DC Council Game 36: Wizards 101 vs Cavs 98: Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em, Dribbles McGee | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council Game 36: Wizards 101 vs Cavs 98: Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em, Dribbles McGee

Updated: March 5, 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. Click here for cumulative DC Council 3-star ratings over the course of the season. Game 36 contributors: Adam McGinnis (@adammcginnis) and Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) from the Verizon Center, and Rashad Mobley (@rashad20) from the television screen.]


Washington Wizards 101 vs Cleveland Cavaliers 98 [box score]

Stat of the Game

w/ Kyle Weidie

The Wizards attempted 87 shots versus Cleveland, equaling totals from three other games, and 10th-most this season for the team. They made 40 of those field-goals, which is tied with three other instances for sixth-most on the season.

Interestingly enough, the Wizards only attempted two shots, missing both, from the 10-15-foot range; Trevor Booker and Andray Blatche were responsible for the misses. According to HoopData, this is the fewest amount of shots the Wizards have attempted from that range all season. In fact, when Washington attempts seven shots or less from 10-15 feet, their record is 7-12 (3-1 when they attempt four or less shots from the range). When Washington attempts eight or more shots from 10-15 feet, their record is 1-16.

In leading the Wizards with 31 points on 13-for-22 shooting, Jordan Crawford went 4-5 at the rim, 1-for-2 from 3-9 feet, 3-for-4 from 16-23 feet, and 5-11 from 3-point land. He didn’t attempt a shot from 10-15 feet.

Scene of the Game

w/ Kyle Weidie

With seven seconds left and his team down 100-97, Kyrie Irving drove to the rim…

Trevor Booker couldn’t establish position, turned, and got whistled for his sixth foul, a legit blocking call. Meanwhile, John Wall climbed air and blocked the shot, definitely not a goaltending call, saving the Wizards from sending Irving to the line with a chance to tie the game.

Subsequently, Irving missed the second free-throw and JaVale McGee got the rebound…

Was he fouled? Did Randy Wittman call timeout first? The refs sided with the home team, but it was close. Antawn Jamison sure wanted McGee to go to the line, but the Wizards got the ball out of bounds. Whew, JaVale.

And where would we be without JaVale’s McDribble?

D.C. Flag 3-Star Ratings

w/ Adam McGinnis, Rashad Mobley
and Kyle Weidie

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

John Wall

John Wall

RASHAD MOBLEY: Whenever a young player like John Wall goes against another young and equally talented player like Kyrie Irving, it has the potential to be a dangerous situation. Both players have roles to fulfill for their respective teams, but invariably one-on-one battles that can pull them out of their roles are a legitimate threat—but to John Wall’s credit, he wasn’t lured into such a battle. He started strong in the first quarter by scoring nine points, and then he had a relatively non-existent second quarter. In the third, even Marv Albert would have been impressed by his full repertoire. He made sure Jordan Crawford’s hot hand didn’t fade by getting him the ball, he scored in the lane, he scored from the free-throw line, and he ended the quarter with a driving layup that took just 3.9 seconds, pulling the Wizards into a 78-78 tie. For the most part, however, Wall was outplayed by Irving in the fourth quarter except for one 16-second stretch where Wall picked Irving’s pocket clean by diving on the floor, then pinned Irving’s shot against the backboard; the latter move led to a score that gave the Wizards their biggest lead at 96-86. For the second consecutive game, Wall, with 24 points, 8-for-17 FGs, five rebounds and five assists, was the best player on the floor, except this time his team was victorious.
2.5 Stars (out of 3)
McGINNIS: John is playing with an aura of “no one can guard me” confidence that is just fun to watch. He had at least six highlight plays versus the Cavs, and continues to be the best shot blocking point guard in the NBA. Wall had the chance for a dagger attempt at end of the game, but missed the fall-away jumper. I would have more liked him to use a runner, like the one he made in Milwaukee and at home versus Toronto.
2.5 Stars
WEIDIE: Very solid game for Wall, especially getting to the free-throw line 10 times, making eight, and now figuring out he can throw lob passes, and not chest passes, to Air Wolf Jan Vesely on the break. Wall needs to keep getting better, though, such always staying in a play defensively (Randy Wittman talks about this in a video at the bottom) and not taking hero shots in the end (video also below). But as a point guard, Wall is really coming along.
2.25 Stars

