DC Council Game 49: Wizards 77 vs Pistons 79: Last-Second Lottery Balls | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council Game 49: Wizards 77 vs Pistons 79: Last-Second Lottery Balls

Updated: March 29, 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 49 contributors: John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend), Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20), and Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It).]


Washington Wizards 77 vs Detroit Pistons 79 [box score]

Stat of the Game

w/ Kyle Weidie

Wizards: 21 assists; Detroit: 12 assists

It was just the 11th time out of 49 games that the Wizards out-assisted their opponent this season; their record in such games is just 6-5. Out-diming the Pistons by nine was also the second-highest margin. The Wizards out-assisted the Charlotte Bobcats 23-13 on January 25 this season, and of course won that game.

Scene of the Game

The Wizards react to Rodney Stuckey’s game winner.

D.C. Flag 3-Star Ratings

w/ Rashad Mobley, John Converse Townsend
and Kyle Weidie 

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

John Wall

John Wall

JOHN CONVERSE TOWNSEND: John Wall bounced back from a poor outing against the Boston Celtics, coming one dime and three boards shy of a triple-double (14 points, nine rebounds and seven assists). He didn’t shoot the ball well, going just 5-for-17 from the field and just 2-for-10 on jumpers, several times deciding that the pull-up J in transition was the right play — it wasn’t, but maybe game reps might fix that. Wall’s best moments came in the third quarter when he recorded three assists in 53 seconds, turning a tight margin into a double-digit lead, twice hitting a diving Kevin Seraphin for points at the rim and once kicking the ball out to Jordan Crawford who nailed a 3-pointer. Wall, too, got involved from beyond the arc, making his third 3-pointer of the season (he’s shooting 10.7-percent from deep). It was great to see Wall more involved off the ball; he was looking to attack from the weakside all game. Wall’s willingness to move off the ball was also visible on that key possession where he missed a layup after cutting baseline with Nenê posting up against Ben Wallace — make or miss, that’s a winning play. “I’m learning a whole lot,” said Wall after the game. “I’m learning how to be a better point guard down the stretch, calling the right sets, getting into the sets that have got us scoring. When we get big leads, we kind of relax sometimes, like a veteran team that can do that, and don’t run the plays we were running when we had the lead. It’s up to me to make better play calls and get better shots.”
2 Stars (out of 3)
MOBLEY: As I wrote in TAI’s postgame rapid reaction, Wall played inspiring third-quarter ball for the Wizards, and at one point, he scored or assisted in seven straight possessions. But in the fourth quarter, while Stuckey was going wild with 12 points, Wall had no points, an assist, and a missed shot layup with 11.8 seconds left. Those numbers are fine for Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton, not Wall.
1.5 Stars
WEIDIE: Wall got his first Verizon Center 3-pointer of the year and drew a couple key charges. But he also mismanaged some late game possessions — he missed two jumpers, a key layup with 11 seconds left that would have put the Wizards up one point, and had two turnovers in the fourth quarter. For a while it looked like the Game Changer would get a triple-double, but then things changed.
1.25 Stars

TOTAL: 4.75 out of 9 stars

Jordan Crawford

Jordan Crawford

RASHAD MOBLEY: The Nick Young/Jordan Crawford replacement is an easy one to make on offense, because they are both streaky scorers who can hit shots at imposible angles. But on the defense end of the floor, even when he didn’t move his feet or close out with reckless abandon, Young’s height (6-foot-7) was just enough to be a nuisance for opposing shooting guards. Crawford does not work quite as hard on defense, and at 6-foot-4, he doesn’t have the luxury of falling back on height. Avery Bradley exploited Crawford’s lack of defense on Sunday, and against Detroit on Monday, Stuckey exploited it as well in the last minute of the game. Unfortunately, the Wizards don’t have another player who can create their own shot the way Crawford can, so he has to stay in the lineup. There are some games when Crawford is the reason they win, and then there are games like against the Pistons when he has a major role in the loss.
1.75 Stars (out of 3)
TOWNSEND: Perhaps too many pixels are being dedicated to discussing Jordan Crawford’s hot offense (for obvious reasons: he’s now scored at least 20 points in six consecutive games), but the second-year guard can be a great facilitator when he chooses. And maybe that’s his role as a Wizard as the roster matures: a backup score-first point guard (and sixth man).
1.25 Stars
WEIDIE: Crawford played more in control, but not really. Not sure why he keeps jacking 3-pointers (1-for-5 this game) — I guess he thinks the Wizards need long distance shooting, and they desperately do — but JC is also 20-for-79 from deep in 14 March basketball games. Not good at all. Did anyone mention that he blew some key defensive assignments that allowed Rodney Stuckey to win the game? Well, he did.
1.25 Stars

