DC Council Game 55: Wizards 90 at Raptors 84: Scratching and Crawling to a Win in Canada, Eh? | Truth About It.net

DC Council Game 55: Wizards 90 at Raptors 84: Scratching and Crawling to a Win in Canada, Eh?

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Updated: February 27, 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. 55, Washington Wizards at Toronto Raptors; contributors: Adam Rubin and Conor Dirks from the United States of America.]

The Bill: Washington Wizards DC Council

John and Coach Randy

Washington Wizards 90 at Toronto Raptors 84 [box score]

MVP: Bradley Beal, leading the Wizards with 20 points (on 8-for-13 shooting), six tough rebounds, two assists, and a steal.

Stat of the Game: Washington came into the game shooting 43 percent from the field overall and 35.3 percent from 3-point land. Somewhat perplexing in Canada, Washington shot 42 percent overall and 58.3 percent (7-12) from deep, with key contributions to that 3-point average from Beal, Price and Webster. That difference in 3P% was the key to outscoring the Raptors, who shot 26.9 percent from 3. It is satisfying to see the team operate more like one that belongs in the National Basketball Association: when forcing it down low wasn’t working in the first quarter, the Wizards adapted by finding more outside shooters and continued to adjust their game to take advantage of what was working. The scoring by quarter? 17, 23, 23, 27.

—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)

Key Legislature: Washington Wizards DC Council

Not Your Father’s Wizards

This game was ugly and difficult to watch for most of the night. Sort of like a lot of Wizards games over the past few years. But, unlike those other games, which inevitably ended with a depressing loss, Washington built an early lead and held onto it all game. One sequence in particular shows why this team might have finally turned a corner—or at least is headed in the right direction.

With around four minutes left in the third quarter, Toronto went on an 11-2 run, capped by a Kyle Lowry 3-pointer, to tie the game. This is where the Wizards-of-old would have folded. But not tonight. There was no panic, not even a timeout. Instead, Wall calmly walked the ball up the court, waited for Booker to set a back screen for Beal, then floated a pass to the corner, which Beal caught and shot in one fluid motion for an easy 3. Booker hit two free throws on the next possession to extend the lead to five and Toronto never got any closer the rest of the game.

—Adam Rubin (@LedellsPlace)

Council Members: Washington Wizards DC Council

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

John Wall
Kittens and angel wings are going to be in short supply if John Wall doesn’t fix his jumper. Wall shot 3-for-11 from the field, but only 1-for-7 on jumpers. Several of those misses were pull-up fadeaways after languorously dribbling out the shot clock. Wall missed much of the first half due to foul trouble, and he may have been thrown into Randy’s doghouse for a period in the second half while A.J. Price saw extended minutes. However, the “Game Changer” had another high-assist (7), low-turnover (1) outing, and he showed poise cutting to the basket for a layup in crunch time.After the game, Wall filled in Michael Lee on his motivation for attempting a layup after so many bricked outside shots: “The play before that, I shot a fadeaway and I saw Coach Witt’s face and he was about to go crazy.” We know that #Wittmanface all too well.

 —Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)

1.5 out of 3 stars

Bradley Beal
Bradley Beal was the best player on the court in Toronto. It wasn’t just his efficient scoring (20 points on 8-13 FG, 2-3 3P) but his aggression, confidence and hustle plays, all of which do not show up in the box score. For instance, with 1:37 left in the fourth quarter and Washington clinging to a six-point lead, Kyle Lowry blocked Wall’s jumper, triggering what should have been a Toronto fast break. Instead, Beal jumped in front of Amir Johnson and tied him up, forcing a jump-ball. Toronto won the tip but was unable to convert in the half court, essentially sealing the game. It is plays like this (and his huge offensive rebound to end the Houston game) that have fans excited about Beal’s future.

—Adam Rubin (@LedellsPlace)

3 out of 3 stars

Martell Webster
Martell Webster’s contributions to the offense have been increasingly steady and increasingly efficient over the past few months. Why? Because Martell does several things very, very well. According to mysynergysports.com, Webster came into the game in the top 25 of the NBA in points per spot-up jumper (24th) and off-screen attempt (11th). However, Rudy Gay, since coming to Toronto, has defended the spot-up jumper extremely well (8th) while ranking 10th in the NBA in points per isolation possession. Webster’s less voluminous style of play (no dictionary pun intended) won the day, as Webster shot 4-for-8 (2-for-3 from deep) and held Gay (with help from double-teams) to the worst shooting performance of his career (1-11 FGs). Other than a dumb foul to stop the clock and let the Raptors shoot free throws with fewer than two minutes on the clock, Webster played strong, under-the-radar basketball.

