DC Council Game 34: Wizards 93 vs Hawks 83: John Wall's Return Deserves A Salute | Truth About It.net

DC Council Game 34: Wizards 93 vs Hawks 83: John Wall's Return Deserves A Salute

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Updated: January 13, 2013

[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. 34, Washington Wizards vs Atlanta Hawks; contributors: Kyle Weidie and Sean Fagan from the Verizon Center.]

The Bill: Washington Wizards DC Council

John Wall Salute.

Washington Wizards 93 vs. Atlanta Hawks 83 [box score]

MVP: Plain and simple, the Wizards probably don’t win that game without John Wall’s 14 points and four assists, so the “Game Changer” is MVP (although the Hawks didn’t play all that well).

Stat of the Game: The Wizards more than doubled-up the Hawks in-paint points, 46 to 22, going 23-for-39 on paint field goal attempts to Atlanta’s 11-for-25. It seemed like the Hawks missed a ton of easy shots near the rim, and much of that had to do with the Wizards’ defense. Washington averages 32.4 points in the paint on the season, but with John Wall back, expect that number to trend upward.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

Key Legislature: Washington Wizards DC Council

Holding Strong.

One easy post-game debate revolved around the necessity of Jordan Crawford. Certainly anyone on the Wizards, aside from John Wall and Bradley Beal, is on the table for a trade, but don’t get it misconstrued. It’s not like the Wizards suddenly don’t need Crawford. They do, very much.

Early in the fourth quarter, Randy Wittman subbed in A.J. Price for John Wall; shortly thereafter, at the 10:48 mark, he subbed in Garrett Temple for Bradley Beal. This left Price, Temple, Trevor Ariza, Jan Vesely and Kevin Seraphin on the floor with the Wizards up 73-66. Understandable that the lineup didn’t make Wittman comfortable for too much longer; 14 seconds later, the coach subbed in Trevor Booker for Vesely (after Vesely picked up his fifth foul against Ivan Johnson). But still, the question was clear: Who was going to score, and could this crew hold off a good Hawks team?

The Price-Temple-Ariza-Booker-Seraphin crew spent the next four minutes on the floor together, went 4-for-9 on field goals, tallied four assists, and finished plus-3 against the Hawks. Price, who had four points and two assists during the span, allowed the Wizards to hold an 83-75 lead when Wall, Nene and Beal checked back into the game at the 6:20 mark for Price, Temple and Booker. The new Wizards “Big 3″ closed out the game against the Hawks, 10-8, but for the Wizards to succeed, they need a sixth man like Crawford — the type who doesn’t care when he plays, just as long as he has chances to make the net move.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

Council Members: Washington Wizards DC Council

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

AJ Price
With almost half the season under the Wizards belt, it has firmly been established that A.J. Price is not a starting NBA point guard. What the jury remains out on, however, is whether Price could be an adequate backup to John Wall and keep the ship steady as Wall got his sea legs under him. Last night’s game was a step towards proving that Price could possibly be a viable option as a backup PG. With Wall’s minutes limited, Price kept the Wizards lead intact in the third quarter and even went as far as to extend it with his MASH unit of Temple, Seraphin, Ariza, and Booker. (And for about 30 seconds, Jan Vesely.) If he can continue to keep such disparate parts functioning, Price will have more than earned his contract and have given the Wizards the much needed time to grow a rapport between Beal and Wall.

—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)

2 out of 3 stars

Bradley Beal
Bradley Beal and John Wall clearly need more court time to get used to the nuances of each other’s game, and Randy Wittman is really trying to make that happen. Every time Wall was on the court (20:54 in his debut), he was paired with Beal (39:40) in the backcourt. The duo led the Wizards to 41.2% shooting as a team (14-34 FGs) and plus-6 in plus/minus, but five assists to 11 turnovers during their 21 minutes together shows that chemistry needs to, can, and will develop. Beal finished the night with 19 points on 6-for-16 shooting. He’s clearly starting to get more comfortable with the game, hitting Antawn Jamison-esque scoop shots under defending arms and confidently splitting double-teams with his dribble to draw fouls. Hopefully Wall’s presence will allow Beal to continue to get more comfortable with his jump shot.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

2 out of 3 stars

Martell Webster
Following the game, Martell Webster sounded like a man who experienced a cool drink of water after a long time in the desert. Ebullient over the return of John Wall, Webster gushed about Wall “parting the red sea,” about Wall’s motor, and basically ran through all the adjectives he had to praise his PG. A primary reason for this is that Martell is going to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of Wall’s return, as he is going to see a lot more open jumpers on the wing. The second is that Webster has appeared to have secured his starting position over Trevor Ariza, which means more PT and more opportunity. Though Webster was lifted for much of the fourth quarter to allow Ariza to guard Kyle Korver, Randy Wittman went out of his way to praise Webster’s contribution after the game. For a man who has been the de facto spokesman for the Wizards, Webster is most likely relieved that he will have quite a few more chances to compare Wall to Ricky Rubio (see below).

