DC Council Game 22: Wizards 103 at Magic 109: Orlando Too Big To Fail, For Now | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council Game 22: Wizards 103 at Magic 109: Orlando Too Big To Fail, For Now

Updated: February 2, 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 22 contributors: Markus Allen (@mayminded), Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20), and Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It).]


Washington Wizards 103 at Orlando Magic 109 [box score]

Stat of The Game

w/ Kyle Weidie

The Washington Wizards went 7-9 from the free-throw line; Dwight Howard went 11-16, which is his best performance percentage-wise in 22 games this season. Why weren’t the Wizards able to get to the line? I dunno… don’t want to completely blame the referees because for most of the night they weren’t noticeable, with the exception of one very egregious non-call.

There were 34 seconds left, the Wizards down 105-100. Hedo Turkoglu missed a free-throw, Nick Young grabbed the rebound, and he immediately got the ball to John Wall who burst up the court. Sure, Wall was having a very bad night offensively, but the Wizards needed points and they needed to stop the clock. A quick trip to the free-throw line would have done wonders for Washington’s chances, and Wall was the best option to get that done. He tried, but the refs didn’t offer much help. NBA referees have the propensity to reward superstars on good to middling teams at home, and they pay little attention to lesser teams, like the Wizards. The situation is turning Ted Leonsis into Mark Cuban, he blogs: “This is the second game in a row where the disparity of free throw attempts is startling.”

Wall had some choice words for the refs … or someone on the Magic (perhaps more likely), but seemed to stay rather composed, considering. Let’s go to the video.

Scene of the Game

The Beautiful Game.

The sequence of the game, and perhaps of the season thus far…

Shelvin Mack runs a hand-off to Jordan Crawford on the left wing and then fades into the corner as Crawford takes the ball over a high screen set by Trevor Booker. As Glen “Big Baby” Davis helps on Crawford, Booker rolls to the hoop. Crawford — coming off the screen and seeing Mack’s man sag way deep into the lane (not sure why Chris Duhon felt he needed to stand right next to Dwight Howard on help defense) — whips the ball to Mack in the corner, who fakes out and blows by a recovering Duhon with a baseline dribble. Davis then steps up to help on Mack, leaving Booker rolling with a path to the basket… only Dwight Howard is in his way. No matter to Cook Book; he finishes over Howard with the lefty runner off the glass and jets back on defense, happy for just one moment before realizing he needs to call out the screen for the teammate who just got him a bucket. It was all very beautiful. Let’s watch…

D.C. Flag 3-Star Ratings

w/ Markus Allen, Rashad Mobley,
and Kyle Weidie

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

John Wall

John Wall

RASHAD MOBLEY: There’s a reason why Jason Kidd can have the stat line of 2 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds and 2 steals every day of the week, without complaints from the Dallas Mavericks. They would probably like for him to score a bit more, or get to the free-throw line a few more times, but they live with his scoring deficiencies because he has the uncanny ability to dominate the tempo and control the game without putting the ball through the hoop. Coach Wittman probably wanted Wall to score more than a single basket against the Magic, but on a night when Jameer Nelson was hurt, and the professional (but average) Chris Duhon was running the point, Wittman surely would have settled for the controlled version of Wall — that version was nowhere to be found. Even early on when it was clear that he could not finish once he got to the rim, Wall continued to drive at full speed and miss, without ever looking for a plan B. He did have some key assists during the Wizards fourth quarter comeback, but his failure to show up in the first half probably cost the Wizards a victory.
1 Star (out of 3)
ALLEN: John Wall did not have a very productive night scoring wise, as he went 1-12 on FGs and only scored 2 points; however, in no shape or form was he the scapegoat for the Wizards loss. He had 10 assists, 7 rebounds and only 2 turnovers, controlling the ball well. It wasn’t that bad of a night for him, he just wasn’t scoring points. Wall took a couple jumpers in the first half, and continued to go scoreless until the end of the 4th when he scored on a layup. The problem seems to be the way he drives into the lane; he’s so fast that he looks almost reckless going into the painted area, and most times it appears that he doesn’t have the ball under control. The referees are seeing this and are not giving him the proper foul calls due to his frame and the fact that he’s not yet a superstar like D-Rose, who consistently gets to the line. This all goes back to Wall’s main problem: he doesn’t have a jump shot. Once he can open up that dimension of his game, it will allow him to effectively use his driving ability. Right now, the entire league knows that he can’t shoot.
0.75 Star
WEIDIE: Wall took a jumper and missed 19 seconds in the game, from there subsequent attempts to hit a J looked forced, like he was trying to guide the ball in the basket with motion instead of fluid confidence. What I do like: despite a very off night offensively, Wall hustled and found ways to influence the game by gettnig the ball to hot teammates in the right spots. He was credited with 10 assists, 3 turnover (2 came in the last 30 seconds, one of those was due to a B.S. no-call on Dwight Howard). What I do not like: Wall’s body language. Because he was personally having a bad night, he was clearly pouting and feeling sorry for himself. Not much else to say than that shit has got to stop. This Tweet from @MrMichaelLee: “John Wall is really frustrated. He just walked past his teammates without giving any of them dap, then grabbed a seat on the floor.”
1 Star

