DC Council Game 74: Wizards 90 vs Bulls 86: Max Effort From Wall Has Wittman Feeling Lucky | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council Game 74: Wizards 90 vs Bulls 86: Max Effort From Wall Has Wittman Feeling Lucky

Updated: April 3, 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. 74, Washington Wizards vs. Chicago Bulls; contributors: Dan Diamond and Adam McGinnis from the Verizon Center, and Sean Fagan up I-95 in Brooklyn, N.Y.]

The Bill: Washington Wizards DC Council

One Jedi to Another

Captain Kirk Kicked to the Curb

Washington Wizards 90 vs Chicago Bulls 86
[box score]

MVP: In what is becoming a normal appearance in this section, John Wall once again was the MVP for the Wizards. You can virtually take your pick of stat categories and see a different way in which Wall contributed to the total team effort. Key to this effort is the rate at which Wall is getting to line on his drives to the basket. Prior to his return, Wall would attempt his cannonball runs and end up in a crumpled heap at the baseline with no whistle blown. Since returning, the zebras have either decided to take pity on Wall (unlikely) or Wall has done a much better job at initiating contact in such a way as to draw the foul. The conclusion you can draw is that there is a difference between playing “out of control” and within the tempo of the game. Before, Wall’s mad dashes were met with silence because they were just that: desperate drives to the basket. Now with Wall balancing his offensive output with an improved jumpers, the drives look a lot less reckless and are prone to get benefit of the doubt.

Stat of the Game: One turnover for John Wall. In a game against the Bulls one can’t be sloppy with the ball as their total defensive effort and efficiency will make you pay. If there was one criticism left for Wall since his return, it was that his turnover ratio still remained high. Against the Bulls, Wall remained in control against one of the NBA’s best defenses.

—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)

Key Legislature: Washington Wizards DC Council

Momentum-Changing D.

Washington called a timeout after Nate Robinson’s 3-pointer gave Chicago a 62-54 lead with 5:59 remaining in third quarter. The Wizards immediately ripped off a 14-2 run over the next three minutes and never trailed by more than two points the rest of the game. John Wall led the charge with an And-1, a pull-up jumper and two pretty assists. Washington’s stingy defense was instrumental in changing the momentum, limiting the Bulls to only seven points in a 10 minute stretch from middle of third quarter and into the fourth.

—Adam McGinnis (@adammcginnis)

Council Members: Washington Wizards DC Council

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

John Wall
John Wall needed 24 seconds to successfully coax an Oreo from his forehead to his mouth in the Verizon Center’s version of the cookie challenge. That was about the slowest he did anything all night. “Wall’s going to keep a lot of pressure on you, the way he pushes the ball up the floor,” Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau muttered after the game. Washington’s star guard repeatedly drove into the lane and either kicked out to perimeter shooters, collecting nine assists against just one turnover, or kept it himself on his way to 27 points. A grumpy fan could quibble with Wall’s fourth-quarter shooting—he missed all three shots from the floor, and made just 1-of-2 free throws—but a win salves all wounds. Throw in eight rebounds and three blocks, including a chase-down on Luol Deng in the first half, and it was a special night for a player who’s showing that he may be worth that max contract after all.

—Dan Diamond (@ddiamond)

3 out of 3 stars

Garrett Temple
One wishes for Bradley Beal to get back to full health because this was a game in which the “D-League side” of Temple was on full display. Temple was there in body, if not in spirit, and he sported a minus-10 plus/minus on the night. Since these are most likely the last eight games of Garrett’s career in a Wizards uniform, he is going to have to increase his disruptive presence if he wants to stick in the league.

 —Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)

1 out of 3 stars

Martell Webster
The fan campaign to re-sign “The Definition” may continue, but it’s going to lose a little luster if Webster’s shot continues to be off to close the season—he’s shooting only 33 percent across the last four games, and was just 2-of-7 from the floor on Tuesday. Perhaps that’s why Webster only got 22 minutes of burn against the Bulls, as Randy Wittman instead went with Trevor Ariza in the fourth quarter. (Another reason might be that Webster’s dealing with a persistent ab strain, although that hasn’t stopped him from “unveiling the Wizard” on certain dunks.) That said, Webster continues to make a positive impact on the game even when his jumpers aren’t falling, with four rebounds and solid defense on the Bulls’ wing forwards, racking up a respectable plus-10 in plus/minus for the game.

