DC Council Game 19: Wizards 93 at Rockets 99: Washington Neither Bothers Nor Intrigues James Harden | Truth About It.net

DC Council Game 19: Wizards 93 at Rockets 99: Washington Neither Bothers Nor Intrigues James Harden

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Updated: December 13, 2012



[D.C. Council: setting the scene, rating the starters, assessing the subs, providing the analysis, and catching anything that you may have missed. Unlike the real DC Council, everything here is on the table. Game No. 19, Washington Wizards at Houston Rockets; contributors: Rashad Mobley and Kyle Weidie from behind the T.V.]

The Bill: Washington Wizards DC Council

The rumored-to-be Wizard who never was, James Harden.

Washington Wizards 93 at Houston Rockets 99 [box score]

MVP: James Harden – Maybe the Wizard could’ve traded for Harden, maybe not. But dude can legitimately own a game, and he did so with 31 points on 20 shots.

Stat of the Game: The Rockets out-scored the Wizards by 10 points in the paint, by six points from the 3-point line, by six points at the free throw line, and by 11 points on the fastbreak. So how did Washington lose by just six points? We’re still not sure, but Houston did have five more turnovers, even though both teams scored 18 points off each other’s turnovers. Number soup.

Noted: When asked by the Washington Post’s Michael Lee if the Wizards supposedly nixing a trade for him provided any motivation for Wednesday night’s contest, James Harden said, “You know what? No. I don’t get bothered or intrigued by stuff like that, no.”

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

Key Legislature: Washington Wizards DC Council

Where is Superman?

Not even two minutes after the Wizards lost to the Hornets, Craig Stouffer, Washington Wizards beat writer for The Washington Examiner, tweeted: “Sorta feels like Wizards played the same game as last night and got a result that might be more appropriate, a 99-93 loss to the Rockets.” And he was 100 percent right.

On Tuesday night, the Wizards were able to overcome a sluggish start and sloppy play for two main reasons. The Wizards had a good player who played like a star in Jordan Crawford (26 points), and they were playing a team in the Hornets who are lacking in that department (Anthony Davis is an above-average rookie, but he’s not there yet).  On Wednesday night, the Wizards had the balanced scoring attack of Bradley Beal (20 points), Emeka Okafor (19), Crawford (17), and Martell Webster (16). Ideally, that type of team effort should have translated to victory—except they could not overcome the 31 points of the Houston Rockets superstar, Mr. James Harden.

In the second quarter, the Wizards fought back from 14 points down to tie the game, only to lose the lead via a buzzer-beating halfcourt shot from Toney Douglas. Early in the third quarter, the Wizards found themselves down by seven points but eventually took took the lead on a Beal free throw, only to watch the Rockets answer with a 15-2 run. And in the fourth quarter, the Wizards attempted to fight and scrap their way back into the game, but they got within less than four points. Washington was good enough to stay in the game, but they lacked the superstar to put them over the hump. Harden set the tone for his team with 17 points in the opening quarter, and that was the main difference in the game.

I suppose I could mention that Harden could have been in Washington, but that’s been beaten into the ground by now.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)

Council Members: Washington Wizards DC Council

Rating five Wizards starters & two key subs on a three-star scale.

Jordan Crawford
The Wizards don’t hang around unless Jordan Crawford drops nine of his 17 points in the fourth quarter. In that final period he went 3-for-4 on FGs and dished two assists to zero turnovers. On the night, Crawford did a lot of little things to win, including eight rebounds and five assists, but too much inefficiency, via 18 shots to six makes, reared its ugly head. And with about two and a half minutes left, Crawford watched Bradley Beal miss a long 2 that would’ve kept the Wizards within four points before the Rockets easily went the other way for a transition bucket. Crawford and Beal finished plus-1 in the plus/minus department during their 32 minutes on the court together in Houston, but they weren’t a winning combination in the end.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

2 out of 3 stars

Bradley Beal
It was quite an up and down game for the rookie, but overall, Bradley Beal showed a lot in proving his toughness. Beal spent the first half getting an education from James Harden, who was able to get where he wanted on the floor. And when Beal had the ball on offense, Harden crowded him and prevented him from getting clean looks at the basket. One on occasion, Harden played perfect defense and forced Beal into a turnover, while on another possession, Harden stayed one step ahead of Beal while bringing the ball up the court, which effectively allowed Harden and the Rockets to play five-on-four until Beal caught up. In the second half Beal didn’t really pick up the pace defensively. In fact, it appeared as if all his fouls came from reaching or slapping at the ball, but he did work harder on offense to get clean looks. And when he didn’t get a clean look, Beal found the open man to the tune of six assists to go with his 20 points.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)