TOTAL: 2.75 out of 9 stars


Nick Young

Nick Young

KYLE WEIDIE: Nick Young had 20 4th quarter points… Wow. Would you be surprised if I told you that four of the six FGs he hit were assisted by a teammate? Sure you would. On the night he had 24 points (22 in the second half) on 8-13 FGs (4-5 on threes) with 3 rebounds, 0 assists, 2 turnovers and 5 fouls (the fouls really hampered his first half). I give Nick a ton of credit for a solid final period. One thing I’ll say about him is that his offense never quits. Now, if Nick can just figure out how not to get burned by cats like J.J. Redick in the early going…
1.75 Stars (out of 3)
ALLEN: Young kept the Wizards in the game at the end of the 4th quarter, shooting difficult shots, and actually nailing them. It was just amazing how flawless he looked shooting 3s; as soon as he threw a shot up I thought, “Wow Nick, bad sho—” but they went in, so I must give him credit.
1.25 Stars
MOBLEY: My main man Phil Chenier said it best with 34.8 seconds left in the game: “You love the 21 points (Nick ended up with 24 points) but Nick has the capability with his shooting, to have those big nights when he can spread that production out through four quarters.”
2 Stars

TOTAL: 5 out of 9 stars


Rashard Lewis

Rashard Lewis

MARKUS ALLEN: Damn Rashard, someone must have had their feelings hurt, huh? I mean, that’s the only reason I can give for him having the best game of the season against his former team. Lewis penetrated the lane, hit three pointers (3-4), and really knew his spots in Amway Center. He scored 20 points on 8-12 FGs. There was a certain fire and enthusiasm he hit the court with. It gets us to thinking… Why can’t he do this all season? Is there a motivation issue? I say this because if Rashard played like this all year, the Wizards could probably justify his huge salary. Regardless of his motivation, special pre-game meal, or whatever helped Lewis out Wednesday night, it’d be great if he could continue to do this. However, that would only be the case in a perfect world. Sigh, at least we can dream and look back at this game.
1.5 Stars (out of 3)
MOBLEY: Rashard decided he would show his former Orlando teammates what he used to do by shooting 8-of-12 from the field, and 3-of-4 from three (20 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals). If I’m one of his current Wizards teammates, I’m pulling him aside and asking him what I need to do to coax that type of effort out of him nightly. Maybe he needs The Kobe Treatment, the blood-based serum currently being used by the guy the Wizards traded away to get Lewis.
2 Stars
WEIDIE: Lewis hit at least three three-pointers in a game for the first time all season (so, once in 20 games); he did such in seven out of 32 games last season, at least. Not completely sure how to evaluate Lewis’ big game in Orlando outside of saying, ‘Show us more, and enjoy these two stars.’
2 Stars