TOTAL: 7.25 out of 9 stars

Jordan Crawford

Jordan Crawford

KYLE WEIDIE: See Ya DETROIT!?!? Streaky or not, since putting up a pitiful shooting stat line in his hometown of Detroit on February 12 (2-for-12 FGs, 4 points, but 4 assists), Valentine’s Day happened, Crawford got rid of his shorties, and he’s gone on an eight-game tear. With his 31 points on 13-for-22 FGs (5-for-11 3P) against the Cavaliers on Saturday, Crawford has averaged 21.8 points on 52.8-perent shooting from the field (an eFG% of .604, making 2.4 3-pointers per) with 3.3 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 turnovers in Washington’s last eight games. After a blazing third quarter and a dud of a fourth against Orlando, Crawford managed more consistency on Saturday—7 points on 3-for-6 shooting in the third, 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting in the fourth.
2.75 Stars (out of 3)
McGINNIS: I will do something that most sports pundits refuse to ever acknowledge: I was wrong about Jordan. I want to apologize for my “worst player in the NBA” comment from earlier in the season because J-Craw is straight up balling out. Fans should join me to bury the chucker/selfish label placed upon him. It is time for new traditions.
3 Stars
MOBLEY: Sean Fagan of Bullets Forever  observed that Crawford has entered the “Gilbert Arenas” zone in terms of his prolific scoring and the degree of difficulty by which he does it. I’d sprinkle a little Nick Young in there, too. Wall orchestrated the victory, but Crawford’s 31 points carried the team.
2.75 Stars

TOTAL: 8.5 out of 9 stars

Chris Singleton

Chris Singleton

KYLE WEIDIE: The rookie is still not perfect, but at least he’s back to doing the little things to fill the defensive tone-setting role the team drafted him for. In 19 minutes he missed two shots and didn’t score, pulled down five rebounds, got two seals, one assists and two fouls. You can tell Singleton has the tools, but is still trying to find his comfort level and adjust to the pace of the game. I’ll change my stance and say that he should keep starting for now, let him try to work up a boxer’s lather, get aggressive defensively early in the game (4 rebounds, 2 steals in the first quarter), and then play spot minutes contingent on how he and others are playing.
1.25 Stars (out of 3)
McGINNIS: Chris is still a mixed bag on offense but his D is finally coming back around and no longer is a striking liability that it was on the Wizards last road trip.
1 Star
MOBLEY: Singleton’s ability to be scrappy with quick hands on defense should be commended, because most young players do not want to play defense. But he needs come off the bench, and allow players like Maurice Evans (who defends AND scores), to take over. The irony here? Mr. Alonzo Gee (11 points and 5 rebounds), did Singleton’s job a lot better when he was briefly with the Wizards.
1 Star

TOTAL: 3.25 out of 9 stars

Trevor Booker

Trevor Booker

ADAM McGINNIS: Antwan Jamison started schooling the second-year player early with an array of moves, and racked up 15 points in the first quarter to leave Booker feeling frustrated. Trevor was missing a bunch short shots, too. He regrouped and made it much tougher for ‘Twan in the second half. He finished with nine points, six rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block and fouled out. His mid-range jumper is becoming a reliable option for the team’s offense, as he nailed a clutch one late to put the Wizards up 96-86 with 3:44 left.
1.5 Stars (out of 3)
MOBLEY: We’ve heaped a lot of praise on Booker and his hustle here at Truth About It, but last night’s game will not be a part of that group. Booker was overly demonstrative in his complaints to the refs while getting thoroughly schooled by Antawn Jamison—although there is no shame in that.
1 Star
WEIDIE: Cook Book let himself get frustrated by Antawn Jamison (29 points, 11-for-24 on FGs, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals in 38 minutes from ‘Twan) early and for most of the evening; he ended up fouling out of the game. But that doesn’t mean Trevor didn’t put in a hard night’s work. Off-season plan: post footwork. Yes, Booker needs to get better at finishing at the rim—he missed some close ones, he made some—but there’s no reason why a guy like him can’t benefit from Hakeem Olajuwon-like instruction.
1.5 Stars

