DC Council Game 36: Wizards 94 at Kings 95: Game-Changing Free Throw Misses from the Game Changer | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council Game 36: Wizards 94 at Kings 95: Game-Changing Free Throw Misses from the Game Changer

Updated: January 17, 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. 36, Washington Wizards at Sacramento Kings; contributors: John Converse TownsendRashad Mobley and Kyle Weidie from the East Coast.]

The Bill: Washington Wizards DC Council

Bradley Beal’s career-high 26.

Washington Wizards 94 at Sacramento Kings 95 [box score]

MVP: DeMarcus Cousins. Through the first three quarters, Cousins had 12 points, nine rebounds and three fouls (two offensive). In the fourth quarter, he put the team on his back and had nine points and seven rebounds to lead the Kings to victory. Wizards play-by-play man Steve Buckhantz kept waiting for Cousins to lose his temper, but he kept his cool when it counted.

Stat of the Game: Bradley Beal’s career-high 26 points were impressive enough. But he also shot 6-for-7 from the 3-point line, with six assists and just one turnover in 40 minutes of play, and showed that his game has elements of both Ray Allen and Dwyane Wade.

—Rashad Mobley (@rashad20)

Key Legislature: Washington Wizards DC Council

Defining Moment.

[Catch my “Around the Association” recap on ESPN’s Daily Dime here.]

John Wall was at the free throw line with fewer than 30 seconds to play, game tied at 94. (The Wizards had led by as many as 11.) The speedester had just ripped a loose ball away from Cousins and drawn his third foul on Jimmer Fredette, this time a block in the paint on a fast-break. Wall had a chance to give the Wizards a two-point lead on the road, and extend their winning streak to four, but missed a pair of free throws. On the ensuing Kings possession, Tyreke Evans won a trip to the stripe by Euro-stepping through the lane—Nene tripped him with 10.8 to play. ‘Reke made the first attempt, but missed the second, but that was enough.

TrueHooper Jonathan Santiago (@itsjonsantiago) of Cowbell Kingdom tweeted this after the game: “DMC was surprised Wall missed those 2 free throws at 94-all. Said John thrives for those moments: ‘You’ll probably never see that again.’ ”

—John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)

Council Members: Washington Wizards DC Council

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

AJ Price
After one half of basketball (14:30), A.J. Price had five points and four assists, while John Wall had 10 points and two assists in just 9:30. Wall seemed to be more interested in establishing his own offensive rhythm rather than finding his teammates, while Price shunned his own offense and focused on keeping the ball popping, (c) Mike Miller. When Wall checked out of the game with 5:45 left in the second quarter, the Wizards were leading 43-42. Price played the remainder of the first half, and the Wizards were able to increase their lead to 58-46. Price played just seven minutes in the second half and was relatively ineffective, but on this night his job was to keep the Wizards close, and he did just that.

—Rashad Mobley (@rashad20)

2 out of 3 stars

Bradley Beal
Bradley Beal’s jumper looked more comfortable than it’s ever looked—lift, arc, and the ball splashing the net, untouched by the rim. He had a career-night in his first West Coast game (well, a career of 34 games) and went 6-for-7 from the 3-point line en route to 26 points. So, nice to see the rookie start to get his NBA legs. There’s starting to become certain comfort to his game while the little things come natural. (Remember his big rebound on Tyreke Evans’ FT miss with 11 seconds left?)“All game,” said Beal, as lip-read through the magic of television after he hit a smooth mid-range shot midway through the first quarter. In the very same period, Beal expressed his unselfishness when other past Wizards might have checked their heat. Martell Webster received a pass and soon swung it to Beal. Young Bradley could’ve looked for his, but nope. That ball was a hot potato, zipped to A.J. Price in the corner. And Price’s 3-ball was right. The four quick-fire Wizards passes were refreshing like cold water to the face on a scorching-hot day. (Lest we mention Nick Young’s name, akin to that warm cup of water that finds its way to your hand while asleep on the couch in college.) So, Beal with it.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

3 out of 3 stars

Martell Webster
For the second consecutive game, Martell Webster’s contributions were a mixed bag.  He was a presence on the boards with nine rebounds (all defensive), and he hit a big 3-pointer with 1:27 left in the game to give the Wizards the lead, 94-91. But on the very next possession, he lost  track of John Salmons, who hit a corner 3-pointer of his own to tie the game. The next time down the court, Webster attempted to pass the ball to Bradley Beal, but Jimmer jumped into the passing lane and caused Beal to lose the ball. Webster also allowed Salmons to get into a bit of a rhythm—Salmons scored more than 20 points (21) for just the third time this season. If Ariza wasn’t so terrible, and if Cartier Martin wasn’t out with a knee, Webster surely would have been benched.

—Rashad Mobley (@rashad20)

1 out of 3 stars

Love Nene’s game, mostly. The mere discrepancy in basketball intelligence between him and JaVale McGee is clearly the most impactful result of that trade. So, yay. But damn Nene whines a lot. He seems to have diva-like expectations for opponents, the refs, and, perhaps most of all, his teammates. Naw, most of all Nene is a diva with the refs, but he’s also wont to bitch a teammate out because of a missed defensive assignment. What does it all mean? Who knows … maybe it means he cares like a big brother; he certainly does seem to be a great teammate. And wherever this is going, Nene had a pretty good game against the Kings—15 points, 7-for-12 FGs, nine rebounds, six assists, two steals in 30 minutes. But he took a couple key, bad, fadeaway misses that made me wonder if he was settling out of convenience. Or, maybe like Nene with his teammates, I expected better.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

2 out of 3 stars

Emeka Okafor
Somehow the offense went away from Nene in the post in the third—not at all like what was successful in the first. And what were we left with? Okafor jumpers. They were as splendid as they sound. Big ‘Mek is what he is, now the Wizards’ big man version of Mike Miller, if you will. Okafor went 3-for-7 from the field, 0-for-4 from beyond 7-feet, and zero-for-zero from beyond the arc; eight rebounds, a block, and two turnovers were added to his six points in 27 minutes. He’ll have better games, he contributes to the overall good team defense, and he will be off the books after the 2013-14 season (or sooner).

