DC Council Game 62: Wizards 90 at Cavs 95: Wittman's Bench and Grunfeld's Kids Go MIA | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council Game 62: Wizards 90 at Cavs 95: Wittman's Bench and Grunfeld's Kids Go MIA

Updated: March 13, 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. 62, Washington Wizards at Cleveland Cavaliers; contributors: Adam McGinnisRashad Mobley and Kyle Weidie via eyes on television screens.]

The Bill: Washington Wizards DC Council

Calling All Young Players!

[Randy Wittman is in search of draft picks who can play.] 

Washington Wizards 90 at Cleveland Cavaliers 95 [box score]

MVP: John Wall: 27 points, 7-15 FGs, 13-14 FTs, 14 assists, seven rebounds, four turnovers, one steal, one block, plus/minus of plus-12.

Stat of the Game: The Wizards scored more points in the first quarter (33) than they did in the second and third quarters combined (32).

—Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis)

Key Legislature: Washington Wizards DC Council

Nice Try.

[Off Cleveland by Shaun Livingston’s fingernail.]

With 1:37 left in the game, John Wall was fouled by Tristan Thompson after driving hard to the basket. He hit both of his free throws to bring the Wizards within five points of the Cavaliers, 86-91. At this point he must have realized that Washington’s only chance to win the game was to keep scoring while preventing the Cavs from doing the same, because Wall turned up the defensive intensity on former Wizards guard Shaun Livingston (who performed admirably in Kyrie Irving’s stead with 12 points and six assists). At first, Livingston was able to ward off Wall’s pesky ball pressure, but Wall finally got to him, and he lost the ball out of bounds. The refs initially ruled that the ball was off Wall, but after reviewing the tape for three minutes, they reversed the call and the Wizards got the ball back with the opportunity to make it a one possession game. Wall brought the ball up court, and instead of making the safe pass to ensure the Wizards got the most of this important possession, he threw a one handed skip pass that Martell Webster could not handle.

The Wizards were able to make it into a one-possession game on two other occasions (with 45.8 seconds and again with 7.6), but they failed to successfully convert those possessions as well.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)

Council Members: Washington Wizards DC Council

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

John Wall
With Bradley Beal out, John Wall took just a little bit more initiative to score in productive ways. He finished the night with a season-high 27 points on 15 shots, making seven and then netting 13-of-14 from the free throw line. Sadly, without Wall’s jumper (including his set shots from the charity stripe), the Wizards would not have even been in the game against the lowly Cavs (even though Wall only hit 3-for-8 from midrange). Who else is going to shoot?

For a change, Wall finished at the rim (4-for-6), limited his turnovers (to four, I guess), and racked up 14 assists to go with seven rebounds. Let’s go back to those turnovers. The stat book will only credit him with two of his turnovers in the fourth quarter, but the total was actually three (so, five in the game). One came when Wall actually slowed down on the break, but then immediately bobbled the ball away. Another came when he tried to deke C.J. Miles with a change of direction, but Miles just ripped the ball away and Dion Waiters got a dunk on the other end. The third turnover wasn’t recorded. The Wizards went on a quick 8-to-1 run to cut Cleveland’s lead to five with 90 seconds left. Wall played hard defense against Shaun Livingston and forced a turnover on a tough out of bounds call that was reviewed and reversed in favor of the Wizards. So on the very next play Wall made a wild, spinning pass all the way from the right corner along the baseline to the left corner. Of course, Martell Webster couldn’t catch it.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

2 out of 3 stars

Garrett Temple
After the Bobcats victory, Coach Wittman was asked why he chose to start Garrett Temple at shooting guard. “It gives us a little more early ball-handling, with Brad out,” replied Wittman. His answer is still mystifying because Temple continues to look over-matched on the court. He over-passes and is reluctant to shoot, which is understandable considering his horrific shooting chart. Temple finished with a desolate line of two points, three turnovers and four fouls in 21 minutes. His lone bucket was immediately followed up by him inauspiciously fouling a 3-point shooter. From day one of getting the head coaching gig, Wittman stressed that players had to earn minutes. There is little evidence that Temple deserves much playing time, let alone starting over Trevor Ariza, who was coming off one of his better games of the season (but hurt his knee in Cleveland and didn’t play in the second half). The Wizards could really use some scoring punch in the back court to deal with their offensive struggles. (Jordan Crawford, AHEM?!?!) No matter if he starts or comes off the bench, Temple will never be that guy.

—Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis)

0 out of 3 stars

Martell Webster
Martell Webster started out super hot—we’re talking three 3-pointers in the first two minutes hot as the Wizards built an 11-0 lead. But Cleveland quickly adjusted and Webster didn’t score for the rest of the first half, despite playing 18.5 minutes. Webster started the third well, hitting a 3 and a nice step-back 2 over Tristan Thompson in the first 2.5 minutes, but then he went cold again, and started losing ground to former Wizard Alonzo Gee. Webster missed about four shots in a row before hitting a key 3 with just under three minutes left in the game to bring the Wizards within eight points. But the whole team came up short in the end, and Webster’s efforts (17 points, 6-for-16 FGs, 5-for-11 3Ps) were more meant for third or fourth banana instead of second or third fiddle—if any of that makes sense. Also, for some reason, Webster played a game-high 42.5 minutes. The next closest in minutes from either team was John Wall with 36:44 on the court.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

1.5 out of 3 stars

The scoring of Martell Webster, Wall and Emeka Okafor played a large part in the Wizards’ 33-20 lead after the first quarter, but Nene’s defense on Tristan Thompson was just as important. Nene made it his business to put a body on Thompson on both ends of the floor, and Thompson went scoreless without a rebound in the quarter. Thompson had 13 points and 14 rebounds (six offensive, eight defensive) over the remaining three quarters, and once he got going, Nene was unable to stop him. Offensively, Nene was assertive and aggressive with his moves in the paint, but the shots he did miss were at point-blank range. 15 points and 10 rebounds is not a bad stat line at all, but considering Anderson Varejao is hurt, Tyler Zeller is a rookie, and Tristan Thompson is built like a small forward (6-foot-8, 225 lbs), he could have done more.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)

1.5 out of 3 stars

[Nene and the ref.]

Emeka Okafor
Emeka Okafor put in his usual double-double work, tallying 18 points on 8-for-12 FGs, 11 rebounds and two blocks in 32 minutes. He consistently begins games strong, and Tuesday night in Cleveland was no different, as he poured in 10 points and five rebounds in the opening period. Okafor scored on an array of jumpers and smooth post moves. His tap-out rebounds are becoming a signature play, with perhaps only New York’s Tyson Chandler doing it better. Okafor’s low-key personality and bloated contract, along with Wizards’ lack of success, likely means he will rarely garner much national attention, but his key contributions should not go unappreciated amongst Wizards fans.

—Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis)

2.5 out of 3 stars

Jason Collins
For the first time since the Wizards acquired him from Boston, Jason Collins checked into the game  (during the second quarter) for some meaningful minutes. His first order of business was to communicate with Emeka Okafor about who was guarding whom, while Alonzo Gee shot his two free throws. Next, he blocked Dion Waiters’ shot as he drove to the lane—something Waiters did seemingly at will all night. After Collins blocked the shot, Okafor got the rebound, and John Wall hit a 15-foot jump shot to give the Wizards a 45-43 lead. He played a total of two minutes and 55 seconds, and that blocked shot was the only stat he accrued, but given that Washington’s bench scored just nine points (Cleveland’s bench scored 29 points) Collins’ small feat was one of the few bright spots.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)

0.5 out of 3 stars

Trevor Booker
Trevor Booker played 13 minutes, missed one shot, surprisingly made both of his free throws, grabbed four rebounds, dished out one assist, committed one turnover, and picked up three personal fouls. In other words, he barely had an impact. But, a Wizards bench full of draft picks barely had an impact. Booker made his presence known on a couple possessions with one of his rebounds being offensive; he also made a nice cut at one point. But, the most glaring critique came courtesy of television analyst Phil Chenier. Late in the third, as the Wizards were falling apart, Booker was matched-up on defense against Tristan Thompson on the baseline. Booker’s hands were fully buried in his pockets instead of the passing lanes, and Thompson was able to easily make a pass for a score. You’d think a supposedly fundamental defensive player desperate for minutes would have acted otherwise. Instead, Booker continues to fade into irrelevancy, just like Singleton, Vesely and Seraphin.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

0.5 out of 3 stars

The Mayor: Washington Wizards DC Council

[#WittmanFace after the Wizards dared Luke Walton to make a shot. He did.]

What Bench?

Defense: The Wizards bench was an absolute mess, getting outscored by Cleveland’s reserves 29 to 11. Everyone Wittman turned to underperformed. Cartier Martin is not the same player since returning from his knee injury. Chris Singleton, Temple (see above) and Trevor Booker provide little offense. Jan Vesely is not a viable option. Without Wall on the court—Wittman can’t play him 48 minutes—Washington’s offense was very bad.

Indictment: Temple should be fighting for a roster spot, not playing significant minutes. Singleton deserves more burn, but throwing him in cold during the fourth quarter for the first time is a less-than-ideal path for success. Pairing Price with Wall was not working out, either, considering Price was in jack ’em up and clank mode. [NOTE: Trevor Ariza didn’t play in the second half because of an injury to his knee.]

The Wizards continue to be a respectable home team with Wall at the helm that can play with anyone in the NBA, but on the road, they can’t defeat a bottom-feeder without their important All-Star leader, Kyrie Irving. The coaching staff deserves a lion’s share of accountability for this discrepancy. Since Wall’s return (hell, kinda throughout the Wall era), road woes are the team’s defining characteristic. These cold hard facts, however, will likely not be addressed in future Ted’s Take positive blog posts.

—Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis)

Adjourned: Washington Wizards DC Council

Clark Kent?

Sam I Am.

[At least Beal is learning … we hope.]

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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.