TOTAL: 4.25 out of 9 stars

Chris Singleton

Chris Singleton

KYLE WEIDIE: Pretty much par for the course, unfortunately… Singleton scored one point on 0-for-5 FGs with seven rebounds, two assists, one steal, two turnovers, and three fouls in 30 minutes. What else can we say? Singleton’s defensive awareness clearly needs improvement, as he is a rooke — he over-helped and lost Tayshaun Prince for a 3-pointer midway through the first quarter. He’s been finding more ways to influence the game defensively, lately, but nothing right now indicates that Singleton should be starter material going forward after this season.
1 Star (out of 3)
MOBLEY: Of all the Wizards who played against Detroit, Singleton was the only one without a field goal. He continues to miss open shots, and he was unable to slow down 32-year old Tayshaun Prince on defense. Even Ben Wallace scored five points!
0.5 Star
TOWNSEND: Singleton can be slow to close out on shooters on the perimeter when he helps in defending the paint. I would like to think that’s more of a result of being cautious when defending long jump shots (keeping the defender in front of him) than it is an indictment of the rookie’s athleticism. But then there’s the other issue of getting caught behind ball screens and allowing scoring forwards, like Paul Pierce and Tayshaun Prince, to get open looks.
0.75 Stars

TOTAL: 2.25 out of 9 stars

Kevin Seraphin

Kevin Seraphin

JOHN CONVERSE TOWNSEND: Kevin Seraphin had another good game offensively, scoring 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including three hook shots in the post. After the game, Seraphin, who used to be a predominantly right-handed player, said that he started to work on his left-handed hook shot about four years go, and that move has made basketball much easier for him. “I think I’ve made a big step, compared to last year — I wasn’t ready to play, I didn’t have confidence, I was worried about making a mistake. Now, I just play.” One criticism: Seraphin is a good offensive rebounder (his three OREB tied a game-high), but needs to put forth more effort on the defensive glass. The Wizards were outrebounded, 49-40, and gave up 15 offensive rebounds, which led to 23 second chance points for the Pistons.
2 Stars (out of 3)
MOBLEY: Seraphin is getting more and more comfortable with either hand in the post, and it’s a perfect compliment to his soft touch when he shoots a jumpshot.  Now he just has to earn the trust of Wall and Wittman so he can get more plays called for him. In the third quarter when the Wizards made their move offensively, Seraphin was 4-for-4 from the field with eight points, but in the fourth quarter, he had no points and no shot attempts.
1.5 Stars
WEIDIE: The development of Seraphin’s soft touch when it comes to interior post offense really has become a pleasant surprise. Screw the Nenê trade, I might rather have Kevin playing in front of JaVale McGee at this point. (But the Wiz really, really do need a Nenê at the top of his game for the next three seasons).
1.75 Stars