—Dan Diamond (@ddiamond)

1.5 out of 3 stars

The wide-grinning Brazilian returned from a four-game absence due to knee soreness, compiling a solid stat line of 10 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and one block in 28 minutes of action. The ability to run the offense through Nene gives the Wizards a valuable option, and this was evident down the stretch as he assisted on two decisive buckets. It appears Nene is still banged up and will be doubtful to play in Toronto on Wednesday night. Washington’s new stated goal of being the best team to not make playoffs in the Eastern Conference would likely be in jeopardy if Nene’s is unable to play, but it could be better for the future to just shut him down for rest of the season.

—Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis)

2 out of 3 stars

Emeka Okafor
Well, that was quite a dunk by Emeka Okafor (to put the Wizards up two points with 45.7 seconds to play). A dunk that almost makes you forget about all the flat-footed jumpers that were missed earlier in the game. Besides those missed jumpers, Okafor was his usual solid self in the middle, though he was outrebounded by an embalmed Nazr Mohammed. Still, a game-winning dunk is a game-winning dunk, and Okafor continues to increase his offseason value.

—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)

1.5 out of 3 stars

Trevor Ariza
Small doses of Trevor Ariza remain for me the best doses: come in, play some defense, hit some threes. Thirty-two minutes of solid play on a night where Webster didn’t have his shooting form. This is the Ariza the Wizards were hoping for all season, a guy who understands that his value on his team isn’t from the shot he makes, but from the shots he doesn’t take.

—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)

2 out of 3 stars

A.J. Price
The team’s best bench cheerleader took his act to the court with instant offense. A.J. Price poured in 13 points (5-for-7 FGs, 3-for-4 3Ps) in 19 minutes. His back-to-back 3-balls in fourth quarter gave the Wizards a lead that they would never relinquish. With Beal hurting and Price riding a hot hand, Wittman decided to close out with both of his point guards in the back court.

“I love it when Wall and I are on the floor together,” said Price after the game. “It takes a lot of pressure off me, and he has told me it does the same for him. Hopefully we get more opportunities, but whatever the game calls for is what we will do. They came out with the two-guard lineup behind Kirk Hinrich and Nate Robinson, so it was a good job by coach to combat that.”

—Adam McGinnis (@adammcginnis)

2 out of 3 stars

The Mayor: Washington Wizards DC Council

Playoffs? Are you kidding me?

“As funny as you might think it is, we’re not eliminated yet,” Randy Wittman said after the game. “Stranger things have happened. Has anybody hit the lotto in here? Let’s go buy some tickets.”

Keep in mind, the Wizards would need to win out—and the Milwaukee Bucks would need to drop every game—for Washington to go from NBA Draft lottery to proverbial lottery-ticket winners.

But the coach may be able to claim a more realistic prize if the Wizards go 5-3 in their last eight games. With a 33-49 record, Wittman would officially have pulled off the best coaching job of his career. (This is what happens when you have a career winning percentage of less than 34 percent.)

After months of struggles, Wittman does seem to be pressing the right buttons. He called timeouts at appropriate moments to settle his team and deflate Chicago’s offense; his decision to go with Ariza down the stretch paid off with seven fourth-quarter points; and his defensive schemes generally flustered the Bulls’ perimeter players—another strong moment for the Wizards’ stellar defense.

And with the victory, the Wizards secured their first winning record at home in five years. Credit where credit’s due.

—Dan Diamond (@ddiamond)

Adjourned: Washington Wizards DC Council

Nate Robinson does this:

The Theodore Unit is Watching…


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John Converse Townsend
Reporter / Writer / Co-Editor at TAI
John has been part of the editorial team at TAI since 2010. He likes: pocket passes, chase-down blocks, 3-pointers. He dislikes: typos, turnovers, midrange jump shots.