DC Council Game 46: Wizards 83 vs Pacers 85: High-Gear Start, Low-Fuel Finish | Truth About It.net

DC Council Game 46: Wizards 83 vs Pacers 85: High-Gear Start, Low-Fuel Finish

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Updated: March 23, 2012

[NOTE: This is a late, RETRO-active post RE: Wizards vs. Pacers last Thursday. But good news, reads JUST LIKE WIZARDS LOSS TO HAWKS on Saturday night. But it's okay. At this point, they're just games. At least that's what they feel like... robotic, fabricated games. 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 46 contributors: Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis), Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20), and Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It).]

Score

Washington Wizards 83 at Indiana Pacers 85 [box score]

Stat of the Game

w/ Rashad Mobley

STAT:  3 rebounds, 1 assist in 1:04

Indiana Pacers forward David West scored 10 points in the first quarter, basically disappeared in the second quarter, dislocated his finger in the third quarter, and was non-existent for much of the fourth — until the 1:04 mark. First, he rebounded Paul George’s missed 3-pointer, then he passed the ball right back to George, who didn’t miss a second time. Thirty seconds later, West tapped out a missed shot by Roy Hibbert, and the ball fell right in Daren Collison’s hands. Collison also missed, and West tapped the ball out to Collison for a second time, who got fouled and hit one of two free throws to put the game way.

Scene of the Game

w/ Rashad Mobley

When you have the moniker “Game Changer,” which you have given (by the franchise, mind you) because you were the No. 1 overall pick, you might have to live up to it when your team needs a lift. No pressure. Last Thursday night, the Wizards (and more importantly, Randy Wittman) needed John Wall to take control of the offense, and Wall was unable to do that — even his last shot fell short. The offense wasn’t run particularly well in the first half, but the hot shooting of Jordan Crawford, and the improved shooting of Chris Singleton, kept the Wizards in the game. In the second half, the Pacers started making shots, which (as often the case), increased their level of defensive intensity.  The Wizards fell in love with jumpers, and Wall had no control. No exertion of his team’s offense, no scoring himself.  Jeremy Lin did this two nights ago when his Knicks beat the Sixers, Wall’s inability to do the same cost his team a victory.

But hey, Trevor Booker dunked a lefty on Roy Hibbert.

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: I don’t fault John Wall for not hitting the game-winning shot, because quite frankly, he and the Wizards have not been in position to hit game winners very often. He’ll get better at that.  What concerns me about Wall is his inability to get the Wizards in the proper position on offense, whether it be via yelling in a timeout, or by pointing his teammates in the right direction as he brings the ball up the court. And when Jordan Crawford’s jumper stopped falling, Wall should have done what superstars do, and that’s take over the game. So while his point total was decent (16) and his assists were high (9), the Wizards lost by two at the buzzer, which means even a minor Wall takeover would have resulted in a victory.
1.5 Stars (out of 3)
MCGINNIS: The last play will eat Wall for awhile, as he never should have looked up at the clock in that closing situation, he should have known. Doing so cost precious seconds and ended his chance of getting the game tying shot off in time. These are growing pains for a competitor like Wall; he will learn and the Wizards will become more competitive in the future for it.
1.75 Stars
WEIDIE: Learning (hopefully) while losing (lottery chances!) is probably fine for many Wizards fans. Wall managed the game decently, but to truly be a star in this league, he needs to take a lot of extra steps. Better determining when to chase the ball on defense (which he needs to do more of) versus leaking out on the break (which he gets caught doing) is a start. Wall also made his elbow jumper aspirations easy for the Pacers to guard. Finally, on the last play of the game where he made a runner that would’ve tied the score well after the final horn sounded, Wall allowed the Pacer defense to pressure him into wasting precious seconds. You’ll get ‘em next time, kiddo.
1.25 Stars