TOTAL: 5.5 out of 9 stars


Jan Vesely

Jan Vesely

MARKUS ALLEN: I mean really? Two games in a row? Why did he start just to be benched again? Jan had 0 points and 0 rebounds in 16 minutes of play. The messed up part about it is that I thought he actually was playing good defense on Turkoglu until he hit a bank shot fade away three pointer that must have killed Jan’s confidence. I don’t know what Wittman was trying to prove, but I’m sure Trevor Booker will start next game.
0 Stars (out of 3)
MOBLEY: First the basketball gods showed us promise from Chris Singleton, then they took it away. For their latest trick, those same gods flashed Jan Vesely’s talent for a couple games, but as of late they taketh away. Vesely had a shot attempt, a foul, two steals and a goaltend and nothing else.
0 Stars
WEIDIE: I’m giving Vesely half a star because expecting him to be a presence against a tough, experienced Magic front line of Howard, Ryan Anderson and Hedo ‘Hey, that’s a rookie, I’ll gladly throw up 16 shots and make five’ Turkoglu is asking a little much, especially when JaVale McGee and Rashard Lewis are Vesely’s defensive support. Randy Wittman has to find a situation where Vesely’s confidence can be restored.
0.5 Star

TOTAL: 0.5 out of 9 stars


JaVale McGee

JaVale McGee

RASHAD MOBLEY: JaVale McGee is Charlie Brown and Dwight Howard is Lucy. It doesn’t matter that JaVale had been playing well leading up to Wednesday’s game, and it doesn’t matter that Dwight has been vocal with his frustration toward his inept teammates during Orlando’s four-game losing streak. All that matters is that when JaVale takes on Dwight, that ball is pulled away when he tries to kick it and the Wizards center falls flat on his rear. Some of the fouls JaVale picked up against Howard seemed awfully petty, but others were just a matter of Dwight being too much for the smaller, weaker McGee. And to make things worse, at one point in the fourth quarter when Dwight backed JaVale into the post, and gave JaVale the belief that he had a shot block opportunity, Dwight dunked in his face, and smiled all the way back to the Orlando bench.
1 Stars (out of 3)
ALLEN: It was a real tough game for JaVale; he struggled to get rebounds, was shut down on offense, and didn’t record a single block. McGee was in trouble from the beginning, and ended the game with 5 personal fouls. Dwight Howard had 23
points and 18 rebounds, and embarrassed the league-leading shot blocker with a posterizing dunk. Just as D-Rose mentored John Wall, D12 mentored JaVale through action. Hopefully McGee can learn valuable lessons from these experiences.
0.25 Stars
WEIDIE: Predictably, McGee tried to block too many shots, got out of place on defense a bunch, picked up some silly fouls, and tried to force his own offense in the early going. To his credit, he stayed active when brought back in the game late, but with 24 minutes, 6 points (3-7 FGs), 6 rebounds (3 offensive), 2 assists and 1 turnover (0 blocks), it just wasn’t his night… and it might never be his night against Howard.
0.75 Stars

TOTAL: 2 out of 9 stars


The Bench

The Bench

MARKUS ALLEN: The bench was outstanding — they rebounded, scored efficiently and genuinely made the Wizards look like they had chemistry for once. Mack, Crawford, Singleton, Booker, and Seraphin looked better than any performance we have seen of the starting five all season. The second unit combined for a total of 51 points, and had 29 of the Wizards 43 points in the first half; and they are the reason that the Wizards found themselves in a competitive situation for most of the game.Shelvin Mack: Mack scored 12 points on 5-11 shooting, to go with 4 assists and 2 turnovers. He facilitated the ball and made two clutch threes that gave the Wizards momentum, all in just 16 minutes.

Jordan Crawford:Crawford scored 19 points on 7-19 shooting, hit 3 of 6 3-pointers and also shared the ball with 6 assists. This was a defining game for Jordan; I believe he’s found out what his capabilities are, and knows that if he wants to take a lot of shots, he has to: 1) Hit his 3-pointers and 2) Get others involved.

Trevor Booker: Trevor Booker will start the next game for the Wizards, I just would like to reiterate, because it is so obvious that it needs to happen. Booker plays with passion and energy like no other Wizard. He had 8 points and 9 rebounds in 21 minutes of play. Trevor’s game can be summed out by the nice reverse layup he had en route to the Wizards grabbing a 34-30 lead in the second quarter.

