DC Council Game 22: Wizards 95 vs Hawks 100: Loss No. 19, but Wittman's Sky Isn't Falling | Truth About It.net

DC Council Game 22: Wizards 95 vs Hawks 100: Loss No. 19, but Wittman's Sky Isn't Falling

By
Updated: December 19, 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. 22, Washington Wizards vs Atlanta Hawks in D.C.; contributors: Rashad Mobley and Kyle Weidie from the Verizon Center.]

The Bill: Washington Wizards DC Council

Wittmanisms.

Washington Wizards 95 vs Atlanta Hawks 100 [box score]

MVP: Jordan Crawford.

Despite being forced to play the dual (and relatively new) role of playmaker and scorer, Crawford got his second career triple-double: 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists with just one turnover in 44 minutes of play.

Stat of the Game: In 26 minutes of play, Earl Barron had the type of stat line that only Dennis Rodman and Ben Wallace could love: four points, four blocked shots, four turnovers, five fouls, 14 rebounds, and no trips to the foul line.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)

Key Legislature: Washington Wizards DC Council

The Wizards Small Margin for Error.

With 23 seconds left in the game, Wizards forward Earl Barron took a pass inside the foul line and hit a short jumper to tie the game 90-90, which provoked Atlanta Hawks  Coach Larry Drew to call a timeout. Up to that point, the Hawks had played an average game. Josh Smith had 17 points and 13 rebounds, but he wasn’t dominating like he typically does against the Wizards. Al Horford had yet to break double-figures in scoring, Jeff Teague had not been an offensive factor, and Devin Harris was out with a foot injury.

The Wizards, on the other hand, were playing as hard and as well as they could, given their shortcomings. Bradley Beal carried the team in the first half, Jordan Crawford carried them in the second half, and Nene was steady throughout. It was in the Wizards’ best interest to attempt to win the game in regulation, because they risked the awakening of one of the Hawks’ stars if the contest went to overtime. What was the Hawks’ strategy? Here’s Coach Larry Drew:

Jeff Teague took his coach’s advice, missed the shot, but left the Wizards just 2.7 seconds to hit a winning bucket, and they could not. During overtime, the Wizards went cold (22 percent from the field), and although the Hawks weren’t that much warmer (28 percent), they got big shots from Lou Williams and DeShawn Stevenson, and they won the game. The Wizards fought hard and played their shorthanded hearts out for four quarters, but the Hawks had more players, more energy and a strategy that maximized both of those factors.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)

Council Members: Washington Wizards DC Council

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

Jordan Crawford
Jordan Crawford messed around and got a triple-double (27 points, 11 assists, 11 rebounds), won the individual battle with Jeff Teague, and took quite the crappy shot with the game tied to end regulation.

“Might not always take the best shots,” said Randy Wittman after the game. “I might scratch my head and look to the ceiling sometimes, but I do know he’s going to compete.”

Crawford this season, and especially in spot-duty at the point guard, has been much-improved. But he still is Jordan Crawford, after all (thank God, we think). Plus, per the video below, Crawford “doesn’t have a position,” he just likes to play. Indeed.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

2.5 out of 3 stars

Bradley Beal
Bradley Beal wasted no time asserting his outside shot in the first quarter by hitting his first three shots from 17, 19, then 21 feet. Then, he aggressively drove to the basket for a dunk to finish the period with eight points. Beal played a bit less in the second quarter, but still hit two more jumpers. Once the third quarter hit, Beal maintained his aggressiveness, but lost the shooting touch. Then, with 5:29 left in the third quarter, he drove strong to the basket and attempted to dunk over Josh Smith, but Mr. Smoove rejected his shot, and Beal fell hard to the floor, hitting his head on the hardwood. He remained on the ground for a couple minutes, walked to the bench, then headed to the locker room. Beal returned at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but by then his shot and his aggressiveness had waned. He finished the game with 17 points (8-22 FGs), five rebounds, and four assists (one turnover) in 40 minutes.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)

1.5 out of 3 stars

Martell Webster
Ideally, Martell Webster would have stepped up offensively to give Beal and Crawford some help, but that part of his game was nowhere to be found last night. Webster did have a strong third quarter (five points, two assists, two rebounds) when the Wizards were making a bit of a run, but he was scoreless in the fourth quarter and again during the overtime period. And when he had a chance, with 1:29 left in the game, to cut the Hawks’ lead to two points, he was tentative and his shot was blocked by Al Horford. Webster didn’t have a bad game, he just didn’t do enough.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)

1 out of 3 stars

Chris Singleton
When Randy Wittman started talking about Earl Barron’s “activity” after the game (see below), part of his follow-up quote could be seen as an indictment of Chris Singleton’s play. Well, we’ll assume Singleton, since he only played 11 minutes on the night, but Emeka Okafor wasn’t in the game during crunch time, either. It was Nene and Barron.