—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)

2.5 out of 3 stars

Nene
It seemed like Nene wanted to score early but nothing was working for him. After the first six minutes, he was 0-for-4 with three turnovers in the paint. Except for the five straight points he scored in the fourth quarter to extend the lead from seven to 12, he never got anything going offensively, finishing with 11 points, nine rebounds, three assists and five turnovers. In fairness to Nene, he was not alone in his struggles—Washington shot 42 percent and Toronto shot 36.7 percent. It was just an ugly game all-around.

 —Adam Rubin (@LedellsPlace)

1 out of 3 stars

Emeka Okafor
Maybe it was the elbow delivered to his jaw by Jonas Valanciunas just two minutes into the game, but “Big Mek” was off. He took nine shots in the first quarter, made three, and was a poster child (29%) for the brutal shooting which plagued the Wizards and held them to 42% shooting as a team on the night. The Wizards game-planned away from Okafor later in the contest, realizing how much trouble he and Nene were having with Toronto’s length. Valanciunas, Amir Johnson, and Andrea Bargnani (8-23 shooting) also struggled to score, which is a credit to Okafor and Nene. “Wikipedia” also contributed 13 rebounds, two assists, and a rare steal. Emeka’s best play of the night came at the end of a brutal first quarter of basketball: Webster caught the rebound of an Amir Johnson miss with 5.2 seconds remaining, rushed up court with AJ Price and Okafor running ahead, and laid it off to Price at the three-point line. Price quickly found Okafor beating his man to the hoop, and Big Mek finished with a dunk, leaving 0.3 on the clock.

—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)

1 out of 3 stars

AJ Price
John Wall didn’t have it tonight. After picking up his second foul with 3:59 left in the first quarter (because he didn’t box out Kyle Lowry), Wall took an extended rest on the bench. Enter A.J. Price. He played with energy and scored efficiently on 5-of-9 shooting with two 3-pointers. The rest of his box score was not pretty, with four turnovers and only three assists, but this was a game where the stats do not tell the whole story. The offense just ran more smoothly with Price on the court—and Wittman noticed. Even though Wall did not pick up another foul after the first quarter, Wall and Price each played 24 minutes. Perhaps Price’s biggest contribution was in the first minute of the fourth quarter when Toronto threatened to erase Washington’s nine-point lead. Price answered a Terrence Ross 3-pointer with a tough leaner off the glass, then he answered a Rudy Gay uncontested dunk with a pull-up 3.

—Adam Rubin (@LedellsPlace)

3 out of 3 stars

Trevor Booker
With Kevin Seraphin replacing the recently excommunicated Jordan Crawford (who replaced Chris Singleton) in Randy Wittman’s “Making a Point” DNP-CD funhouse, minutes have opened up for Trevor Booker. Unfortunately for everyone, the Cook Book’s signature hard-nosed defense was ineffective against Toronto. He struggled all night keeping up with screen-and-rolls, and got outworked on several occasions when going for a rebound. On the year, Booker has an eFG% of .310 on jump shots, so it was curious that he attempted four shots of that type against Toronto (although the ball did find its way into his hands with little time on the shot clock on a couple possessions). Booker made one of his jumpers, and it was key: a 21-footer with 0:29 to play in the first quarter, with Toronto on a 5-0 run and starting to pull away from a Wizards squad that couldn’t buy a bucket. Playing 25 total minutes, Booker scored eight points (3-for-9 from the field) and grabbed six rebounds (three offensive).

 —Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)

1.5 out of 3 stars

The Mayor: Washington Wizards DC Council

Change is Good

It’s often said you can judge a coach by how well his team executes after timeouts in late-game situations. With that criterion in mind, Wittman gets high marks for one crucial possession late in the fourth quarter. Washington built a 12-point lead with 5:36 remaining and it appeared they might cruise to a victory. However, Toronto promptly went on a 6-0 run to cut the lead in half and Wittman called a timeout with 3:07 left.

The ensuing play was beautifully designed and run to perfection, resulting in one of the easiest baskets of the night. Beal ran a baseline curl through three screens, the last of which—set by Nene—knocked Beal’s man to the ground. As Beal caught the ball at the foul line, Amir Johnson left Nene to help on Beal, leaving Nene wide open under the basket for an easy dunk.

This team has come a long way since the Jordan Crawford isolations that were a late-game staple of the 4-28 team.

—Adam Rubin (@LedellsPlace)

Adjourned: Washington Wizards DC Council

Wall & Nene, Parlay.


  • Brendon Glad

    Charles Barkley often makes a point of saying “great players play great home or away…role players always play better at home.” As a guy who spent countless hours trying to be a good basketball player, but setting to rest at the NAIA division II level, I definitely noticed that I shot better in places I was most used to/comfortable shooting in. But the BEST ones (on each level) can shoot anywhere. Brad Beal is definitely showing me something with his play on the road of late. SO SO SO encouraging to see.

    • Conor Dirks

      Completely agree. He will be fun to watch for many years.