DC Council Game 51: Wizards 85 at Pistons 96: Washington and #WittmanFace Sputter into All-Star Break | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council Game 51: Wizards 85 at Pistons 96: Washington and #WittmanFace Sputter into All-Star Break

Updated: February 15, 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. 51, Washington Wizards at Detroit Pistons; contributors: Conor DirksSean Fagan, and Kyle Weidie from behind the television screen.]

The Bill: Washington Wizards DC Council

#WittmanFace All Day!

Washington Wizards 85 at Detroit Pistons 96 [box score]

MVP: Emeka Okafor, It’s a tough pick because Okafor did little to hold Greg Monroe down during the course of the game, but when you go 10-for-15 from the floor and are the Wizard presence on the glass, you have to be doing something right. Okafor was silent in the fourth quarter (as in, he didn’t play), as the Wizards got away from the bruising interior play which had given them the lead through three quarters.

Stat of the Game: The Wizards have famous nemeses such as Lebron James or Gerald Wallace, both of whom are always spoken of bitterly within Wizards circles and for whom Wizards fans save a special ire for whenever they match up against the team from the D.C. There are also former Wizards who are held in low regard such as Kwame Brown or Andray Blatche—they will always be booed for what they failed to achieve during their time with the team. But the real nemeses of the Wizards are the players who always manage to have career nights against Washington—the Lou Williamses, the Janero Pargos—these are the players who always seem to have a little extra in the tank when it comes to playing the Wizards. Despite Washington’s best efforts, they never appear to game-plan for these players and the result always remains the same. At some point during the game, the aforementioned 6th or 7th player off the bench torches the Wiz Kids and leads his team to victory. For three to four years now, Will Bynum has been one of those players. Bynum always shows up when the Wizards least expect it, throws on a Superman cape, and proceeds to pick the Wizards apart. On Thursday, Bynum tore the Wizards apart with 12 fourth-quarter points, helping the Pistons outscore the Wizards 31-17 in the final period. I don’t know whether I’m more impressed that Bynum is still around to torture the Wizards, or that the Wizards keep allowing him to do it year after year. Like Groundhog’s Day, the experience with Will Bynum keeps repeating itself endlessly.

—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)

Key Legislature: Washington Wizards DC Council

What Was Wittman Thinking?

So Kevin Seraphin was once again fairly bad—2 points, 1-4 FGs, 3 rebounds, 2 turnovers in just under 13 minutes. His misses were horrible decisions and this season has clearly been a flat-line for him in terms of progression. But we can only come down so hard on the third-year player with a teenage girl’s infatuation with angel wings (yep, Seraphin’s got a huge tattoo of angel wings on his back)—his poor play was just a capsule of why the Wizards lost. Overall, the Wiz lacked effort and energy heading into the All-Star break from Detroit. They closed quarters poorly—Washington scored just five points in the last six minutes of the third while the Pistons scored 10. And Randy Wittman inexplicably went small in the fourth, when the Wizards were out-scored 31-17. Well, Wittman did have ‘some’ sort of explanation: that the Pistons went small and he just ‘had’ to as well, so it was either Nene or Emeka on the floor.

Actually, coach, the Pistons didn’t gothat small. Six fourth quarter minutes featured Charlie Villanueva next to Viacheslav Kravtsov, and five fourth quarter minutes featured Villanueva next to Greg Monore. To counter, Nene wasthe big at C for nine of 12 fourth quarter minutes; a Seraphin-anchored 5-man unit turned the ball over three times and missed three shots in its three minutes. So, Randy Wittman, are you really telling me that Nene could not have guarded-down to Villanueva? Sure, Charlie V would have extended Washington’s defense, but still… Bottom Line: Wittman’s decision failed. Detroit out-rebounded Washington 12-5 in the fourth and took the win.

—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
As a distributor, Wall was dynamic. On the night, he made two beautiful behind-the-back and pass moves that ended with Wizards buckets. With nine assists on the night, and without a basket until 3:20 left in the second quarter, it was clear that Wall’s focus was getting his teammates involved. A noble goal, to be sure, but when it was time for Wall to take over in the fourth quarter, he was completely out of sync in his own offense (4-for-11 shooting). Wall has a penchant for blocking shots and getting out on the break, epitomized by his block with 4:06 left in the third, after which he raced down the court in three seconds and drew a foul. Unfortunately, Jose Calderon and Will Bynum simply outplayed Wall, with 24 and 20 points, respectively, compared to Wall’s 16. Despite Detroit’s hot shooting, Wall failed to get a hand up on a key late-game 3 that helped the Pistons cement their dominance over Washington this season.

—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)

1.5 out of 3 stars

Garrett Temple
Temple scored the first basket of the first half, and the first basket of the second half.  Other than that,  there’s not a lot of good things to say: he lost Jose Calderon several times, allowing Calderon to heat up from beyond the arc (six 3s on the night); he turned it over badly with 10:30 left in the third, leading to a Detroit layup; he only played 14 minutes. Before the game, TAI mentioned that Temple’s eye-test-approved defense didn’t necessarily stand up to advanced analysis. In Detroit, Temple may have been plus-3, but those watching would tell you that Temple’s defense was poor. So, with even our eyes on the side of a switch in the starting lineup, will Wittman make a change? Perhaps Temple, and the team, would be better served with Garrett returning to the backup PG role, making more room for Washington’s two talented scoring guards to log minutes.

—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)

0.5 out of 3 stars

Martell Webster
The question isn’t whether Martell Webster had a good night, it’s whether the Wizards should have gone to him more throughout the game. With everyone outside of Okafor and Nene being cold on the the night, Webster was one of the few who appeared to have his stroke. But besides a late 3 to bring the Wizards back within eight, it was mostly a silent night for the Wizards’ starting small forward. He finished with nine points on five shots to go with three rebounds in 25 minutes.

