DC Council Game 45: Wizards 76 at Grizzlies 85: Coming Down With The Memphis City Blues | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council Game 45: Wizards 76 at Grizzlies 85: Coming Down With The Memphis City Blues

Updated: February 2, 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. 45, Washington Wizards at Memphis Grizzlies; contributors: Rashad Mobley, Adam Rubin and Kyle Weidie from the comfort of their own homes.]

The Bill: Washington Wizards DC Council

Spare Me.

With 1:37 left and the Wizards down 80-72, Memphis having just gotten an offensive rebound, Comcast went black. Only poor audio was available. What we heard: John Wall missing a close layup and Tayshaun Prince making a subsequent jumper to put the Grizzlies up 10, the first time the margin reached double-digits all game. But no, Buckhantz didn’t say “backbreaker”—he knew it was already over. The broadcast returned as Martell Webster hit a layup with a minute left to bring the Wizards within eight, and then the Wizards cut it to six with 34 seconds left. But that’s all they had.

Washington Wizards 76 at Memphis 85 [box score]

MVP: Tayshaun Prince (by default). Nobody from either team played especially well, but someone needs to win the award. Making his Memphis debut, Prince hit his first three shots then played the role of closer with two jumpers in the final minutes to seal the victory. Prince did not really do anything else, but the MVP bar was set pretty low last night. Coming in a close second was Comcast SportsNet’s technical difficulties, which lost video feed for about a minute at the end of the game, mercifully sparing fans from witnessing at least a portion of this debacle.

Stat of the Game: After an impressive first quarter fueled by multiple steals and transition baskets, this game got real ugly, real fast. And nothing says ugly like a nearly eight-minute scoring drought in the second quarter (from 11:05 to 3:07) during which the Wizards missed 14 consecutive shots. Remarkably, Memphis only caught up nine points during that stretch, trimming Washington’s 11-point lead to two. It was that kind of night.

—Adam Rubin (@LedellsPlace)

Key Legislature: Washington Wizards DC Council

Take Two

That second quarter was a mother. The Wizards scored just 10 points, John Wall sprained his shoulder, and Steve Buckhantz begrudgingly observed this:

“Wizards have reverted to their old ways of not passing the basketball, they’ve done it now for the third straight game.”

The Wizards have scored just 21 points over the last two (two!) second quarters. (Yes, remember the 11 points in Philly?)

The culprits? Basically any combination featuring Jordan Crawford, Trevor Ariza and Kevin Seraphin, who have shot a combined 6-for-46 over the last two second quarters with just one (made) free throw to show for it. Ariza has been minus-17 in 17 minutes, Crawford minus-12 in 17 minutes, Seraphin minus-11 in 12 minutes, and let’s not forget John Wall, minus-11 in eight minutes over second quarters in Philadelphia and Memphis.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

Council Members: Washington Wizards DC Council

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

John Wall
The good news is John Wall is healthy despite sustaining an awkward hit to the shoulder in the second quarter. The bad news, and what is of more concern, is the stagnation in Wall’s game. Wall did hit a few open jumpers, but his passes weren’t crisp, and he wasn’t confident in the offense (via scoring, passing or getting into the lane), and the result was yet another putrid scoring performance from his team. On defense, Mike Conley was able to get around Wall with no problem. He also had trouble keeping up with Jerryd Bayless, which lead Bullets Forever to tweet this. It wasn’t clear whether Wall was injured or if Coach Wittman lost faith in him, but Wall sat for all but three minutes of the fourth quarter, and did nothing but commit three fouls. His jumper looked a little less broken, and he did hit his first 3-pointer of the season. But Wall’s troubles seem to have little to do with rust, injury or being shape, and everything to do with mental breakdowns.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)

1 out of 3 stars

Garrett Temple
Garrett Temple actually played a decent game. Half of his 18 minutes came in the first quarter, with Washington holding a three point lead when he went to the bench. As expected, he did not contribute much on offense but had three steals that led to five first-quarter points. The bottom line is Temple is not an ideal backcourt mate for John Wall because he can neither space the floor and hit spot-up jumpers nor create his own shot off the dribble. However, this is more an indictment of Ernie Grunfeld’s roster construction than Temple’s skill set.