“Activity… I’m not getting enough activity out of that spot. I’m looking for somebody that’s going to step up and show me that, and [Barron] did tonight,” said Wittman on ‘Why Barron?’ after the game. “We just can’t continue along just go through the motions, alright, and thing that you’re going to play night in and night out.”

Now, the second part of that quote could be misleading, since Okafor has been known, and seen, to go through the motions himself. But we’ll get to him in a second. In the end, Singleton’s argument is a meager one: 2 points, 1-4 FGs, 2 rebounds, 1 assists, 2 steals, and 2 fouls. Will he start on Wednesday in Orlando? Could be highly questionable.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

0 out of 3 stars

Emeka Okafor
Emeka Okafor will do some good things. He is an experienced veteran, after all. But he also has a penchant to be a strawman on offense, air-balling right hand hooks from the baseline and what-not. Okafor’s final stat line: 25 minutes, six points (3-9 FGs) two rebounds (both offensive), one assist, and one turnover. That certainly doesn’t seem much better than Singleton’s stat line, if not worse (two rebounds from the center in 25 minutes?!). In Randy Wittman’s ideal world, he is at the point of the season where he can comfortably start Nene alongside Kevin Seraphin, while Okafor, Booker, Vesely (and now, Webster) fight for minutes. Instead, Randy Wittman knows the sky isn’t falling, but he still checks.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

0 out of 3 stars

Earl Barron
Simple question, simple answer. Q: What made you go to Barron? A, via Randy Wittman: “Activity.” The coach did follow up: “I mean, this guy… there wasn’t a play run for him, alright, and he gets 10 shots, 14 rebounds, and four blocks.”

Earl Barron’s shot wasn’t falling—he missed eight of 10—but he did hit a big bucket in OT, and those rebounds… all of those rebounds. Does all this mean that Barron will get more run per Wittman’s search for activity? Doubtful it goes past spot duty, but Barron was asked about it after his big game nonetheless (video below).

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

2.5 out of 3 stars

Nene
Zaza Pachulia and Al Horford present a unique set of challenges for opposing centers.  Horford can score, but is also a terror on the offensive and defensive boards. Pachulia has the ability to score, but he’s a good rebounder, and he’s even better at being physical in the post. Nene was out-rebounded by them both (Nene had four, Pachulia had five, Horford had 11), but he more than made up for that by being physical and aggressive when caught the ball in the post. He scored 18 points, and when the scoring couldn’t happen, he found the open man and made the correct pass (six assists).  Given the continued putrid play of Emeka Okafor, it does seem like Nene should be starting games instead of coming off the bench, but that’s Coach Wittman’s issue (via Nene’s limit on minutes), not his. Still, Nene continues to impress in the short time he is on the court.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)

2 out of 3 stars

The Mayor: Washington Wizards DC Council

Wittmanisms.

Randy Wittman doesn’t want to face the media any more than they want to ask him questions in the face of 19 losses in 22 games. But they do want to hear him talk. And, dammit if the coach finds the post-game sessions therapeutic in some twisted way.

Randy peppers the room with his Wittmanisms (as seen in the video at the top of this post), and the media, actually with an insatiable appetite for questions, gets their thirst quenched. And all leave the room with just a little bit of closure—a necessary evil before looking toward a new day.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

Adjourned: Washington Wizards DC Council

From the Other Side, DeShawn.

DeShawn Stevenson (who Kyle Weidie spoke with before the game), was not supposed to play last night, due to soreness in his knees. Coach Larry Drew said that he wanted to save DeShawn for Wednesday night’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and he was hoping that Anthony Morrow and Devin Harris would be able to pick up the slack from the shooting guard position. But Morrow did not dress due to his sore back and Harris had to leave halfway through the second quarter with a sore foot. Enter DeShawn Stevenson doing the little things that made him so successful in Washington and in Dallas. He played with intensity on defense, he grabbed five rebounds, and, most importantly, he hit a go-ahead 3-pointer to give the Hawks the lead for good during the overtime period.

After the game, Coach Drew sang his praises, then DeShawn chimed-in as well.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)