—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)

1 out of 3 stars

So Nene finished with 10 points (5-for-9 FGs), two whole rebounds, four assists, two steals, two turnovers, a block, and two fouls in about 33 minutes. His plus/minus: minus-14. Doesn’t look good, but this box score has a couple excuses: 1) Nene’s presence is a big reason why Emeka Okafor was able to go off in the first half (Greg Monroe’s defense was also a reason); 2) Nene’s starting counterpart, Jason Maxiell, didn’t do much of anything. And maybe it’s games like this that George Karl was talking about when he said they had wanted Nene to “become more assertive and more demanding” in Denver. The Wizards were sluggish early, sluggish to end the second and third periods—plenty of this is also on John Wall—and the Wizards didn’t really try to pound the ball to Nene in the post until late. Or at least Nene wasn’t aggressive enough until late. Detroit’s interior defense was also solid.

And then there are the choice words of David Falk via the Washington Post’s Mike Wise:

“He’s not going to win on this team. He knows it. He doesn’t want to be here. By the time Washington is good, how old is Nene going to be?”

Not good to hear. But Falk, who was just a foolhardy blow-hard in his spitting of excrement (mostly about John Wall) to Wise, who simply was the toilet custodian conduit, should be taken with a grain of salt. Nene has a three-year window (contract-wise) and will be 31 heading into next season. Can the Wizards be contenders during that window? Certainly doesn’t seem likely on this very day, but you never know what could happen.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

1.5 out of 3 stars

Emeka Okafor
Sure, Big Emeka Okafor didn’t, from his island, defend Greg Monroe too well during portions of the game. But he also countered Monroe with a bit of the same offensive medicine. Through three quarter Okafor was pulling 20 points (10-for-15 FG) and nine rebounds. In the fourth quarters, as discussed, not a lick of playing time. I’m not going to rehash Randy Wittman’s decision in Okafor’s section because it would only take away from the refreshing resurgence of the player they call “Wikipedia.” He hit elbow J’s, he made composed post moves against Greg Monroe, he hit free throw line J’s—Okafor has become just about the best complement to Wall and Nene one can imagine. (Note: my imagination is currently very limited as I try to type this out.)

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

2 out of 3 stars

Bradley Beal

Bradley Beal on the court at the same time as John Wall is a good idea. Bradley checking in seven minutes into the first quarter doesn’t benefit the team, Wall, or Beal.  To wit, with Brad Beal on the court, John Wall has a higher FG%, takes more free throws, and dishes out more assists. And With Wall on the court, Beal shoots a much higher FG%, and a MUCH higher 3P%. The following numbers are all per 36 minutes:

  • Wall’s FG% with Beal on the court is 47% compared to 41% with him on the bench.
  • Beal’s FG% with Wall on the court is 42% compared to 39% with him on the bench.
  • Wall’s FT attempts are 8.6 per 36 with Beal compared to 4.2 with him on the bench.
  • Wall’s assists are at 10.3 per 36 with Beal compared to 8.2 with him on the bench.
  • Beal’s 3P% with Wall on the court is 48%. Without Wall? 34%.
  • With both Wall and Beal on the court, the Wizards are plus-10 in plus/minus.

Brad came off the bench again in Detroit, and it was a mixed bag. He missed his first two shots, nailed his next five, then missed his final six. With just under 4:00 left in the first half, Beal caught a pass from Wall and zipped it to Nene for a score and foul under the basket, and it was one of the prettiest plays of the season. Conversely, the Wizards offense during the last stretch was hard to watch, and Beal was complicit in that. Too often he received the ball on a swing out near the 3-point line, took a dribble-step back, and couldn’t find a good shot before the shot clock wound down. Sadly reminiscent of last year’s team.

—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)

1.5 out of 3 stars

Chris Singleton
Chris Singleton looked as confident as ever against the Pistons. He hit corner 3s, he chested up against and blocked Greg Monroe right under the rim, he flied in the paint for offensive rebounds, he played tough on-ball defense… Singleton even pulled a ball fake dribble drive pass. Then there was bad Chris—silly turnovers, contributions to bad offense, and forgetting that Charlie Villanueva is a Wizards-killer and letting him hit an open 3. You gotta play to get better—and I suppose the goal with Singleton is still ‘Bruce Bowen XL’—but he still has a long way to go. And even in his recent resurgence, he hasn’t shown enough to get excited about, in my opinion at least. In Detroit, Singleton put up a box score not really worth analyzing other than to assume he did some “little things” (again, good and bad). Otherwise, his play has likely earned him more future chances, as Singleton is a much more of a diverse defender than either Trevor Booker or Jan Vesely. So there’s that.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

1 out of 3 stars

The Mayor: Washington Wizards DC Council

Line Up, Everyone.

Many pixels have been breathlessly consumed on the decision to completely shut down Jordan Crawford. While the somewhat tyrannical experiment has worked on Chris Singleton, Steezus is a different player, a different personality. He has, so far, taken little exception to the various roles Wittman has asked him to play (point guard, starter, role player, 6th man). But bench warmer in his hometown, with the Detroit ladies looking on? C’mon, coach. On Wednesday night, however, the more direct cause for criticism was that Randy responded to a smaller Detroit lineup by going small himself. Okafor, after three excellent quarters, watched from the bench the entire fourth while Randy’s chosen boys squandered a lead, and then let the Pistons run away with it.

—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)

Adjourned: Washington Wizards DC Council

#WittmanFace for the road: Deuces


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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.