DC Council Game 41: Wizards 114 vs Timberwolves 101: Injured T-Wolves Put Down in DC | Truth About It.net

DC Council Game 41: Wizards 114 vs Timberwolves 101: Injured T-Wolves Put Down in DC

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Updated: January 26, 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. 41, Washington Wizards vs Minnesota Timberwolves; contributors: Rashad Mobley and John Converse Townsend from the Verizon Center, with Kyle Weidie from behind the television screen.]

The Bill: Washington Wizards DC Council

Bradley …

Beal.

Washington Wizards 114 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves 101 [box score]

MVP: Looking at the stat sheet, no Wizards’ numbers really stand out in particular. According to the optics, they played a team game against a struggling Timberwolves team, and Randy Wittman was able to clear his bench because of the scoring margin. Below the surface, this MVP award certainly goes to John Wall. He only scored 14 points on 6-for-10 shooting with five assists (two turnovers), but several of his makes were jumpers, and no one kept track of Wall’s hockey assist. Essentially: He made the Wizards tick, and he will likely continue to do so.

Stat of the Game: Going 8-for-17 from beyond the arc (47.1%) will certainly do the trick for Washington. In all the minutes (1,806) that John Wall has not been on the court this season, the Wizards average 19.5 3-point attempts per 48 minutes, making 6.5 (33.2%). For the 197 minutes that Wall has been on the court, Washington goes 7.3-for-15.8 from deep per 48 minutes (46.2%). So… take less 3s and make more of them; works for me. [source: NBA.com/stats]

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

Key Legislature: Washington Wizards DC Council

The Rook Delivers the Checkmate

With 5:55 left in the second quarter, the Wizards led the Timberwolves. With 4:27 left in that same quarter, the Wizards still led by the exact score. The dearth of scoring had nothing to do with either team’s ability to play stifling defense, and everything to do with careless, sloppy play—characteristics consistent with teams with a combined record of 26-53. During this 1:28 scoreless period, John Wall missed layups and committed turnovers, Nene missed two free throws and had turnovers of his own, and Trevor Ariza missed an ill-advised 3-pointer. More importantly, the Wizards inability to extend their lead allowed the shorthanded Timberwolves—despite their abysmal play—to stay close and gain confidence that they could indeed win the game. Wall finally broke the drought with a nine-footer off the glass, but the Timberwolves responded right away with two Chris Johnson free throws. The Wizards lead remained at five, 47-42. That completely changed when this guy entered the game: 

First, Beal drove right around Dante Cunningham, scored the basket and drew the foul. Then he hit a 3-pointer with an assist from John Wall, he made a technical free throw and he ended his dominant 64-second stretch with a block of Luke Ridnour (it wasn’t as flashy as this block, but it served its purpose). The Wizards lead went from five to 12 during that span, and they went into halftime with a 60-46 lead, which all but crushed the Timberwolves’ chances. John Wall gave the Wizards a boost tonight with his first start of the season, but Beal was the game changer on this night.

—Rashad Mobley (@rashad20)

Council Members: Washington Wizards DC Council

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

John Wall
“It was time for Wall to be back in the starting lineup,” Randy Wittman said after the game. “He’s the starter, he’s the point guard of our team.” But anyone who was tuned into the Wizards’ pre-game layup line knew Wall was ready to go well before he put up 14 points on 10 shots, adding five assists, two turnovers, and two blocks. At one point, Wall charged at the basket and took flight, double-pumping before finishing a rim-rocking reverse slam. Highlight reel stuff throughout. As for the game…He had a decent debut as the starting point, losing points for indifferent transition defense and getting stuck in the mud on a few Ricky Rubio crossovers, but Wall took what he wanted on most possessions. And sometimes more, as described by the Washington Post’s Michael Lee:

Nene saved a loose ball under the Minnesota Timberwolves’ basket and never had to bother running after tossing a pass ahead to John Wall at midcourt. After catching the pass, Wall found an extra gear, avoided a reach-in by Dante Cunningham, did a pirouette around Ricky Rubio, dipped past Derrick Williams and flipped an underhanded, no-look shot off the glass that even he could not explain.

“I didn’t even know what I was doing there,” Wall said.

How ’bout his jumpah? you ask.

He shot 3-for-4 on 2-pointers beyond 10 feet against the T-Wolves, bringing his season total to 14-for-36 (38.88%). Last season, Wall shot 31.65% from that range, and 31.06% as a rookie. Keep in mind 36 shots is a pretty small sample size—Wall took 367 2s beyond 10 feet in 2010-11 and 357 in ’11-’12. But if Wall keeps it up… Kevin Arnovitz told a few of us D.C. TrueHoopers today that when Wall is finally able to force defenders to defend him over the screen, as a shooting threat, the floor will open up and make Wall’s job so much easier.

He has a long way to go, but so far, Wall is knocking down long-2s at a higher rate than teammates Martell Webster (35.59%) and Bradley Beal (35.64%). He’s also doing it better than ESPN’s NBA Top 25 Under 25 stars James Harden (35.48%), Paul George (37.07%) and midrange ace Russell Westbrook (37.28%).

Pair consistent jump shooting with explosive athleticism, look out. You’re playing with a WMD.