TOTAL: 4 out of 9 stars

JaVale McGee

JaVale McGee

RASHAD MOBLEY: After Wednesday night’s game against the Magic, JaVale told the media that he didn’t understand he was benched by Coach Wittman, but he was sure he’d “figure it out sooner or later.” That would explain why he had no qualms about taking jump shots from the free throw line, or trying to dribble the length of the floor, as opposed to giving the ball to a ball handler. On the flip side, Wittman probably re-inserted McGee back in the lineup because McGee can rebound (he had 12), he can block shots (he had four), and he can occasionally make the perfect basketball play by throwing an alley-oop to Trevor Booker. It adds up to yet another maddening performance by Pam’s baby.
1.5 Stars (out of 3)
McGINNIS: Although JaVale brought back the mind-numbing fast break dribbling turnover, he responded late in the game with a nifty assist to Crawford for a bucket on a similar scenario. This is an example of progress and hopefully his solid performance on Saturday can help him regain consistency in his game.
1.5 Star
WEIDIE: JaVale had some typical JaVale goofs, but had a decent game because he mostly play hard in his return to the starting lineup. I almost felt treated to his dribble escapade because we haven’t seen one in so long. Later, with a haphazard chance to drive the lane, he pulled the ball out and found a cutting Jordan Crawford. He also threw a lob to Trevor Booker, so I think the stat guy missed an assist by giving JaVale only one. 12 boards and four blocks in 25 minutes, not bad. But he also let Ryan Hollins out-muscle him a bunch in the third and fourth, no surprise.
2 Stars

TOTAL: 5 out of 9 stars

The Bench

The Bench

ADAM McGINNIS: Cavs Coach Byron praised the play of Wizards reserves: “Their second unit I thought was terrific and I think that was the difference in the game.” What do crazy times look like on Fun Street? Andray Blatche being a glue bench guy and a legitimate Roger Mason Jr. heat check. Those both took place. Dray was booed on a few occasions and went scoreless on only three field goal attempts but had nine rebounds and five assists. Mason scored his 11 points all in a hot shooting stretch in the second quarter. Vesely displayed his athletic potential with nine points on four dunks with five rebounds, two blocks, one assist, and one steal. Mack delivered five assists, and the way he effectively runs the secondary break is impressive. Mo Evans chipped in seven points and is becoming an offensive threat from the corners.
2.5 Stars (out of 3)
Sub Man of the Game: Jan Vesely
MOBLEY: The second quarter bench performance was an absolute work of art. Andray Blatche was clearly rusty, but he stepped out of character, and attempted set picks, slide his feet on defense and grab rebounds. Jan Vesely was everywhere, Roger Mason hit every shot, and Shelvin Mack orchestrated it all with five assists. The fact that all this was done without Nick Young and Rashard Lewis makes this performance that much more impressive.
3 Stars
Sub Man of the Game: Roger Mason
WEIDIE: Solid efforts from all who played. Shelvin Mack may have gotten all the assists in the second quarter (5 of 8 for the team in the period; the Wizards had 26 on the game), but Roger Mason and Mo Evans really help facilitate the idea of sharing before half that amazingly enough continued throughout the rest of the game. Also give credit to Andray Blatche, who had five of the bench’s 13 assists. In one way, the boos have made him much too hesitant to shoot. In another way, they have shamed him into sharing the ball first. {shrugs shoulders}
2.5 Stars
Sub Man of the Game: Roger Mason

