DC Council Game 44: Wizards 84 at Sixers 92: Cheese and Steak'd in Philly | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council Game 44: Wizards 84 at Sixers 92: Cheese and Steak'd in Philly

Updated: January 31, 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. 44, Washington Wizards at Philadelphia 76ers; contributors: Conor Dirks, Sean Fagan and Rashad Mobley from the comfort of their own homes.]

The Bill: Washington Wizards DC Council

Skittles … ’cause losing tastes like ass


Washington Wizards 84 at Philadelphia 76ers 92 [box score]

MVP: In the first four minutes of the second quarter, Lavoy Allen had six points (on 3-for-3 shooting) and three rebounds, as the Sixers went from trailing by three to winning by four. The Sixers never trailed in the game again. Allen ended up shooting 70 percent (7-for-10) with 14 points and six rebounds in just 21 minutes of play, and the Wizards didn’t have anyone to match his level of energy.

Stat of the Game: The Wizards shot 3-of-16 (18 percent) with 11 points and six turnovers in the second quarter. More importantly, John Wall, the star and game changer of the team, played 5:09 in that second quarter and did not shoot at all. Garrett Temple, who was filling for the injured Bradley Beal (wrist), played 5:43 and he also did not attempt a shot. Jan Vesely didn’t attempt a shot during his 4:39 second quarter stint, but of course, that’s nothing unusual.

—Rashad Mobley (@rashad20)

Key Legislature: Washington Wizards DC Council

Ground Control to Coach Wittman

It’s always a shame to interrupt a brief honeymoon, but after the glimmer of hope offered by John Wall’s return, the Wizards have started hurtling back towards Earth and are burning up upon reentry. Discouragingly, all the good habits the Wizards appeared to pick up have disappeared back into the ether—the same problems that have maligned the team the entire year have popped up again like a wart. Terrible turnover ratio? Check. Poor perimeter defense? Double check. Inability to hit a jumpshot and generally confusing coaching decisions? Check. Check. Check.
Games like this happen in the NBA but they seem to happen to the Wizards on a more frequent basis. January and February are the doldrums of the league schedule, and it’s exactly the time that the Wizards should be jumping on teams that have taken their feet off the gas pedal. Instead, the Wizards are fully stuck in reverse.

—Sean Fagan (@mccarrick)

Council Members: Washington Wizards DC Council

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

John Wall
It’s hard not to compare John Wall to newly-anointed All-Star Jrue Holiday. Holiday, in his third year, has improved steadily, buttressing the potential that saw him drafted 17th overall in the 2009 NBA Draft. At this point in Wall’s career, beaten-down and cynical Washington fans would probably exult in a Jrue-like jump in play. But the Wizards coaches haven’t been able to remedy a few fatal-ish flaws in Wall’s game in the time since he was drafted first overall in 2010. This game put a few on display: John can’t hit a jumper consistently and he can’t seem to adapt to shifting defenses with speed change. This was the story when he was drafted, and his game hasn’t evolved in concert with expectations. This team has a development staff, right?

Wall started strong. With six minutes to go in the first, he raced up the court and snuck in a layup between three defenders. Then, the Game Changer hustled back on defense and played a passing lane well, picking off Jrue Holiday. Unfortunately, that level of play wasn’t sustained. Wall was 3-for-12 from the field (2-for-6 from around the basket, 1-for-6 from elsewhere) and gave the ball away almost as many times as he fed his teammates for buckets (five turnovers, six assists). But then, he does something special and we scratch our chins, dare to dream, and circle back to talk about his lofty “ceiling.”

—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)

1 out of 3 stars

Garrett Temple
There is really no way to avoid the elephant in the room: Garrett Temple was inept on offense last night in Bradley Beal’s stead. During the first quarter, save for a 18-foot jumper, Temple was an outsider during the Wizards’ offensive possessions, and his teammates did not even pass him the ball—a feeling that both he and Jordan Crawford seemed to share last night. Temple made up for his anemic offense by playing aggressive on-ball defense. In the second quarter, Evan Turner tried every change-of-direction dribble known to man, but Temple did not budge, and Turner missed a contested shot. In the third quarter, Temple harassed Nick Young by fighting over every screen and not letting Young create the space he needed to get his shot off.  Later that same quarter, he had an impressive block of Jrue Holiday’s layup attempt.  Unfortunately, great defense plus non-existent offense from Temple does not add up to Beal.

—Rashad Mobley (@rashad20)

1 out of 3 stars

Martell Webster
Webster took nine 3-pointers Wednesday night and completed a paltry three of his attempts. If he was Jordan Crawford, we would be excoriating him for his shot jacking, but Webster’s shots come from within the offensive sets, so you can’t look to harshly upon his selection, though the Wizards may have wanted to get the ball to someone else when Webster was so obviously cold. Less impressive was Webster’s rebound total of two and his four turnovers. It was a sloppy, mistake-filled game for Webster, and one in which it may have behooved Coach Randy Wittman to brush the dust off of Chris Singleton.