—John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)

2 out of 3 stars

Bradley Beal
Bradley Beal is a tough kid, that’s for sure. So, no need to regale any more stories about how he was banged around by his football-playing brothers on the basketball court at the Y as a youth—and how his mom would set the whole arrangement up. What’s worth a continued mention is Beal’s sneaky athleticism. Early in the third quarter Nene committed a bad pass turnover. Luke Ridnour nabbed the steal and jetted the other way for what appeared to be an uncontested layup in the making. Beal took off the other way, too. The result: a chase-down block against the glass. Steve Buckhantz thought John Wall had made the block and said as much over the television. Nope, it was Beal, who immediately trotted back to the other end to nail an open midrange jumper. Shortly thereafter, Beal could be seen visibly bothered by his wrist/forearm; he appeared to bang it against the glass on the chase-down block. But the kiddo toughed it out and stayed in the game. He finished with 16 points on 6-for-11 shooting, 2-for-5 from long distance, in his 25 minutes. Beal only grabbed one rebound, but we’ll be forgiving since he picked up four blocks.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

2 out of 3 stars

Martell Webster
Two Wizards staffers were talking in the Wizards media room prior to last night’s game, and the first one remarked how well the Wizards’ pieces seemed to come together on the recent road trip. The second one observed that players like Martell Webster, Trevor Ariza, A.J. Price, and Jordan Crawford could stop carrying the offense, and settle into their rightful roles as supportive players. Martell Webster’s performance against the T-Wolves was a perfect example of this. With Wall, Beal and Nene in the starting lineup, Webster didn’t have to force drives or bad shots, he could just take his turn, wait for a kick out and nail the open shot.

Asked after the game about the difference in his game, playing in a complete rotation, Webster answered, “Playing with a rhythm.”"One of the things that I pride myself on is defense,” he said. “When I get into a rhythm defensively, that carries over on the offensive end. So me not really hunting any shots, or trying to make anything happen, rather than letting the game come to me is the most important thing for me.”Webster shot 5-of-7 from the field—3-of-4 from 3-point range—and finished with 13 points (eight of which came in the third quarter). He was effective, but no flashy, which is right where he needs to be.

Rashad Mobley (@rashad20)

2 out of 3 stars

Nene
Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Love were both out with injuries which should have cleared the way for Nene’s dominance in the paint. Nene did his part by scoring 14 points (12 in the first and third quarter), and he shot an efficient 67 percent (6-of-9) from the field. But in what is becoming a disturbing trend, Nene continues browbeat the referees with his body language when calls aren’t made in his favor. Nene had every right to be upset in the first quarter, when the undersized Derrick Williams and Greg Stiemsma seemed to hack him on every play, but the referees clearly did agree. On the defensive end of the floor, Nene was able to rest and play free safety, with the Minnesota’s lack of a real post threat—although Nene’s matchup with the younger, more athletic Williams was comical to watch. The Wizards won and victories ultimately trump individual performances, but Nene’s petulance was a factor last night.

—Rashad Mobley (@rashad20)

1.5 out of 3 stars

Emeka Okafor
Eight points, eight rebounds, four assists, two steals, a block, and three turnovers in 24 minutes—not many complaints from me about Okafor’s night. It was a 13-point, run-away Wizards win, after all. The turnovers aren’t ideal, and Okafor seems to see passing lanes which aren’t there sometimes, but he stays around the rim, especially for offensive boards, and most importantly, he’s won’t get the team beat. And I guess that’s all a Wizards fan can really ask for.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

2 out of 3 stars

Kevin Seraphin
Seraphin got his first bit of PT at the end of the first quarter. He went 1-for-4 from the field, and fouled Andrei Kirilenko, who made one of two from the line, and by the end of the period, Seraphin was minus-7 in plus/minus. It was a bit better from there, but disappointing in the end: 10 points, two rebounds, one assist, one steal, and four turnovers in 15 minutes before fouling out the game.

John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)

1 out of 3 stars

Chris Singleton
Chris Singleton was finally let out of the doghouse he’s been locked in since Christmas. He played the final three minutes of the game, the most playing time he’s been allowed in nearly two weeks. What’d he do on the floor? He was credited with an assist for a Jordan Crawford 3-pointer, aaaand he tried to posterize Lou Amundson, but missed the dunk, and then missed both free throws.

John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)

1 out of 3 stars

The Mayor: Washington Wizards DC Council

Picture Perfect vs. Big Picture

Vegas had the Wizards -6 (yeah, favored), but before the game, I leaned over to Rashad and predicted the Wiz were going to run the Timberwolves out of the arena. It didn’t quite happen that way—the ‘Wolves had 22 offensive rebounds to the Wizards’ six and had 33 tries from the free throw line—but it was never really as close as the score, even in the first half.

With favorable match-ups across the board, Ol’ Randy Wittman just had to do was sit back, relax, and watch the buckets pile up. And did they ever. The Wizards scored 60 first-half points, which tied a season-high for points in a half. They led by season-high 14, and it seemed like every shot was falling. At the final buzzer, the Wizards, the team that’s had a vice grip on the worst FG% in the league, shot 57.8 percent from the field, another season-high, and 58.8 percent from 3.

That six-point spread? Doubled, and more. The win meant double-digit wins for the season, too. You have to feel for Terry Porter, who must have felt like Randy Wittman did around Thanksgiving.No Pekovic, no Shved, No Love. It’s hard to win without your studs.

A Kevin Love fan in section 202 had a sign he proudly held above his head at every opportunity. “STAY STRONG WOLVES,” it read on the front. “It’s NoT about This game,” scribbled on the back.

Asked after the game about the Wizards terrible, but no-long-last-place record, Wittman said, “If you had told me we’d play half of them without our top players, I might say ‘Give me 10-31.’

“Our focus to these guys was to hang in there, it’s going to turn,” he said. “It’s going to turn your way if you keep believing, keep fighting.”

John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)

Adjourned: Washington Wizards DC Council

John to Jan, because of course