DC Council Game 65: Wizards 96 at Cavs 85: Winning and Grinning, Cavalier and Confident | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council Game 65: Wizards 96 at Cavs 85: Winning and Grinning, Cavalier and Confident

Updated: April 26, 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 65 contributors: Ryan Gracia (@rgracia2378), John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend) and Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It).]


Washington Wizards 96 at Cleveland Cavaliers 85 [box score]

Stat of the Game

w/ Kyle Weidie

The Wizards, 40-for-91 from the field, attempted 14 more shots than the Cavs (34-for-77); the two teams went 12-for-16 and 13-for-18 from the free throw line respectively. What so many extra shots? For one, offensive rebounds — Washington had 20 with 18 second chance points, Cleveland had 11 with just eight second chance points. Another factor is pace — the Wizards normally average 95.13 possessions per 48 minutes. Against Cleveland, starters John Wall, Cartier Martin, Chris Singleton, Jan Vesely, and Kevin Seraphin played together for 15 minutes at a pace of 98.89 possessions per 48 with a plus-7 in the plus/minus department. Cleveland’s starters — Kyrie Irving, Anthony Parker, Alonzo Gee, Antawn Jamison, and Tristan Thompson — played eight minutes together, had a plus/minus of zero and a pace of 98.46 (the Cavs average a pace of 93.99 on the year). Basically, when the Wizards were ready to turn up the tempo, they could; Cleveland, not so much.

Scene of the Game

Washington, Winning

via @recordsANDradio

Kevin Seraphin throws down a two-handed alley-oop.

D.C. Flag 3-Star Ratings

w/ Ryan Gracia, John Converse Townsend,
and Kyle Weidie 

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

John Wall

John Wall

JOHN CONVERSE TOWNSEND: 21 points, 13 assists, seven rebounds, and seven steals (!): the Cleveland Effect had something to do with that historic stat line, but it’s more of a reflection of John Wall’s maturation as an NBA point guard. He’s become much more than a track athlete; Wall is under control, reading the game and drawing fouls — the days when J-Wall would make a beeline to the hoop and hope for the best are in the past. His jump shot isn’t there yet, but, for now, that’s okay. The Wizards have won five consecutive games, their longest winning streak since 2007, in large part thanks to the performance of Wall, who recorded his fourth consecutive double-double.
2.75 Stars (out of 3)
GRACIA: Wow. Wall seemed to be everywhere against the Cavs. He capped off his career-high fourth-straight double-double in pretty amazing style. He truly led the Wizards in this victory, their fifth-straight overall. On top of that, only two of his six turnovers were created in the second half, so it’s nice to see that he also cleaned that up as the game wore on. Well done, John.
3 Stars
WEIDIE: Yea, yea… Let’s see Wall do this during the playoffs when the game slows way down and play gets tough. Otherwise, seeing Wall not end his sophomore season in a slump is nice, but I’m not going to invest too much stock in it.
2.5 Stars

TOTAL: 8.25 out of 9 stars

Cartier Martin

Jordan Crawford

KYLE WEIDIE: Cartier Martin, in his first start this season, fifth of his NBA career, got on the game’s scoreboard first with a 3-pointer… Then he only made two more FGs (2-pointers) over the rest of the game and missed both of his free-throw attempts. He added two rebounds, one steal, one block, two turnovers and two fouls in 26 minutes. I like Cartier, and he has certainly improved in this stint with the Wiz, but he’s just not that dynamic of a player. But might there be a place for him on the team as 12th or 13th man next season? Sure.
0.5 Star (out of 3)
GRACIA: Martin wasn’t able to make his impact felt against the Cavs. His stats were sub-par and it seemed that every time he went up for a shot it resulted in a miss. He’s had a good run in his time with the Wizards, so hopefully he can forget this game quickly and find his groove again in the next one.
0.75 Star
TOWNSEND: Not sure why, but I expected more from Cartier Martin in this one, his first start of the season (and the fifth start of his career). It’s been a long road for this NBA journeyman, and the season-high 38 minutes he played on Saturday must have been tough for tired legs — it showed last night.
1 Star