1.5 out of 3 stars

Martell Webster
Martell Webster was one of a handful of Wizards who stepped up in the scoring department — 16 points, 7-for-12 FGs, 1-for-4 3Ps, 1-for-1 FTs. Webster also seemed to be the Wizard who most often let Houston’s Chandler Parsons get off for points. But, defense is done as a team, and the Wizards always seem to be a step slow guarding 3-point shooters, no matter who is on the court. Webster added seven rebounds, one assist, two steals and a block to his line, and he also had seven second quarter points that really gave the Wizards a boost offensively. He continues to put up career bests in passing, rebounding, and even True Shooting Percentage (59.7%), so his efforts in this bounce-back season likely would be more noticed on a winning team.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

2 out of 3 stars

Chris Singleton
Singleton reverted to his rookie year form in Houston with zero points on 0-for-7 shooting from the field along with five rebounds and four blocks. He probably deserves some commendation for at least giving the illusion of playing good defense with four blocks and five rebounds, but he really got out-played by Rockets 4 man, and former college teammate of John Wall, Patrick Patterson. Singleton’s counterpart finished with 13 points, four rebounds, three assists, and three blocks.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)

0 out of 3 stars

Emeka Okafor
Well, what do ya know? Emeka Okafor can have turn-back-the-clock(ish) games, too — in his hometown of Houston, in front of family. Okafor scored a season-high 19 points (7-for-12 FGs) to go with six rebounds and two each of assists, steals, blocks, and turnovers. He also smashed the ‘Will Okafor’s points and rebounds exceed the number of millions he’s making this season’ threshold. Indeed, 25 is greater than 13.5. His makes came via an array of aggressive attacks, as Okafor also played the entire fourth quarter. But that was mostly the result of Kevin Seraphin having a ‘space cadet’ night. With 13 minutes together, Okafor and Nene, behind a plus-3 in plus/minus, did at least show they were capable of playing alongside each other.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

2 out of 3 stars

Shaun Livingston
Less than two months ago, Shaun Livingston was waived by the Houston Rockets, because Harden had arrived via trade from Oklahoma City. Pre-Harden, Livingston figured to get 15-20 minutes per game backing up Jeremy Lin (even though reports surfaced of Livingston out-playing Lin in training camp). Instead, Livingston found himself on the street — at least until the Wizards signed him a few weeks later on November 15th.

Most players love to get back at their former team, let alone a team who decided their services were no longer needed, but Livingston had nothing against the Rockets.  He played 15 minutes, and scored just two points, despite going up against Toney Douglas, who he conceivably went head-to-head against in training camp, which meant he had to know some of his weaknesses. There was no fire, no passion, no creativity, and none of the moxie that had Wizards fans (and evidently coaches and GMs) clamoring for Livingston’s services. Hell, he could have even been that needed superman that was mentioned in the Key Legislature section. Instead, he was a no-show on second unit that could have used an inspired performance.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)

0 out of 3 stars

Nene
Nene did his best to push the Wizards back to contention in the fourth quarter, but he also did a bunch of little things that helped the Wizards lose. Just two of his nine attempts came from outside of six-feet (Nene went 1-for-2 from 16-feet), but in going 3-for-8 from close range, it’s clear Nene is still physically off. This season, his shooting percentage at the rim is down 7-to-9 percent from what would be considered normal for him. Nene added nine rebounds, 5-for-7 on FTs and three assists to this efforts, but again, those little things. Two late missed free throws, a missed defensive help assignment, and a questionable charge call — they all add up. The gist is that even if fully healthy, Nene can’t do it alone, even as a game-changing, overall talent. So maybe look for the Wizards to be more legitimately competitive in January, if John Wall is back by then.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

2 out of 3 stars

The Mayor: Washington Wizards DC Council

Bitin’ the Bullet.

Coach Randy Wittman really could not have asked much more from his team in the second of back-to-back road games. Despite putting the finishing touches on a tough win against the Hornets the night before, the Wizards played hard the next night against the Rockets. They shared the ball, they consistently fed Okafor in the post, they played better defense in the second half, and they had chances to win in the fourth quarter.  But when the only player to contribute off the bench is Nene (13 points), when you get outscored 24-13 in fastbreak points, and when John Wall is en route to another knee examination and not the practice court, there isn’t a whole lot a coach can do.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)

Adjourned: Washington Wizards DC Council

A salute from Randy Wittman…



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