BENCH TOTAL: 8 out of 9 stars

The Coach: Randy Wittman

The Coach: Randy Wittman

RASHAD MOBLEY: Coach Wittman decided (actually Kevin Seraphin’s play made it easy for him) to insert JaVale McGee back in the starting lineup, and despite his uneven play, he resisted the temptation to yank him out of the game prematurely. And when he did take McGee out of the game, Wittman did not hesitate to make Andray Blatche the first player off the bench, despite his lengthy hiatus. And his decision to ride the bench’s collective hot hands in the second quarter was one of the turning points of the game. Wittman’s only glaring misstep of the evening was his decision not to play Roger Mason more in the second half. A Wall, Crawford and Mason back court might have given the Cavs fits. Still, on the night when the Wizards snapped their six-game losing streak the hard way, Wittman made all the right moves.
2.5 Stars (out of 3)
McGINNIS: Randy continues to throw out different lineups and ride with what is working. This is illustrated by Kevin Seraphin going from starting versus Magic to not playing at all against Cavs. It might not show up in the win-loss column to the casual observer but to those paying close attention, the coach is doing a commendable job.
2.5 Stars
WEIDIE: As long as Wittman keeps talking about cigarettes, I’m happy. Wait, strike that. That’s not true. I want him to start talking about not liking the taste of Nicorette gum, but sticking with the program, in addition to the patch, because his team’s determined to break the habit, oral fixation, even though they weight they’ve gained sans cigarettes still doesn’t make them look good in that dress. Huh?
2.25 Stars

COACH TOTAL: 7.25 out of 9 stars

Seen on the Scene

w/ Adam McGinnis

  • John Wall is an emotional player who gets super pumped when things are going well and extra surly after bad plays. Since wins have been hard to come by in his brief professional career, he usually is very joyful after victories, yet, this was not the case on Saturday night. His missed a free throw with five seconds that could have sealed the game, but he gave the Cavs an opportunity to tie it up. This was visibly still eating at him when he walked off the court with a frown on his face and barely recognizing fans.
  • Kyrie Irving said he was at Kentucky’s Midnight Madness when the John Wall dance phenomenon began and is good friends with Wall. Irving, who was born in Australia, has not yet decided about playing for the Aussies in the Summer Olympics and plans to talk it over with Coach K.
  • The Wizards handed out free red drawstring backpacks to everyone who attended game and they seemed to be hit with fans, whom were seen wearing them all over.
  • Cavs forward Omri Casspi heard a cell phone ring in the locker room before the game and commented that the unnamed player is lucky Coach Scott did not hear it. He revealed that it is a $1,500 fine for having your ringer on in certain situations and Casspi himself has been penalized three times. On one violation, Scott stopped talking during a meeting because he heard a sound and made the team try to find where the buzzing was coming from. It was Casspi’s phone vibrating.
  • A walk around the main concourse before tip off revealed a number of cool fan friendly things going on. There was a free create-your-own sign table with poster board, markers and Wizards-related stencils. Another popular area had face painting and one young female fan was super proud of her John Wall decoration, posing for me to take her picture. There were side-by-side basketball shooting games where two people could compete with each other. My favorite station was watching bunch of young fans dancing to music, directed by folks from Radio Disney, AM 1290.

Top Tweets

@MikeSGallagher: Roger Mason has 11 points with 2 3PM in 6 minutes. How are you?

@StillUnknown85: crawford has the ghost of agent 0 floating through his body

@mattkremnitzer: Crawford is playing out of his mind right now. But if you think he can keep this pace up, remember that Nick Young has hot streaks, too.

End Scene


Randy Wittman on John Wall’s decision-making…

“I like where he’s going in his decision-making in terms of I don’t have to coach anymore. That’s exactly— as a coach, you want to prepare them, and you want to get them ready, then you want to let them play. It’s the perfect scenario as a coach. And now John’s getting an understanding of where I want the ball, who I want the ball, hands in, what plays to run, without having to look over at me every time and say, ‘What do you want, coach?’ That’s the growth, that’s the growth for a point guard, and he’s made great steps in the last couple of weeks where he don’t even have to look over at me any more. I have to yell at him if I want to change what he’s already called. So, I like that.”
—Randy Wittman

Wall must improve his late-game shot selection…

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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.