TOTAL: 5.25 out of 9 stars



RASHAD MOBLEY: On Sunday night, Trevor Booker played through pain, because Nenê was out with back spams. On Monday night, Nenê returned the favor and played through his back pain, because Booker was out with a twisted knee. Nenê was a non-factor much of the game; he was a step slow, and when he did visit the bench, his back was heavily iced. Luckily for him, he really didn’t need to play much defense because Greg Monroe was off (10 points, 10 rebounds), Jason Maxiell didn’t show up (scoreless), and Ben Wallace is Rondo-like on offense (five points). But in the last minute when the Wizards needed a basket, Nenê hit two big hook shots. It was valiant effort, but it wasn’t quite enough.
1.5 Stars (out of 3)
TOWNSEND: Nenê was the Wizards’ man in the clutch; the offense ran through him under the direction of head coach Randy Wittman. Wittman’s planned worked, for the most part. Nenê scored six points in three attempts, beating Ben Wallace with a drop step and a running lay-up in the paint. However, he did miss two free throws which would have given the Wizards a four-point lead with under two minutes to play. Those misses proved costly, but having Nenê as the centerpiece of the Wizards late-game offense is absolutely the right move.
1.75 Stars
WEIDIE: Nenê is a nice player, mostly evident in this game by the Wizards’ ability to depend upon him to score out of pick-and-roll action when points were needed in late-game possession battles. So, it’s in this sense that you put up with Nenê’s seeming laziness in doing stuff like properly closing out on defense. Oh, he had a bad back? Wonder how long that will last…
1.75 Stars

TOTAL: 5 out of 9 stars

The Bench

The Bench

KYLE WEIDIE: The Wizards played four players off the bench: two rookies: (Jan Vesely and Shelvin Mack), one bit-role veteran shooter (Roger Mason), and one warm body throw-in from a trade (Brian Cook). Gosh, that sounds terrible. Still, those four out-scored a Detroit bench of Ben Gordon, Will Bynum (usually a Wizards killer), Ben Wallace, Damien Wilkins, Austin Daye, and Jonas Jerebko 22-19. Mason started with missed shots and bad turnovers, but found a bit of his stroke late in the fourth thanks to John Wall; he finished with nine points on 3-for-10 shooting with four rebounds. Whatever Brian Cook does is ugly (I think he’s still trying to guard a pick-and-roll the Pistons ran against him in the first quarter). One day Shelvin Mack will have to hone some of his niche talents; simply being “steady” won’t always cut it, but we also must remember that Mack usually doesn’t have good offensive players around him that he can create for. Jan Vesely… always nice to see his hustle, but he did get muscled around by Jonas Jerebko a little bit,
0.75 Star (out of 3)
Sub Man of the Game: Roger Mason
MOBLEY: Pistons coach Lawrence Frank made a point to single out the bench play of Ben Wallace and Jonas Jerebko after the game because of the energy hustle.  The Wizards’ bench had an opportunity to make those same hustle plays when the starters were woefully bad in the first half. But Roger Mason was off, Shelvin Mack ran the offense but still doesn’t score, and Vesely was scrappy as usual, but no one made the distinguishable 50-50 plays that would make Coach Wittman as happy as Coach Frank.
1 Star
Sub Man of the Game: Ben Wallace and Jonas Jerebko..I just can’t give this honor to any Wizards players this time around.
TOWNSEND: Roger Mason had an up-and-down game, struggling in his usual role as a marksman from beyond the arc. Mason made just one 3-pointer against the pistons, a big basket that gave the Wizards a four-point lead, 71-68, with just under four minutes left to play. Because the Wizards have a dearth of accurate shooters on the roster, Mason found himself in the game in the final seconds. On the offensive side of the ball, that’s not usually a problem. Defensively, however, Mason was a liability in the last possession of the game: As Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey took Jordan Crawford off the dribble, cutting into the paint from the left side of the court, Mason remained 28 feet from the basket, stubbornly sticking with Tayshaun Prince; Prince is shooting 36.1 percent from 3-point range this season, but wasn’t a legitimate threat in that situation. If Mason did even the bare minimum, feigning additional defensive pressure, perhaps Stuckey would have missed that game-winning jumper.
1.25 Stars
Sub Man of the Game: Jan Vesely

