DC Council Game 42: Wizards 99 at Hornets 89: Moving On In The Big Easy | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council Game 42: Wizards 99 at Hornets 89: Moving On In The Big Easy

Updated: March 17, 2012

[NOTE: Yes, we are a day (or so) late, but the money is all there (Atlanta DC Council… in the future) — 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 42 contributors: Adam McGinnis (@Adam McGinnis), John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend), and Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It).]


Washington Wizards 99 vs New Orleans Hornets 89 [box score]

Stat of the Game

w/ John Converse Townsend

In terms of blocked shots, Epic JaVale McGee picked up where he left off last season, where he finished second in the NBA in total blocked shots (193) and blocks per game (2.4). This season, McGee was again among the league leaders in blocks, second in the NBA with 98 and ranked second (behind Serge Ibaka) with 2.5 blocks per game. The Wizards, as a team, and in large part thanks to McGee’s open-palmed contributions, have averaged seven blocks per game, a total bested by just one team, Ibaka’s Oklahoma City Thunder. But the Wizards didn’t miss a beat on the defensive end in New Orleans, despite McGee’s departure to the Mile High City. Against the Hornets on Thursday, the Wizards swatted eight shots: John Wall chipped in with one, Booker and Seraphin had two blocks each, and Andray Blatche slapped away three shots of his own. The numbers are nice, but the Wizards played better team defense for the most part — gone are the days when the Wizards center would creep around the paint, hands at his waist, often standing under the rim, hunting for blocks. The bigs picked their spots to make plays, and used their physicality and quickness to protect the paint. Rest assured, Wizards fans, your team defense is in more capable hands.

Scene of the Game

First play of the game…

Need we say more?

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

ADAM McGINNIS: Washington’s first offensive play was to free John for a lob dunk on a nice back screen by Seraphin; it was a sign that the Game Changer was going to have a big night, especially around the rim. Wall finished with 26 points (11-for-16 FG), 12 assists, four rebounds, three steals, and one block. He was very effective in pushing the ball up after makes, creating many offensive opportunities for himself and teammates. Wall’s passing was sensational, no Hornet could stay in front of him; he controlled the game from start to finish.
3 Stars (out of 3)
TOWNSEND: John Wall left me slack-jawed on several occasions: remember his violent crossover on Greivis Vasquez to finish the first quarter with an And-1, locking the score at 28; Wall’s fastbreak slash and slam over Trevor Ariza; and his behind the back move through traffic in the paint, resulting in a soft finger roll finish at the rim. While Wall’s game is made for YouTube highlight reels, he still needs to focus on the little things, like sticking with his man both on and off the ball; Jarrett Jack was allowed far too much space on several occasions, particularly during the Hornets 13-0 run in the third quarter.
2.75 Stars
WEIDIE: Wall started hot, usually the key to the Wizards having a chance, and continued steady throughout the game. There were times when the offense struggled, for him and his team, but he hit a couple shots late, and more importantly, made an amazing deflection and dive to save the ball for Washington. This hustle allowed Wall to drop a key dime to big Kevin Seraphin on the other end that put the Wiz up 88-81.
2.75 Stars

TOTAL: 8.5 out of 9 stars

Jordan Crawford

Jordan Crawford

KYLE WEIDIE: Understandably distracted by his shot selection, people don’t give Crawford enough credit for his attempts in other areas of the game (i.e., he often really goes after rebounds, averaging 3.5 per 36 minutes to bigger Nick Young’s 2.9), understandably distracted by his shot selection. So yea, 6-for-16 nights only work when the defense is good, not when at least 25-percent of your attempts are ill-advised; JC finished with 17 points (4-for-6 on FTs, but 1-for-7 on 3-pointers). He needs to check himself now that Young and McGee are gone, because his bad shots could become the sore thumb after the sore pinkie and middle fingers got traded.
0.75 Stars (out of 3)
McGINNIS: Crawford didn’t shoot that well Tuesday night, and Phil Chenier at one point said that the more difficult the shot, the easier it is for him to make. It doesn’t make sense, but it was clearly evident against Dallas. Crawford hit some good, contested jumpers, but didn’t hit the easy shots that he needs to make.
0.75 Stars
TOWNSEND: Will somebody get Jordan Crawford a value-sized tube of hydrocortisone for that itchy trigger finger? Crawford made just one of his game-high seven 3-pointers against New Orleans, bringing his total attempts to 168. Among players with more than 110 3-point attempts, J-Craw is just one of two players to shoot under 30-percent (29.8%). The other is Raymond Felton.
1 Star

