DC Council Game 39: Wizards 98 at Blazers 95: Crawfish Toast from the West Coast | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council Game 39: Wizards 98 at Blazers 95: Crawfish Toast from the West Coast

Updated: January 22, 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. 39, Washington Wizards at Portland Trailblazers; contributor: Sean Fagan, Rashad Mobley, and Kyle Weidie from behind the television screen.]

The Bill: Washington Wizards DC Council

Crawfish: From Sizzle to Toast.

[What did he do? JC provided a GIF.]

[Note: “Crawfish” is what a certain Nick Young advocate on Twitter (perhaps a cousin of Nick’s, perhaps his mom, perhaps not) disparagingly used to refer to Crawford as on the tweet machine. Now, we here at TAI use it in the most endearing of ways.]

Washington Wizards 98 at Portland Trail Blazers 95 [box score]

MVP: Dire predictions are a basketball announcer’s stock in trade. With 11 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Trailblazers announcers (Mike Barrett and Mike Rice) somberly predicted, “This is the time in the game where you can’t let Jordan Crawford get hot.” Approximately seven seconds after that statement was made, Crawford came off a curl to bury his first jumper of the fourth quarter, which encountered nothing but twine on its way to the floor. What the Barrett and Rice hadn’t noted was that Crawford had already gotten himself in the flow of the game, making a some nice touch passes to Nene and Seraphin in the block and rotating the ball to the other shooters on the floor—Martell Webster and Trevor Ariza. For someone who was a recently noted by NBA scribe Zach Lowe as being the NBA’s preeminent ball hog, Crawford played an unselfish game until it was time for him to take over.

Having finally found the flow of the game after a rough first half, Crawford proceeded to score 13 points in the fourth quarter, answering every Blazers rally with a shot of his own. This culminated in the game-winning shot with 3.6 seconds left, where Crawford took the ball off the inbounds from Martell Webster, took one dribble, and proceeded to drill the go-ahead 3-pointer at the buzzer. Crawford had already started running back to the other side of the floor, where he was promptly dog piled by the entire Wizards team. Right guy, right time and as Flip Saunders used to say, “Crawford is the perfect popcorn player.”

Stat of the Game: The Wizards don’t make eight or more 3-pointers in a game often, but when they do, they are 3-11, as opposed to 9-30… which barely makes a lick of difference, save for this night when Crawford went 3-for-4 and Martell Webster, in his return to Portland, went 4-for-6.

—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)

Key Legislature: Washington Wizards DC Council

Always Ready.

After starting the season 4-28, the Wizards have gone 5-2 in their last seven games, and the majority of the credit has gone to Bradley Beal and John Wall—and justifiably so. Beal has averaged 18 points in the month of January, and Wall has averaged 15.6 points, 7.6 assists, and has provided an immeasurable boost to the confidence of this team. But before the emergence of Beal and Wall, the Wizards depended on the erratic shooting of Jordan Crawford to stay competitive. In the first 31 games of the season, Crawford averaged a team-high 15.3 points, and as easy as it was to criticize his shot selection at times, as Crawford said on media day: “Who else was gon’ shoot?”
In the game against the Brooklyn Nets, Crawford scored 23 points, but his careless play on both ends of the floor cost the Wizards a victory, but since that game in early January, Crawford has failed to break double figures—whether it was his injured ankle or fractured confidence. Even in the first three quarters of Monday night’s game against the Blazers, Crawford was scoreless and had taken just one shot from the field in 10 minutes.
But after starting off the fourth quarter with an errant pass, which led to a 3-pointer by Blazers guard Ronnie Price, Crawford hit his first shot—a short nine-foot jumper—and heated up from there. He hit an 18-footer, followed by consecutive 3-pointers that extended the Wizards’ lead. To cap off his hot shooting fourth quarter, Crawford caught the ball with 3.6 seconds left in the game, faked right, took one dribble to his left, and drilled the game winning 3-pointer as time expired. He finished with 13 points, all in the fourth quarter, and he reminded everyone of the strength of his steez.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)

Council Members: Washington Wizards DC Council

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

Garrett Temple
This is what backup point guards are supposed to do: run the offense, get everyone involved and don’t fall in love with your own shot. Price fulfilled the first two items of his mission statement, though it can be argued that he failed on the third by going 2-for-7 on the night and 0-for-3 from downtown. However, any criticism of Price is mostly picking nits. He kept the team steady, did his best to frustrate breakout star Damian Lillard, and continues to bring enough to the table so that the Wizards can continue to slowly ease John Wall back into the offense. All in all, an average night at the office.

—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)

1.5 out of 3 stars

Bradley Beal
After putting together a great string of games, propelling himself back into the conversation of being a legitimate future piece and potential star, Bradley Beal crashed back to earth on Monday night in Portland. No biggie, these things happen. It just means he had to ride the the bench during crunch time. But that’s why he’s a rookie, and that’s why teams field a guy like Jordan Crawford who can score off the bench. Some may argue that Beal needs to play in such moments. But he already has (OKC game, anyone?), and Beal will get many more chances with the game on the line. Consider that sometimes it’s just as healthy to have to watch someone else be the hero. Because he certainly doesn’t want to be in that situation again.Beal finished with two points on 1-for-7 FGs (0-for-2 3Ps, 0-for-0 FTs) and five rebounds, one assist and two turnovers in 26 minutes. Beal started the third quarter with a careless turnover and then later shot an airball, leaving the television guys, Chenier and Buckhantz, openly wondering if Beal’s wrist was bothering him. Not long after, Beal got his only points of the game on a dunk and also drew a key charge. But the offense still wasn’t there, and he sat the entire fourth quarter (muted reaction to Crawford’s game-winner and all). Otherwise, no big worries here. Beal will bounce back.

Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

0.5 out of 3 stars

Martell Webster
It must burn a fanbase like the Trail Blazers who always seem to have a bevy of developing talent to see a past asset like Martell Webster come back and torch them in a revenge game. Webster played perhaps his best game of the season, tying his season high for points scored (22) and sinking four 3-pointers. He was assisted in large part by the Blazers defense, who failed to adapt to the fact that the Wizards were going to keep taking corner 3s until the Blazers made them stop. Webster made them pay by consistently drilling open shots and pulling the Wizards ahead in the third quarter. Webster now appears to have a stranglehold on the starting SF spot and if were not for Coach Randy Wittman’s need to play Trevor Ariza for his defense, he would be getting consistent crunch-time minutes.

—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)

3 out of 3 stars

After the first quarter of play, Nene had 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting, and the Washington Post‘s Michael Lee wondered if an 120-point night was in play. The usual scoring suspects named Beal, Wall and Crawford did not have the shooting touch early in the game, and Nene did an admirable job of picking up the slack. Nene only shot 2-for-7 and scored seven points the remainder of the game, which was just fine, since Martell Webster, Crawford and Okafor found their respective shooting touches in the last three quarters. As impressive as his first quarter shooting was, Nene’s two-man game with Webster was equally as impressive. Webster made it a point to cut to the basket when Nene had the ball, and as a result, four of Nene’s five assists were to Webster. He added nine rebounds and four steal to boot.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)

2.5 out of 3 stars

Emeka Okafor
Dare I say that Okafor is a welcome and key component to this team now? Without Big ‘Mek on defense, I’m not sure where the Wizards would be, but safe to say that they’d be much worse than 9-30. Sometimes the only laurel they could rest on this season has been passable defense, and now that guys are getting healthy and other parts are falling into place, Okafor’s defense is needed even more. But it wasn’t just D against the Blaze, Okafor scored 13 points on 6-for-11 shooting (1-for-4 on FTs … yuck), and took advantage of J.J. Hickson (and others) with a variety of grown-ass man moves. Okafor added 13 rebounds (four offensive), three assists and two turnovers to his tally on the evening. Unofficially, I will now recognize him as potentially worth $7.25 to $8.5 million a year (as opposed to the $13.5 he’s making now).

Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

2.5 out of 3 stars

John Wall
After playing one of his best games of his brief season against the Clippers on Saturday night, John Wall decided to play his worst game since his return. His passes were off, he seemed to be moving at 100 miles per hour, without checking to see if his teammates were keeping up with him, and his jump shot continued to be flat. In the fourth quarter, Wall played matador defense against rookie-of-the-year candidate Damian Lillard, and allowed him to score 12 points. Wall did get his revenge on Lillard via a steal that put the Wizards up 95-90 with 58.8 seconds left, but that, and a blindingly fast first quarter layup, were his only highlights. Wall deserves much of the blame for his erratic play, but Coach Wittman did him no favors in the first half by not playing him with Beal or Nene.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)

1 out of 3 stars

Jordan Crawford
Jordan Crawford has gotten plenty of attention already. Also, Wizards draft picks Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton and Jared Jeffries (now with Portland after all these years—10 of them) all received the “DNP – Coach’s Decision” in the stat book. So, other than Crawford and Wall, three Wizards saw action off the bench on Monday: Trevor Booker, Trevor Ariza and Kevin Seraphin.Ariza took some highly questionable shots (1-4 FGs), grabbed a couple of rebounds and added some defense. But otherwise, he shouldn’t return to the starting lineup anytime soon. Or ever. Booker continues to look undersized, overly lost on team defense, and doesn’t have a lot to offer in terms of offense. Seraphin, along with Booker, make quite the awful defensive combination—those two played seven minutes together, finished minus-6 in plus/minus, and allowed Portland to hit 7-of-13 shots (15 points) during that time. Kevin has elevated his play as of late. He’s now a cross between good paint intentions and unexpectedly smooth touch with a continued oblivious ability to hijack offensive possessions.

In any case, Jordan Crawford does get the 2.5 stars.

Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

2.5 out of 3 stars

The Mayor: Washington Wizards DC Council


Wittman damned the torpedoes and rolled out his best offensive unit in the fourth quarter, making the determination that it was better to go blow for blow with the Blazers rather than attempt to lock them down defensively. The result was that the last three minutes of the game resembled a prizefight, with each team taking their best shot at the opponent only to watch that opponent pick himself off the mat and land a hammer blow of his own. It was a gutsy decision by Wittman but one that was underscored by a nifty bit of coaching. Wittman had the team go repeatedly to Nene on the block in the fourth quarter, which forced the Blazers to sag on the big man and double him down low. This of course opened the window on Jordan Crawford time and the rest, as Steve Buckhantz would say, was “DAGGER!”

—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)

Adjourned: Washington Wizards DC Council

“I’m still here.” -#WittmanFace


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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.