—Adam Rubin (@LedellsPlace)

1.5 out of 3 stars

Martell Webster
Matching up against defensive tough guys like Tony Allen is never easy. Good defensive players are actively dirty, and often deceptively strong. And that pretty much threw Martell Webster off his night, amongst other team-wide issues. The guy Jordan Crawford says could use a boost in the “Steez” department pulled down zero rebounds, had one steal, one assist, and one turnover in 34 minutes. Webster scored eight points on 3-for-8 shooting, 2-for-6 from deep; when he wasn’t shooting, he was a ghost. Tony Allen, meanwhile, was more active: 11 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals, one block, four turnovers. There was also Tayshaun Prince’s night—looks like the Grizzlies don’t need Rudy Gay to win the battle at the 3 spot over the Wizards. But hey, Webster still leads the Wizards in eFG% (.537), and has appeared in 44 of 45 games, staying healthy and continuing to dunk despite taking some tough falls along the way.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

0.5 out of 3 stars

Although Emeka Okafor is the one who has been hot the last few games, Nene had the bulk, the offensive pedigree, and physicality to give the Grizzlies frontline of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph some serious trouble. But in 33 minutes, Nene did not get to the line, and he did not put any pressure on Gasol or Randolph (they had one personal foul each), and at no point did he establish the kind of dominance that he showed so prominently in the month of December. Wall, Beal and Okafor have bailed him out this month, but tonight it was Nene’s turn to show up and he did not. Defensively, he did an effective job at neutralizing the scoring of Gasol and Randolph, and he had a big steal in the fourth quarter, which would have led to a tie game, if Trevor Ariza had not taken a horrible looking shot. Nene finished with 14 points on 16 shots, four rebounds and six assists.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)

1.5 out of 3 stars

Emeka Okafor
Emeka cooled off a bit tonight with eight points, 10 rebounds and no blocks on 4-for-9 shooting as he and Nene were overpowered by the Grizzlies’ frontcourt of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. However, the fact that eight points and 10 rebounds is now considered a disappointing line from Emeka is a testament to how dominant he has been lately. Okafor played 35 minutes despite picking up five fouls and has established himself as a consistent rebounding and defensive presence in the paint—the anti—Seraphin, if you will.

—Adam Rubin (@LedellsPlace)

1 out of 3 stars

Jordan Crawford
Crawford is nowhere near the form he showed a little over a week ago, when he hit a game-winning shot to defeat the Portland Trail Blazers on the road. Conversely, his upbeat attitude and willingness to engage in the offense with his teammates in Memphis was a far cry from Wednesday’s game against the Sixers, when Crawford appeared to mail it in because he wasn’t in the starting lineup. Against the Grizzlies he played a team-high 10:18 in the second quarter, shot five times, and did not score a single point—almost unthinkable for a player of with his prowess as a scorer. He shares the blame for the Wizards’ scoring droughts, along with Wall, Beal’s absence and Nene.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)

1 out of 3 stars

Trevor Ariza
Trevor Ariza is either OK or quite terrible. For the most part this season it’s been the latter, and this game in Memphis epitomized it all. He was the glowing wart of second-quarter futility when he launched shots as if the aliens were about to land on earth and bring him back to planet Bricktron (also see the GIF below). With the Wizards hanging around late, Ariza’s play blew it. Midway through the fourth quarter, Washington was down 74-70 with a chance to get even closer. But nope, Ariza committed a space cadet travel in the lane as tried to fake a pass to Emeka Okafor and kept on going. Have I mentioned that Ariza travels a lot?

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

0 out of 3 stars

The Mayor: Washington Wizards DC Council

Holding out for a hero

If Wittman deserved praise for the Wizards’ improved offensive efficiency in the first eight games of John Wall’s return, then he certainly deserves blame for the team’s recent return to the much-maligned hero ball. One bad game can be excused, but this has now become a trend. Even the ever-optimistic Steve Buckhantz could not help himself last night, exclaiming in the second quarter, “The Wizards have reverted to their old ways of not passing the basketball. They’ve done it now for the third straight game.”

The good news is the Wizards’ players and coaches will be attending a free clinic on passing and cutting tonight in San Antonio. Let’s hope they take notes.

—Adam Rubin (@LedellsPlace)

Adjourned: Washington Wizards DC Council

Trevor Ariza: Have ball, will launch.

Trevor Ariza launches the ball over A.J. Price’s head into the stands. The best part is A.J. trying to convince the ref that it was deflected while Ariza jogs straight back down the court.

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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.

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