TOTAL: 2.5 out of 9 stars

Chris Singleton

Chris Singleton

JOHN CONVERSE TOWNSEND: Chris Singleton had a pedestrian 1-for-5 shooting performance, scoring his first and only basket of the game in the third quarter, while also grabbing five rebounds. Singleton, as we’ve learned, has a pretty solid basketball mind, but he might be a more limited athlete than expected. He looks to be much more comfortable when he is able to use his size and strength (to grab rebounds or defend the paint… Ariza didn’t stand a chance), than he is when left to his own devices in space (where he can get beat off the dribble or caught on ball screens).
0.5 Star (out of 3)
McGINNIS: Chris saw limited action by being the odd man out when Washington played small ball. He is shooting a poor 36-percent on the season and going 1-for-5 on FGs is not helping him out.
0.5 Star
WEIDIE: I see Singleton taking some baby steps — slightly increasing confidence on offense, finding hustle plays if he can’t make them — but he still seems to be coming along slower than we had hoped. Chris is a tough guy and he’s going to keep chipping away, but I think this NBA thing, magnified by unexpectedly starting 27 games as a rookie, has been an eye-opening initiation for him.
0.75 Stars

TOTAL: 1.75 out of 9 stars

Trevor Booker

Trevor Booker

KYLE WEIDIE: Let’s keep remembering that Booker is just an NBA sophomore (albeit one with college experience), so when he telegraphs a pass while on a fast break, or doesn’t recognize numbers in transition, like he did against the Hornets, it’s OK. Booker will get more than enough chances to get a feel for the game. Along these lines he’ll also presumably get better over time at pick-and-roll defense and not taking rebounding plays off. But hey, 14 points on 5-for-8 FGs (4-for-4 FTs) with five rebounds, two blocks and an assist (but three turnovers) in 41 minutes, in a win, isn’t a bad line. Booker and Seraphin exchanged nice passes to each other on back-to-back possessions, it was a nice change of scene from Wizards big men.
1.75 Stars (out of 3)
McGINNIS: Wall is arguably one of the fastest players in the entire NBA, but Trevor actually recorded a quicker time than him in ¾ court sprint during Pre-Draft workouts. (Booker 3.10 seconds, Wall 3.14 seconds) This makes Booker a tantalizing running partner, and he displayed this speed versus the Hornets by scoring on several fast break run outs via dimes from Wall.
2 Stars
TOWNSEND: It was fun to see a couple of give and goes between Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin — some of the best passing from Wizards bigs we’ve seen in some time — especially since both players were added to the roster to defend, not necessarily to create beautiful basketball plays around the rim. Booker has looked better playing the two-man game with John Wall, and is improving his spacing whether he’s rolling to the hoop or popping out for a 2-point jumper. There are times, however, when Booker makes his move too quickly and loses control on dives to the hoop. Twice he was caught by the Hornets on his way to the hoop, and was forced to make difficult jump passes to teammates around the perimeter. Booker twice threw the ball out of bounds.
1.75 Stars

TOTAL: 5.5 out of 9 stars

Kevin Seraphin

Kevin Seraphin

ADAM McGINNIS: Twelve points (5-for-7 FGs) nine boards, two blocks, and one assist is a decent line for the Kevin in his his second of the season. Chris Kaman took it to him early, but Kevin was responded well in the second half by slowing Kaman down. Watching Kevin now, you get the sense that NBA basketball has slowed down for him; he is doing less thinking, more reacting. I have been impressed by the confidence developing in his offense; he’s displayed nice touch on both his interior hooks and his midrange jump shots.
2 Stars (out of 3)
TOWNSEND: Seraphin made just his second start of the season and played pretty well, all things considered. Chris Kaman had his way with Seraphin in the first half, but the Frenchman bounced back with a stronger second half effort. A couple of smooth moves, some big rebounds and two made free throws were a reminder that this young Wizards squad will not be punked, not if Seraphin has anything to say about the matter.
2 Stars
WEIDIE: The fact that Seraphin fought back in the second half (six of his nine rebounds came after intermission, four in the fourth quarter), shows that he’s learning. Now the guy from South America who is considered French (plays for the French national team) should come out ready to hit at the beginning of games (because we can’t be sure how much we’ll see Nene in a suit), and especially against a guy who play for the German national team.
1.75 Stars