Kevin Seraphin: I was really impressed by the effort of Seraphin. He played defense against Howard very well; at one point he blocked Howard’s jumper which led to D-12 getting upset. The ref hit him with a tech. Seraphin hit mid-range jumpers and went 6-7 on FGs with 12 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks.

2.75 Stars
(out of 3)

  Sub Man of the Game: I would put entire the lineup of Mack-Crawford-Singleton-Booker-Seraphin as the bench players of the game, but if I have to pick one I’ll go with Jordan Crawford.
MOBLEY: Trevor Booker and Jordan Crawford continued to do what they normally do: Booker hustled on both ends of the floor, and Crawford did his Dominique Wilkins impression by scoring 19 points on 19 shots (although he had six assists, and kept the Wizards in the game in the first half with 12 points). But the play of Shelvin Mack, and more importantly the ever-shrinking Kevin Seraphin (12 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks) which were pleasant surprises. And the bench as a whole has now allowed me to have playoff fantasies about this Wizards team that now has the potential to go 10 guys deep with a press that would even make Nolan Richardson applaud.
2.75 Stars
  Sub Man of the Game: Kevin Seraphin
WEIDIE: Shelvin Mack and Kevin Seraphin had career nights, providing much hope the this Wizards franchise, along with Trevor Booker, is grooming some of the best role players ever. Now they just need a superstar and star and they will be gravy in X amount of years. It all sounds somewhat possible.
2.75 Stars
  Sub Man of the Game: Really want to reward Shelvin Mack, but giving it to Seraphin.

BENCH TOTAL: 8.25 out of 9 stars


The Coach: Randy Wittman

The Coach: Randy Wittman

RASHAD MOBLEY: There were two moments during this Magic vs. Wizards game where Coach Wittman really impressed me. The first was his willingness to pull a Gregg Popovich, and go with his bench for most of the second quarter. JaVale and Nick Young were saddled with foul trouble, but Wall, Rashard Lewis and Vesely were not, and they still spent the majority of the quarter on the bench. Second, when the Wizards had defensive lapses against the Magic (and there were plenty), Wittman didn’t slam his clipboard, put his head in his hands or call for a knee jerk substitution. He merely clapped his hands and motioned for the Wizards to get the ball out of the net, inbound it, and keeping attacking on the other end.  That’s a coach — albeit an interim one — who has faith in his players and his system, and given how much that was outwardly lacking with Flip Saunders, that deserves 2.5 stars.
2.5 Stars (out of 3)
ALLEN: The bench really helped the Wizards out last night, and Wittman respected their efforts by keeping them on the floor. The lineup of Mack-Crawford-Singleton-Booker-Seraphin was risky, but was also productive and worked very well. Grunfeld stated that he has noticed a difference in the players attitudes since he has made the change at coach, and their effort against the Magic was definitely a testament to that.
1.5 Stars
WEIDIE: It had to be a tough balance for Wittman… When to bring his starters, who had been playing so poorly, back in for a superior-playing second unit that was starting to tire. The coach did the best he could… sometimes you just can’t help it when the opponent attempts 30 more free-throws than your team.
2.25 Stars

COACH TOTAL: 6.25 out of 9 stars


Seen on the Scene

w/ Kyle Weidie

Roger Mason Jr., assistant coach…

During a stoppage in play before J.J. Redick was to take the ball out of bounds, a girl sitting courtside was all too happy for the photo op.

And there’s always this guy… 

[screen shots via Comcast SportsNet Washington]

Top Tweets

@MrMichaelLee: A few fans at Amway Center chanting, “Trade Dwight Howard!” Surprisingly, it’s not really taking off with everyone else #wizards

@McCarrick: I like the message Wittman is sending by leaving the bench in. Accountability on the Wizards has been rare

@MikePradaSBN: Wall reminds me so much of Gary Payton. Check Gary’s numbers in his first three years

End Scene


“We got nine guys on their rookie contracts. Right now, they’re, not getting the respect. That will come. We keep playing as hard as we play night in and night out, we’ll eventually get calls, but tonight, that’s hard to overcome against a big team like Orlando.”
Randy Wittman, via The Washington Times

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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.