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

1 out of 3 stars

Trevor Ariza
Trevor Ariza has for months been the Wizards player that fans love to hate. Though he can help you win games with his defense (he has the best Defensive Rating on the roster, 98), Ariza can also be a disaster—like he was in Sactown. Like, disastrous enough to be trending on Twitter, which he was. For starters, he was responsible for a team-high four of the Wizards’ 17 turnovers, and despite having three assists and two boards, he was held scoreless in 21 minutes off the bench (0-for 6 from the field, 0-for-3 from deep). Ariza also had a team-worst plus/minus of minus-4.

—John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)

0 out of 3 stars

John Wall
The most impressive aspect of John Wall’s return was not the numbers he put up (he averaged 13 points and five assists in his first two games), but rather the effect he had on the team’s elevated confidence and crisp ball movement. In the first half of Wednesday night’s game against the Kings, Wall seemed to shun that team talk and he treated the game like an extended heat check. He seemingly went 1-on-4 every time down the court, and on one fast-break in particular, he had Ariza open on the wing, Jan Vesely open just to his right, and instead, he tried to force his way to the basket. He was called for charging after running over his former Kentucky teammate DeMarcus Cousins. In the second half, Wall reverted to setting up his teammates and he had eight assists. However, he missed those two free throws that could have given the Wizards the lead with 30 seconds to play. On top of that, his jumper appears to be as forced and as flat as it was during his first two seasons.

—Rashad Mobley (@rashad20)

1.5 out of 3 stars

The Mayor: Washington Wizards DC Council

‘That’s just no way to win.’ 

Look, I get it. There were 10.8 seconds left and Bradley Beal seemed to be making everything. Plus, he has made buckets in crunch time this season, so why not run the final play of the game—a double off-ball screen on the baseline—through the rookie?

Reason No. 1 not to run the final play through Beal: location, location, location. Beal, like most 3-point shooters, is more accurate from the corners. (He made four corner-3s against the Kings and has shot 46.4% from that spot this season.) But the double screen, even if successful, would have left Beal with a 3-pointer above the break, where he’s shot 28.4%.

And let’s keep in mind it was a one-point game.

Reason No. 2 not to run the final play through Beal, as explained by TrueHoop Godfather Henry Abbott:

Tal Neiman and Yonatan Loewenstein of the Safra Center at Hebrew University have done the latest significant research on the hot hand, which was recently published in Nature. They find that after hitting a 3, NBA players will make their next one six percent less often than they would after a miss. (And it’s not because they see their buddies in offensive rebounding position, either—their teams do poorly on those possessions as a whole.)

Emphasis mine. More from Abbott:

“These results suggest that players attempt too many 3pt shots after a made 3pt,” write the researchers, “and too few after a missed 3pt.” It’s part of a bigger body of research about how humans learn. We have a tendency to put too much emphasis on things that just happened. That last made shot sends us a strong signal we are great shooters.


The researchers were nice enough to send me spreadsheets with a lot of the data they studied from the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 seasons. And you can see it all in there, plain as day. Here are players like Rudy Gay, Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Deron Williams, Brandon Roy, Nick Young, Richard Jefferson, Kevin Martin, Rip Hamilton, Steve Nash and Carmelo Anthony. And like clockwork, after hitting a 3, they are dramatically more likely to shoot another one.

And remember, those 3s after you just made one … they miss a lot.

Beal was 1-for-1 from the field in the fourth quarter before the Wizards’ final possession. His one shot? A 3-pointer he swished over a closing Jimmer Fredette.

In a way, the Wizards were lucky, because the Kings didn’t let Beal get open for 3. The Kings defense recognized the play and adjusted on the fly. Chuck Hayes rotated off screener Nene to defend Beal behind the arc, while Cousins crashed into the Brazilian to keep the ball on the perimeter. John Salmons, the trailer who got held up on the baseline, threw on the brakes and checked Okafor on the opposite side of the floor.

That defensive reaction forced Beal to freestyle. He bounced into the paint, looking for space, but the double-wide Hayes wouldn’t give him an inch, contesting Beal’s all too heavy-handed floater. That wasn’t the shot the Wizards were looking for. Nor was Wall’s desperation toss as time expired.

The Play.

“It was a double chain on the baseline for me,” Beal said after the game. “I was open at first because I set my man up. One of my bigs set a great screen on Salmons and he was stuck, so I was wide open for a second. Last minute, they switched and I had Chuck Hayes on me.

“As soon as he jumped out, he took kind of a bad angle and then he got into my body a little bit. I had to take a tougher shot than I wanted to, but we had a second look at it and we just didn’t execute.”

Why not feed Nene down low, or go with a 1-4 set and let Wall attack the basket? The Kings were in the penalty…

It’s like Abbott said, planning for a hot hand—in this case, Beal’s—is just no way to win:

“In a league where the average game is decided by a bucket or two, a rushed, bad, long shot or two hurts how well your team does.”

—John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)

Adjourned: Washington Wizards DC Council

 Don’t jump, DeMarcus.

[Notice Kevin Seraphin’s head in the top left corner at the end.]


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John Converse Townsend
Reporter / Writer / Co-Editor at TAI
John has been part of the editorial team at TAI since 2010. He likes: pocket passes, chase-down blocks, 3-pointers. He dislikes: typos, turnovers, midrange jump shots.