TOTAL: 5.75 out of 9 stars

The Bench

The Bench

ADAM McGINNIS: The lights out shooting of Roger Mason was talked up in training camp by Wizards and ex-coach Flip Saunders alike. This did not transfer over to the first few months of the season, but since the All-Star break, Mason has become a valuable long range bomber off the bench. His 19 points on 7-for-9 FGs, 4-for-6 3-pointers propelled the Wizards to victory; Mason is turning into a savvy move by the Wizards front office. Good news: Andray Blatche somehow had three blocks. Bad news: Dray shot an air ball from 15 feet, somehow hit the top corner of the backboard on another shot, and threw a pass from under the hoop that almost hit the rim. Really awful news to most Wizards fans: Dray is still on the team. Shelvin Mack finally got the long burn that many have been advocating for and delivered with a solid performance. He had five points (including a 3-pointer), four rebounds, two assists, and his plus-13 plus-minus was the best on the team.
1.5 Stars (out of 3)
Sub Man of the Game: Roger Mason
TOWNSEND: Money Mase was on fire again, making 7 of his 9 attempts from the field (4-for-6 on threes) to score 19 points, his highest output since a season-high 20-point performance against the Wizards as a San Antonio Spur in January of 2010. Blatche worked hard, but I can’t wait until July when the Wizards finally hit him with a solemn left and an amnestied right — an escape from Alcatraz. Shelvin Mack played with more confidence; Mack now believes he is good enough to stick in the NBA. Jan Vesely’s beard is weird, and there’s still no sign of life in his offensive game.
1.75 Stars
Sub Man of the Game: Roger Mason
WEIDIE: I wonder what people say to themselves, or each other, when they’ve seen Andray Blatche in film over the past several years. I think when you point out the good things he does you are really turning a blind eye toward the same laziness and bad habits he displayed his whole career. Otherwise, the bench was all Roger Mason, with some steady doses of Shelvin Mack (the fiber in our diet). Roger, he was the hot sauce. I’ve been calling for shooters and he’s filled the role nicely. Not only is Money Mase good off the catch, but he can also take a single dribble into his shot well.
1.5 Stars
Sub Man of the Game: Roger Mason

BENCH TOTAL: 4.75 out of 9 stars

The Coach: Randy Wittman

The Coach: Randy Wittman

JOHN CONVERSE TOWNSEND: The game was still up for grabs in the fourth quarter, the Wizards leading 80-79, when Wittman put Seraphin back in for Trevor Booker. The Hornets quickly earned a one-point advantage, courtesy of a Gustavo Ayon drunk, but Wittman’s five-man lineup of Wall, Mack, Mason, Blatche, and Seraphin wouldn’t be denied, fighting back with a two 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to seize control of the game, 86-81. (We’ll miss you, Nick Young. Enjoy Los Angeles!) At this point, Wittman looked to substitute Blatche, but didn’t see any viable options on the bench, with Booker still needing to catch his breath after putting in 36 minutes of work. A Blatche turnover less than a minute later forced the issue. Booker was back in the game, and he helped will the Wizards to an 11-2 run over the next three minutes, extending the lead to 14 points, 97-83. The game’s final two minutes weren’t much more than a formality. Nice work, Coach.
3 Stars (out of 3)
MCGINNIS: Washington only had 10 players suited up and even with all the distractions due to the trade deadline deals, the Wizards came to play. Coach deserves credit for team always responding to a few of the runs by New Orleans in the fourth quarter. Wittman went to his usual three guard lineup but we finally saw long stretches of Mack and Wall together, which was a good decision. Hopefully, this is a pattern of more to come and I would like to see what Wizards would look like with a big line up of Seraphin, Nene and Booker out on court together.
2 Stars
WEIDIE: Can’t fault Wittman for playing all ten players available to him and making it work. He’s also continuing to provide his team with a simple offense that’s really helping develop John Wall.
2.25 Stars

COACH TOTAL: 7.25 out of 9 stars

Seen on the Screen

w/ Kyle Weidie

Andray Blatche, again.

This shot is NOT about…

  1. The time on the shot clock (Blatche catches is with 2.2 seconds left).
  2. The other good plays Blatche made against the Hornets, because some were okay (although, 2-for-9 FGs… c’mon).
  3. The home crowd boos, nor necessarily his own confidence in himself.
This is about Andray Blatche being the type of player that he is. He makes a cut to the basket with a relatively open lane and a great chance to, as a post player, put the defender on his back. Instead, he ends up cutting toward the out of bounds passer, negating potential momentum toward the basket, catches the pass, takes two dribbles away from the basket (this is against Gustavo Ayon, mind you), and chucks up a bad shot. The ball going off the top of the backboard was just the icing on the cake. We know it’s really about the moves that Blatche took to get there, moves which are so unfortunately ingrained into the DNA of his basketball game.

Top Tweets

@AnaheimAmigos: Roger Mason, VP of the NBAPA, only gets to unleash holy hell at most once per year, and he’s decided to use it against the NBA-owned team.

@ShootersBounce: John Wall left hand dunks >>>>

@Abstract_cool: Is Mason coming back next year? The dude is shooting like Ray Allen. Same form everytime. *swish*

End Scene


“Who needs JaVale McGee? That was John Wall on the alley-oop!
-Steve Buckhantz

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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.