TOTAL: 2.25 out of 9 stars

Chris Singleton

Chris Singleton

RYAN GRACIA: Ten points on 4-for-8 shooting, 2-for-5 from downtown, one assist, and four boards isn’t such a bad showing from Singleton. His presence was felt and he was active on the glass in his attempts to keep plays alive for his team. A heads-up play on his part in the third quarter as he quickly inbounded the ball to Wall who ran an ensuing two-on-one to perfection, throwing the nice alley-oop to Seraphin for an easy two points just six seconds after a Cavalier basket.
1.75 Stars
TOWNSEND: Singleton has flashed some developmental potential in these last few end-of-season games. Singleton even led all scorers in the first half with eight points. He finished with just 10, but hey! You have to walk before you run, and you have to get comfortable before you get hungry.
1.5 Stars
WEIDIE: Well, in his 50th start of the season, Chris Singleton scored in double figures for the ninth time… so, progress. About a minute and a half into the game Singleton airballed a short, 17-foot jumper from the left wing. But, somehow, he got the ball back seven seconds later and nailed the 15-footer. Progress? Why not.
1.25 Stars

TOTAL: 4.5 out of 9 stars

Jan Vesely

Jan Vesely

RYAN GRACIA: Vesely has been really impressive lately and one can’t help but applaud him for his efforts again, this time against the Cavs. Seven points on 3-for-4 shooting isn’t too bad for him, but seven offensive rebounds (12 total) shows he’s doing the dirty work that every team needs from its big men. I loved that he was able to fight through a foul on his way to capping off Wall’s skillful behind-the-back pass with a thunderous dunk. Even better? He made the following free throw, going 100-percent from the line on his only attempt.
2.75 Stars
TOWNSEND: Vesely has always passed the eye test. That shouldn’t come as much as a surprise given he’s played basketball professionally since he was 17 years old. But the 6’11” swingman with big man skills has begun to put up numbers. A game-high plus/minus of plus-16 and a career-high 12 rebounds. Take that statheads!
2.25 Stars
WEIDIE: Jan had a bit of a rough start, especially in physical situations versus Tristan Thompson (one Vesely shied away from trying to finish when Thompson challenged him at the rim; the Cavs rook also stole a couple rebounds from Ves, which was part of three first quarter turnovers for the Wizards rook). However, the one constant about Jan is that his basketball instinct never quits, in spite of small bouts of trouble. Mentally, Jan is far less fragile than the dead horse Wizards I like to kick. I leave you with this Tweet of mine from the game: “1 only needs 2 watch Jan Vesely’s effort on hedging on P&R defense vs Blatche’s 2 know that Dray should never play 4 the Wizards again.”
2.25 Stars

TOTAL: 7.25 out of 9 stars

Kevin Seraphin

Kevin Seraphin

RYAN GRACIA: Seraphin didn’t have a particularly dominant game against the Cavs, but then again he didn’t need to. A game-high two blocked shots, one steal, one assist and six boards (four offensive) in 23 minutes aren’t jaw-dropping numbers, although tonight was somewhat of a mini-milestone for Seraphin and the Wizards. His six-for-12 shooting led to 12 points, resulting in his season-leading fifteenth- straight game with double-digit scoring. Félicitations, Monsieur Seraphin. Here’s hoping you can break that tie with Nick Young and take the lead for good by making it sixteen straight against the Heat in the season finale.
1.5 Stars (out of 3)
TOWNSEND: Seraphin has now scored 10 or more points in 15 straight games. If he can reach double-digits tonight against the Miami Heat, he will have tied a record set by Gheorge Muresan, who scored 10 or more points in 16 consecutive starts during the 1995-96 season. Point: Ernie Grunfeld.
2 Stars
WEIDIE: Soft touch? Check… and by now, Seraphin’s offensive abilities are no fluke. Defensive rebounding, however? Two defensive boards (but four offensive) in 23 minutes continues to leave a lot to be desired. I’m curious about what Randy Wittman has to say about Kevin’s development in defensive rebounding… So, I’ll ask him.
1.75 Stars