BENCH TOTAL: 3 out of 9 stars

The Coach: Randy Wittman

The Coach: Randy Wittman

RASHAD MOBLEY: In his postgame speech when he was discussing Trevor Booker’s absence, Wittman said, “That is what happens in the league when you have injuries. It gives an opportunity for other players to step up. It’s not just one guy that is going to deliver.” That same logic can be applied to Coach Wittman’s motivational/coaching tactics. In three consecutive games, the Wizards have been shorthanded without Blatche for all three games, Nenê on Sunday and Booker on Monday. But the Wizards had a chance to win each of those games and fell short.  And in Wittman’s own words, “We begin dribbling around — I don’t know what we’re running.”  Yes he’s an interim coach with injuries, but losing three winnable games is an indictment on the team and the man leading them.
1 Star (out of 3)
TOWNSEND: “We begin dribbling around — I don’t know what we’re running — we just go out and play, and all of a sudden: BOOM! It’s down to 10, it’s down to seven, it’s down to five and they’re in the game,” said Wittman after the game. But the coach also explained that he was left with a few timeouts at the end of the game. Why didn’t he use one of those timeouts to restore order on the court? If he tried, but failed, what does that say about his leadership?
1 Star
WEIDIE: Tough loss, coach. Faltering on those late-game possessions, especially on defense, but almost more so on offense, will keep the Ls hurting your young team. Here’s what I’ll do, Randy… on the nights where you have to play Brian Cook for 10 or more minutes (he played 14 versus Detroit), I’m just going to give you 1.5 stars and keep it moving.
1.5 Stars

COACH TOTAL: 3.5 out of 9 stars

Seen on the Screen

w/ John Converse Townsend

  • Aquaman, Michael Phelps, was in attendance at Monday night’s game, sporting a military-style lid.
  • John Wall likes Kentucky to win their Final Four game by at least 15 points.
  • A few Wizards players appeared on the Jumbo-tron to share their sporting histories:
    • Trevor Booker: “When I was 17, I only played basketball.”
    • Jordan Crawford: “I didn’t really play any other sports besides basketball.”
    • John Wall: “When I was 17, I ran track. I didn’t want to do it. I had those little shorts. I didn’t want to do it. You could see my compression shorts under them, jumper over hurdles. I didn’t want to do it. I also played football, but my main sport was basketball.” John Wall, clearly, did not want to run track. Noted.
  • The Verizon Center was quieter than downtown Bethesda after dark. There weren’t many hecklers on hand, but some very enthusiastic fans made their presence known, including a Georgetown Hoyas fan who made a sign in support of Pistons center Greg Monroe.
  • Just before the half, a 50-some-year-old man who had been sitting behind bloggers row had seen enough terrible basketball for one night. “I can’t watch this anymore,” he muttered as he left the Verizon Center.
  • CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield continues to sponsor the  Washington Wizards’ Community Threes Program for a fourth season. For every 3-pointer made by a Wizards player this season, CareFirst will make a contribution of up to $100,000 to City Year Washington, D.C.’s Whole School, Whole Child program. So far, CareFirst has donated $24,200.
  • Rachel and Bachelor No. 1 are getting married!
  • A mini montage from ‘Coach Carter,’ about fighting and persevering and winning, was played on the Jumbo-tron with a minute left in the game, the Wizards up 73-71. Ironic in hindsight, given that the Wizards gave up the lead on the ensuing possession and ended up falling to the Pistons at the buzzer.
  • The Chick-fil-A Fowl Shot promotion was hit on Monday, thanks to two missed free throws by Ben Wallace, everyone in attendance won a free Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich. Wizards fans: bring their ticket stub to any freestanding or mall Chick-fil-A location in Maryland, Virginia or West Virginia to get your free sammy. Tickets are redeemable for one week, so get that free “chikin” ASAP.

End Scene


“If you keep running into the same guy and he keeps punching you in the face, you’re going to learn to put your hands up. This is three straight times..
-Randy Wittman

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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.