TOTAL: 4.50 out of 9 stars

Jordan Crawford

Jordan Crawford

ADAM MCGINNIS: The pride of East Detroit started out scorching the nets on jumpers and completing tough scoop shots in transition, scoring 14 points in the first quarter. Crawford finished with a game-high 21 points on 7-for-15 FGs, 2-for-9 3-pointers, five assists, three steals and three rebounds. J-Craw nailed his first two 3-pointers before misfiring on seven straight. He continues to be an offensive enigma where his difficult field goal successes do not make his tough misses easier to swallow. He will miss an open teammate rolling to the basket but will follow it up by creating an easy bucket with an thrilling dish off dribble penetration. His ability is hard to deny, whether or not he can round these fixable deficiencies down remains to be seen.
1.75 Stars
 (out of 3)
MOBLEY: Crawford got off to another fast start, and it looked like he was headed for 30 or 40 point night. But old habits die extremely hard, and Crawford started shooting difficult shots instead of taking the extra dribble to get closer for an easier one. He still found his teammates to the tune of five assists, but scoring seven points in the last three quarters is not acceptable for a shooting guard.
1.5 Stars
WEIDIE: Crawford’s overall wherewithal is already eight times better than Nick Young’s. Still, the shot selection frustrations can be just the same. But again, Crawford is younger than Young (the hope is that he can learn discipline with age), and him getting five assists is nothing; Jordan knows how to create with dribble drives, Nick only saw orange metal, not friendly jerseys. Like Jan Vesely, Crawford could use some time in the weight room, too. Then again, not everyone is as tough as Dahntay Johnes.
1.5 Stars

TOTAL: 4.75 out of 9 stars

Chris Singleton

Chris Singleton

KYLE WEIDIE: Singleton is getting more comfortable at the NBA level, especially evident in his improvement at making himself more ready to catch and shoot. He scored 16 points on 6-for-10 FGs (3-for-4 on 3-pointers), with two steals, one block, one turnover, four fouls and just one rebound. I’m growing more skeptical of Singleton’s athleticism; Danny Granger scored on him too easily a couple times, and Chris also got lost in the Pacers’ relentlessness on the boards on several occasions. Still, you can’t deny baby steps of improvement from Chris.
1.5 Stars (out of 3)
MCGINNIS: Singleton had one of best shooting nights of the season, although Granger cooked him defensively in the third quarter during the Pacers comeback. Late in the contest, Chris made two consecutive momentum saving plays by knocking down a huge corner three and stealing a ball, which led to a key Wall fastbreak slam. If you look close enough, the signs are slowly coming around for the rookie’s growth into a solid NBA small forward. The next month will be instrumental in finding out how high his base of development will be built up headed into the NBA summer league.
2 Stars
MOBLEY: Larry Brown is known for not playing rookies because of his intolerance for their inconsistency, thank God he doesn’t coach Chris Singleton. After failing to convert adept passes from Wall for weeks, Singleton hit big threes, mid-range jumpers, and he grabbed a couple steals. His inability to stop Danny Granger led to Indiana’s furious comeback, but considering his rare scoring outburst kept the Wizards within striking distance, that can be overlooked.
2 Stars

TOTAL: 5.5 out of 9 stars

Trevor Booker

Trevor Booker

RASHAD MOBLEY: We now have the luxury of knowing that Booker has plantar fascitis, which would ideally would explain his inconsistent play against the Pacers. But Booker said he could and would play through it, and his monster jam is evidence of just that. But even when Booker’s offense suffers, he makes it his business to be a nuisance on the defensive end of the floor, and he was unable to do that against David West. West roasted him for 10 first quarter points, and then in the fourth quarter, when he was playing with a bum finger, West out-muscled Booker for rebounds, twice. Now that he’s settled into his role as the starting power forward, there needs to be one aspect of his game — whether it’s scoring, rebounding or defense — that he excels at nightly. That was missing against the Indiana Pacers, and in a two-point game of inches, it isn’t a stretch to say his substandard effort (much like John Wall’s) cost the Wizards a win.
1.25 Stars
 (out of 3)
MCGINNIS: Booker had a monster slam and some nice finishes at the rim. I noticed him moving gingerly when running up the court. After the game, he mentioned a lingering problem with his left foot that’s becoming painful. “My foot is bothering me a little, so I couldn’t do the things that I usually do. I am not sure what the diagnosis is, but it feels like I am running with a nail in my foot. It has been going on for like two months now but is just getting worse.” The Wizards will need to be very, very careful with this, especially considering Booker’s foot injury history.
1.5 Stars
WEIDIE: Booker continues to get chances to work on his jumper, which is good, but far too often it seems he’s using his J to work outside-in. Maybe that’s the intention, but his shot is not yet reliable enough for him to rely upon. Also, David West really out-muscled Trevor on several of the late game Indiana offensive boards that helped swing the game in their favor.
1.25 Stars