Sean Fagan (@mccarrick)

1 out of 3 stars

In 12 December games, Nene shot a respectable 52 percent on just over eight shots per game, and he took almost seven free throws per contest as well. Nene’s minutes and attempts increased (four more minutes, two more attempts) in January, but his make percentage dropped to 44 percent for the month, and his point total suffered as well. Nene also only got to the line half as often in the first month of 2013. More and more, the Wizards offense is being run through their frontcourt. Attempts by Okafor and Nene are up, while they are down drastically for December’s attempt champion, Jordan Crawford.In critical situations in each of the last two games, the Wizards have left Nene on his own island with the ball, and he has turned it over in spectacular fashion (shout-out to Tom Hanks in Castaway!).

Even on non-turnover possessions, this lonely post-up play hasn’t yielded good results. Early in the game, with 7:23 left in the first quarter, Nene picked his spot as Wall urged Okafor to clear out. Nene caught the ball, made a few “power” moves to the hoop, and then had his shot, which never had much of a chance, blocked by two Sixers players. Nene played more minutes than any other Wizard in Philadelphia, and he had a decent stat line (in terms of tonnage) to show for it. Sixteen points and eight rebounds (but three turnovers) is nice enough production, but what doesn’t show in the stat line is that offensive possessions are dying far too young while Nene holds the ball out and looks over his shoulder at opposing defenders.

—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)

1.5 out of 3 stars

Emeka Okafor
Early in the first quarter, it looked like the 6-foot-10 Okafor was going to be overpowered by the 7-foot-1 Spencer Hawes. First, Hawes blocked his shot, then he jumped right over Okafor’s back for a rebound. But No. 50 quickly recovered and actually outplayed Hawes (Okafor returned the favor by blocking Hawes shot toward the end of the first quarter) on both ends of the floor by finishing with 15 points and 17 rebounds—his third straight game with at least 15 points and 15 rebounds. In the dreadful second quarter, when the Wizards went 3:39 without a basket, and 5:49 without a field goal, it was Okafor who broke the drought with two straight baskets. Unfortunately, when the Wizards had a chance to cut the Sixers’ lead to five points with 2:20 left in the game, Okafor was the guy who missed a layup, much to John Wall’s chagrin.

—Rashad Mobley (@rashad20)

2 out of 3 stars

Jordan Crawford
On a night when former Washington first-rounder Nick “The Cuddler” Young did his best Jordan Crawford impression (18 points, four assists, four rebounds), it would have been nice for the Prince of Steez to make more than a perfunctory appearance on the court. Something is going on with Jordan Crawford since we rang in the New Year: he is playing 13 minutes less per game and taking nine less shots per game. The return of John Wall has suppressed Crawford’s production significantly. Since Bradley Beal didn’t suit up for last night’s game, it was inexcusable that Coach Wittman didn’t make an effort to work the artist formerly known as the Wizards leading scorer into his game plan. Crawford took one CRAZY bad shot with 7:20 left in the second quarter and was unceremoniously yanked moments later. All in all, only three points in seventeen minutes for Crawford, as Temple took most of Beal’s minutes. A team like the Wizards needs scorers, and relegating one as dynamic as Crawford to the bench is a questionable decision. At times, this game was within reach, and Crawford should have been a candidate to close that gap.

—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)

0 out of 3 stars

Trevor Ariza
Hey! It’s Trevor Ariza! With a pulse! And playing defense!

—Sean Fagan (@mccarrick)

Automatic 2 out of 3 stars

The Mayor: Washington Wizards DC Council

Another Failure from the Man in Charge

Coach Wittman chose Garrett Temple and not Jordan Crawford to start in place of Bradley Beal last night. His reasoning? He wanted to maintain the bench’s firepower, while not altering the Beal-less offense at all. Wittman shouldn’t be lambasted for making that decision, because it was clear he put some thought in his plan. But when Temple did not score, and when Crawford was clearly affected by the decision, Wittman needed to make adjustments, and he did not.
Of course it didn’t help that Nick Young, the man who used occupy Crawford’s spot as the Wizards’ streaky shooter, was in the starting lineup. If Wittman wanted to keep the offensive continuity, why not start Crawford, who like Beal, is a threat to score and can run the floor? If Temple had scored 15 or 20 points last night, Wittman would have looked like a genius. But Temple scored two, Crawford’s feelings looked hurt, the Wizards scored just 11 points in the second quarter, and even Wall’s play was uneven—this loss is on the coach.

—Rashad Mobley (@rashad20)

Adjourned: Washington Wizards DC Council

John Wall’s “Block of the Night”

Sean Fagan on FacebookSean Fagan on Twitter
Sean Fagan
Reporter / Writer/Gadfly at TAI
Based in Brooklyn, NY, Sean has contributed to TAI since the the dawn of Jan Vesely and has been on the Wizards beat since 2008. His work has been featured on ESPN, Yahoo and SI.com. He still believes that Mike Miller never got a fair shot.