—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)

2 out of 3 stars

Nene
Nene was so far inside Josh Smith’s head that at one point Smith began speaking Portuguese. Obviously, this led to Smith’s technical foul and disappearance from the game on both the offensive and defensive end. Nene bullied Smith for much of the evening, elbowing out of the way for offensive rebounds and put-backs and forced Smith into settling for that old chestnut: “the Josh Smith ill-advised 18-footer.” Nene went only 3-for-5 on the evening, but if such a thing is possible, it was a very loud 3-for-5. When you take the a team’s second best offensive weapon and render him not only ineffectual but self-destructive, well, that’s a pretty good night.

—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)

3 out of 3 stars

Emeka Okafor
Ten points, 10 rebounds, 3-for-8 from the field—this will become known as an Emeka Okafor night, and people will appreciate it, perhaps because the numbers combined at least will exceed his salary in millions (an “Okafor Line” along the Mendoza Line, if you will). With Nene doing a good job bothering Josh Smith in the first quarter, Okafor did his job for most of the night against Al Horford. Three of Okafor’s rebounds were offensive, and he scored second-chance points after each one of them. If Okafor gets into a rhythm with his defense, boarding and lurking for garbage points, his play will at least be worth a better fraction of his high-priced contract.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

1.5 out of 3 stars

Trevor Booker
Well, he is still hurt. That much is apparent. Booker gave eight minutes on the evening but didn’t have enough juice to go longer than that. The question now is what Booker’s role on the team will be going forward. Nene seems much more inclined to play PF, especially with Okafor and Seraphin now in line to battle with the Zaza Pachulia’s of the world. With Chris Singleton relegated once again to the doghouse, Booker would seem to be your second big off the bench, but one begins to wonder if Booker isn’t an expendable piece. One wants him to be content with the same role that Ivan Johnson serves on the Hawks, but Booker’s desire to start as well his inability to stay healthy is going to keep him at the end of the bench most games. The Wizards have too many “little things” guys on the roster right now with Vesely, Singleton and Booker, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Trevor as the odd man out of that trifecta.

—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)

0 out of 3 stars

John Wall
Well, he’s back. There were certainly moments where John Wall had his “jiggly legs” (his words), but he was more steady and calculated like a third-year player should be.  After initially missing a 19-foot jumper barely 30 seconds after checking in at the five minute mark of the first quarter, Wall calmed down by earning four attempts at the free throw line (made three, missed one on his first trip). Not 60 seconds into the second quarter, Wall hit his second shot attempt, a 15-foot jumper. He finished with 14 points on 5-for-11 FGs, 4-for-5 FTs with four assists, two rebounds, and three turnovers in 21 minutes. A couple of his jump shots looked bad, a couple of his turnovers looked foolish, but John Wall had presence. It didn’t take long for him to find his swagger, his crossover, and the moxie to hit tough shots. In the fourth quarter, Wall finished 3-for-5 on shots with six points, one assist and one turnover. Wall has a long way to go to find his mid-season legs, but he clearly still is the game-changer that the Wizards so desperately need.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

2 out of 3 stars

The Mayor: Washington Wizards DC Council

A coach with all his troops. 

Wittman took the podium Saturday night and went out of his way to praise the contributions of everyone who had survived the last four months without John Wall. Perhaps, Wittman knew that he too had survived, and Saturday was the first evening where he got to put together his intended game plan for the season. Wittman was lucky that Wall’s return was successful, otherwise we would be sitting here today discussing the odd rotations that Wittman threw out for long portions of the game. It will be interesting to see if Wittman sacrifices minuted of competitiveness in games in order to play his “fragile five” together as much as possible, but on the evening he and all the Wizards staff get a pass. Because John Wall is back and, in his own words, “he is telling everybody.”

—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)

Psychological impact of John Wall.

(A coach who got a couple point guards back speaks on it….)

Adjourned: Washington Wizards DC Council

John Wall vs. Ricky Rubio

Wizards fans know all too well about missing out on Ricky Rubio thanks to Mike Miller, Randy Foye and Ernie Grunfeld. But, eventually the Wizards got their point guard in John Wall, and they are probably better off for it. Probably. Either way, both young points have a good chance to insert themselves into relevancy amongst a league full of young points. Martell Webster has played with both Wall and Rubio, and last night he spoke of at least one difference he sees in them, particularly in how each handles transition basketball.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)