TOTAL: 4 out of 9 stars

Nenê

Nene

KYLE WEIDIE: I’m finding a comfort zone with Nene and the things that he can do (over JaVale McGee), but to sell him as an All-Star is pushing it. Sure, you can see Nene having an All-Star season on a team full of players of similar calibar with a top-5 record in the NBA (think 2004 Pistons), but Nene is not an All-Star anchor type of player. Again, all of this is okay, but it doesn’t make you any less squeamish when Roy Hibbert just dominates Nene on both ends of the floor during the game’s crucial moments. Sure, part of it is a size thing (the Pacers have length, not just Hibbert); Hibbert, an All-Star himself, is also a very tough cover… he’s gotten much better with the left hand. But often Nene didn’t exactly make Hibbert night’s hard (Hibbert had 19 points, 8-for-14 FGs and nine rebounds in 33 minutes; Nene had six points on 3-for-9 FGs and five rebounds in 31 minutes). I also thought the number of times Nene got caught under the rim on defense was disturbing, or when he got caught in no-man’s land, unable to help on anyone; he lost the position battle big time. What sealed the night was Nene’s lazy inbounds pass to John Wall after Paul George hit a 3-pointer with a minute left to put Indiana up 84-83. The Pacers didn’t score off that turnover, but it still contributed to the bad mojo for Washington.
0.75 Star (out of 3)
MCGINNIS: The Wizards built up a big first half lead due to contributions of the new Brazilian Center. He was moving the ball, setting monster screens to free up teammates, pushing Pacers off the block and being a destructive force in the paint. He looked out-of-sync on offense in second half, but this should be expected in a transition to a new team.
1.5 Stars
MOBLEY: The book on Nene is that he’s quick, explosive, but small and not physical, which explains why Roy Hibbert had his way in the second half. Nene still set solid screens, made the extra pass, and made an effort to play strong defense, but the very fact that I’m pointing that out means I’m still scarred by JaVale McGee, not impressed with Nene
1 Star

TOTAL: 3.25 out of 9 stars

The Bench

The Bench

KYLE WEIDIE: Not much from the bench — Roger Mason missed all five of his shots; Edwin Ubiles missed all four of his (I don’t see him getting a second 10-day contract, although he can rebound). I liked the activity out of both Vesely and Seraphin. Jan made his only attempt, a layup off a nice dish from Crawford, and had five rebounds, two fouls, in 13 minutes. Seraphin showed some presence with eight points and three rebounds in 19 minutes. However, both of the young Wizards looked as young as expected versus the playoff-bound Pacers. They need to up the aggressiveness against guys like Tyler Hansbrough and Louis Amundson to compete.
0.75 Star (out of 3)
Sub Man of the Game: Jan Vesely
MCGINNIS: Kevin Seraphin showed his soft touch in limited touches. Jan Vesely’s 2-2 perfection from the free throw line was encouraging. Mason produced a fat goose egg offensively, and Ublies looked nervous.
1 Star
Sub Man of the Game: Kevin Seraphin
MOBLEY: Seraphin continues to demonstrate that he deserves more playing time, particularly against a center like Roy Hibbert. Vesely, much like Singleton earlier in the year, is busy on the court even if his numbers say otherwise. But overall, the bench’s impact was minimal.
1 Star
Sub Man of the Game: Kevin Seraphin

BENCH TOTAL: 2.75 out of 9 stars

The Coach: Randy Wittman

The Coach: Randy Wittman

ADAM MCGINNIS: Anytime a team blows a 20 point lead, there has to be some blame placed upon the head coach. Wittman said in the post game that it was basically a game where each team played well and poorly in a half with Indiana coming out on top. The offense was clearly stagnant for large portions of game and there were few adjustments to get players moving or cutting to the basket. Wall played the entire second half and did not get his usual breather late 3rd quarter, early 4th quarter breather. Roger Mason has been shooting lights out lately, yet, he was sitting at 0-5 when Randy drew up a play for him to get an open shot at end of game. It broke down, Wall panic and that was the game. I would rather see Wall going to the hoop with some type of floater, runner or maybe drawing contact for a foul. This worked in games vs Milwaukee and Toronto. The Wizards have 2 players (Nene, Ubiles) who were not even with team a week ago now in the rotation so it is hard to come down too hard with the staff but this was not one of Randy’s best performances of his interim gig.
1 Star 
(out of 3)
MOBLEY: In the third quarter, when Wall couldn’t get the Wizards in the offense, and Crawford couldn’t hit a shot, Coach Wittman could not get control of the team.  He didn’t find the right lineup, he didn’t his team via a technical foul (if that’s what it comes down to), and he didn’t do much yelling to fire up his star player. Those are buttons a head coach needs to push when his team has lost focus, Wittman didn’t.
1 Star
WEIDIE: Wittman doesn’t get points taken away so much for anything that he did; although, admittedly I didn’t analyze his lineups to a high degree. No, Randy gets points taken away for the cigarettes we saw his team smoking, and more so, for whatever it was that Frank Vogel did to get his team to punch Washington in the face in the second half after the Wizards had a blazing start in the first half.
0.75 Star