TOTAL: 5.25 out of 9 stars

The Bench

The Bench

KYLE WEIDIE: Shelvin Mack picked up four points and three assists in his first 67 seconds off the bench, but then settled down some. The presence of Nenê (12 points, 7 rebounds in 23.5 minutes) and James Singleton (10 points, 5 rebounds in 22 minutes) pretty much sealed the deal against Cleveland’s bench bigs of Samardo Samuels and Luke Harangody. Nenê is really a smooth, fluid player (especially on offense), and I’m really looking forward to how this Wizards team will play with him around from the start next season.
1.75 Stars (out of 3)
Sub Man of the Game: Nenê
GRACIA: Morris Almond struggled and so did Maurice Evans. Nenê, on the other hand was able to prove that he isn’t really a bench player. He was the on-court leader with his calming presence and impressive play, missing just one shot in seven attempts. James Singleton also added a nice spark in his time on the court.
1.5 Stars
Sub Man of the Game: Nenê
TOWNSEND: Wild shooting from the Mos (Evans and Almond), who went 3-for-18, was buffered by solid performances from James Singleton and Nenê, who combined for 22 points (11-15 FG) and 12 rebounds.
1.75 Stars
Sub Man of the Game: Nenê

BENCH TOTAL: 5 out of 9 stars

The Coach: Randy Wittman

The Coach: Randy Wittman

JOHN CONVERSE TOWNSEND: Wittman was an agent of post-positionality in Washington’s win over Cleveland. In the fist half, nine players logged at least 10 and a half minutes, with Shelvin mack (8:04) and Brian Cook (1:22) bringing up the rear. At the final whistle, nine players logged at least 18 minutes, with Mack (15:32) and Cook (2:21) again getting whatever was left over. I liked the strategy, considering Jordan Crawford, the Wizards’ leading scorer since the All-Star break was a late scratch, and the coach did a good job of getting the most out of a thin roster. Wittman let Wall play all 12 minutes in the third quarter, and the franchise player rewarded the coach with 12 points on 5-for-5 shooting, six assists, fours steals, three rebounds, and a 14-point lead that put the game out of reach.
3 Stars
GRACIA: With the game winding down and the bench group struggling to keep the lead that the starting group had created, Wittman called a timeout to calm the team and get them re-focused on finishing strong. He got Wall back in the game, an acceptable lead was established again, and he subbed Shelvin Mack in for Wall to close out the win.
2.75 Stars
WEIDIE: I bet Wittman, the Wizards having already locked up the second worst record in the NBA, was glad that he didn’t have to rest his starters (at least not as much as Cleveland did) in an attempt to play an ever-so-subtle game of tanking. The little thrills of coaching a very bad team.
2 Stars

COACH TOTAL: 7.75 out of 9 stars

Seen on the Screen

w/ John Converse Townsend

Scene: First Quarter, 10:18, Wizards up, 5-2.

Cavs’ rookie Kyrie Irving initiated the pick-and-roll with Antawn Jamison, but Jan Vesely did a nice job trapping the Cleveland guard outside the 3-point line. Irving, who was forced to slow his dribble, reacted by hitting Jamison at the elbow with a bounce pass, but Vesely recovered quickly enough to force the veteran to put it on the floor. As Jamison entered the paint, John Wall showed a double-team, and in a panic, Jamison lobbed a ball out to Irving, which was picked off by Wall.

Here’s what happened next:

“Was that a case of John outrunning the rest of the team, or the rest of the team not keeping up with him?” asked play-by-play man Steve Buckhantz.

“Nah,” responded Buckhantz’s partner in crime, Phil Chenier. “I don’t think he was in an optimal position when he tried to deliver the pass. He didn’t get a real good postion on that pass and led Cartier just a little too much.”

I reacted to Wall’s fastbreak turnover on Twitter:

Wall FB turnover. A more experienced guard, like CP3, might have found the trailing Cartier Martin with a bounce pass through the legs.

See, it’s all about passing angles. Wall knows that, and has the vision required to get fancy with it, too.

And he did get fancy later in the game, when confronted with an almost identical situation.

Scene: Fourth Quarter, 3:51, Wizards up, 91-77.


End Scene


“Everybody plays good and plays hard. Nobody worries about how many points you’re going to score. You can tell the whole group is having a lot more fun.”

John Wall, feelin’ good, feelin’ great. (Feelin’ great, feelin’ good!)

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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.