. If Wall doesn’t get better, he’s going to be rich man’s version of Tony Allen in 5 years – a defense-first 6th man who provides energy. People (like Kornheiser and such) need to stop asking “Why would John Wall stay” and need to start asking “Why would the Wizards want him to stay?” Honestly, no other Top Dog (i.e. franchise player) in the league would let his team be 0-8 right now, no matter how bad his teammates were. And to only be averaging 14 and 7 while dominating the ball? If Russell Westbrook switched places with Wall, he’d be averaging 27 and 9 and the team would have a few wins. John Wall, honestly, just isn’t that good.

    As for Shelvin Mack, he definitely deserves more PT. I honestly think if he had started all 8 games at PG, the wiz would have one win right now. He reminds me a lot of Anthony Johnson (a bigger backup guard); he’s a steadying force.

    I’d compare it this situation. Sometimes the Thunder play better with Eric Maynor instead of Westbrook playing the point. Occasionally, Westbrook starts over-dominating the ball and taking bad shots (like in last years playoffs); even though Maynor is less talented, he’s methodical and makes his team better. While Westbrook only plays like that occasionally (maybe 15-20% of the time), John Wall plays like that the WHOLE GAME (low basketball IQ). I really think the Wizards would be better off with Shelvin Mack at the point (and Wall at the 2).

  14. John Converse Townsend

    January 10, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Robert, great comparison to Oklahoma City. I think you hit the nail on the head.

    And interestingly enough, during the Knicks game, Kyle and I briefly discussed a Wizards lineup with Mack at PG and Wall at SG. Hard to argue that a five-man unit with Mack at point could be much worse; why not give it a shot?

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