COACH TOTAL: 2.75 out of 9 stars

Seen on the Scene

w/ Adam McGinnis

>>Kevin Seraphin and Trevor Booker recently posted a funny picture of them on the team plan with ex-teammate Ronny Turiaf’s jersey in the seat behind them (next to Jan Vesely) on the day Ronnie was traded. The photo picked up by numerous blogs and international websites, so I asked Booker about Seraphin’s improving English and his relationship with him.

“He (Seraphin) is working on his English but it is not great. When JaVale was here, he told me that I was the only one that could understand him. We have a great friendship. That is my guy.”

I asked Booker if he was the one teaching Seraphin slang, i.e., his “punk” comment following his skirmish with Marcus Camby. “Whenever he needs an answer to something or needs to know what something means, he comes to me,” Booker said, although he was unaware of the punk quote. “I do not where he got that from.”

>> I spoke with D-League newcomer Edwin Ubiles about what he was doing when he found out that he had been called up to the NBA for the first time: “I was actually on the road at the time,” he said. “We had a game against the Reno Big Horns in Nevada, Reno Nevada. That day they called me, I was in my room, about to take a nap before my game. My coach had called me,and I am thinking that we are about to watch film and to come down to his room. I go down there and he says, ‘Congratulations! The Washington Wizards just called me. And they called you up on a 10-day.’ He gave me a big hug. He gave me a few pointers. Told me to go down there, play hard, play defense, be active. He said this is great opportunity for me. It happened unexpectedly. I was very excited.”

>>DC native Roger Mason Jr. is a life-long Redskins fan, and I asked him his thoughts about their big trade to select Robert Griffin III. Mason was nervous that the Indianapolis Colts might snag the Heisman winner instead of the assumed pick, Stanford’s Andrew Luck.

“Oh Man, don’t jinx it. We already traded the pick, but I just hope that Indiana (sic) doesn’t take him. His [RG3] workout the other day was so impressive that it got me worried, so hopefully you are right and it definitely is him.”

>> The Pacers had the ball, up one, with 35 seconds remaining and a majority of the Wizards crowd was still sitting in their seats. Indiana then corralled another offensive rebound, forcing the Wizards to foul with nine seconds left. This caused droves of fans to head for the exits, even though the game was still down to one possession. For a crowd that revels in booing Andray Blatche, to behave so poorly was highly disappointing.

>> Shelvin Mack made NCAA tourney picks on a video that was featured on the team’s website. Mack’s brackets are completely busted after the first round and the March madness touch he displayed as a player at Butler is now lost. “I had Missouri winning it all,” he told me. “That was a bad, bad decision. Also, Duke, that was a bad decision by me.”

Mack went against his hometown Kentucky Wildcats, and none of his family gave him grief because they were unaware of his predictions. “Fortunately, not a lot of people have seen that video. I think that I am going to try to get them to take it off, take it down so I do not know if it is still up.” It still was a featured part of the Wizards home page on Friday.

Top Tweets

@recordsANDradio: That moment when you’re flexing to the crowd after a dunk, and then you realize you need to get back on defense… John Wall #Wizards

@rachel_216: Jordan Crawford can be so good sometimes. He’s so confusing

@kayyybelita: Dear Washington Wizards, good thing I’m used to heartbreak…. #DCSPORTS

@Above_Legit: I couldn’t be more irate right now

End Scene

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT:

Dave Bing was on that team, Larry Wright was on that team… Mike Riordan… We used to have some pretty fun card games on the plane.
-Phil Chenier, when regaling memories with Truck Robinson, who appeared with Chenier and Steve Buckhantz on the Comcast SportsNet game broadcast. Robinson played on the Bullets with Chenier in the late 70s. Card games, huh? Bourré, perhaps?


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