DC Council Preseason Game 1: Wizards 106 vs Nets 111: Boo Birds for Blatche & Preseason OT | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council Preseason Game 1: Wizards 106 vs Nets 111: Boo Birds for Blatche & Preseason OT

Updated: October 9, 2013

The D.C. Council Wizards game coverage from Truth About It.net is back for another season. Some tweaks have been made, some tweaks probably will be made as the regular season approaches, and obviously, this thing could use a new design (which is forthcoming). Until then, TAI’s Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) and Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20), both on hand for Tuesday night’s festivities, will take you through key accounts of the game and also rate the performances of several Wizards. Leggo…

Washington Wizards 106 vs Brooklyn Nets 111
[box score]

Key Legislature

(The game’s defining moment.)

The key to that game is that it finally concluded. It was unexpectedly entertaining for a preseason contest, but the fact that it didn’t count, reflected by substitution patterns, made a close game of basketball featuring professionals an illusion of interest.

But, alas, there were things of note. A cluttered run-down, if you will:

  • Kevin Garnett is still in tune with illegal screens, but was also in tune with taking candy from baby Vesley via chair pulls and ball steals.
  • Andray Blatche (14 points on 12 FG attempts) and Kevin Seraphin (13 points on 12 FG attempts) seemed to be dueling shot-jackers. Blatche received boos most times he touched the rock and fooled Vesely with some of his vintage, go nowhere pump fakes and baby jab steps.
  • John Wall’s jumper seemed to work, as did Bradley Beal’s (even if Beal did seem somewhat selfish over the course of the night, dribbling the clock out of one possession and once seemingly refusing to pass ahead to an open Vesely on the break.)
  • Defensive communication and interest in getting back on D, fast, seemed to be premiums for the Wizards; meanwhile, Brooklyn’s offense might be very efficient this season.
  • With under 10 seconds left, Eric Maynor got a steal and kicked it ahead to Garrett Temple for what would have been the go-ahead, 97-96 basket, but Temple instead got rejected by Mirza Teletovic. This eventually gave way to Mason Plumlee going 1-for-2 from the line and Glen Rice, Jr. tying the game at the buzzer on a put-back dunk (seen above and discussed below).
  • After the game, Rice was asked if he was the hero for making the dunk or the villain for sending a preseason game into overtime. He laughed: “Good question, I hope I’m not the villain.” No, Glen, you are certainly not.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

Council Chair

(The most valuable player of the night.)

Being named the most valuable player of a preseason basketball game is usually the equivalent of being crowned the winner of the consolation group in fantasy football. It is nice to win something, but ultimately it does not matter in the long run. An exception can be made for Glen Rice, Jr. He played just 16 minutes last night, and his stat line of 12 points (six of which came at the free throw line), three rebounds and two steals probably won’t inspire Coach Wittman to insert him into the starting lineup in Brazil. But it’s the little things—even against the Brooklyn Nets’ second and third guys—that matter.

Rice was one of Washington’s two bench players (Al Harrington being the other) who were able to create looks at the basket off the dribble, and Rice did so on at least four or five occasions. On the defensive end, Rice aggressively guarded the Nets’ Alan Anderson without overcommitting or gambling. Given how much Coach Wittman stressed defense in his pre-game speech, that alone may win him more playing time.

But the coup de grace for Rice was his follow-up dunk to tie the game at 97 with 0.5 seconds left in the game. He initially ran off a screen expecting to receive the ball for an open shot, but when Eric Maynor took (and missed) an awkward shot in the paint, Rice kept running right toward the basket and dunked the ball home. Hitting the game-tying shot in a preseason game? Not a big deal. Impressing the coaches with hustle in a seemingly meaningless situation? Priceless.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)

Vetoed Participation

(The least valuable player on the night.)

This was not the night for Eric Maynor to lay an egg. The coach of the Nets (Jason Kidd) is considered one of the best point guards to ever play, Deron Williams (who didn’t play but was in uniform) is considered one of the best current point guards, and Shaun Livingston (who started in Williams’ absence) was one of the more beloved backup point guards the Wizards have ever had. When you factor in all those point guards under the Verizon Center roof, along with the presence of John Wall and the absence of A.J. Price (who is trying to make the Timberwolves—he wasn’t great, but he certainly was serviceable), it would have been nice for Maynor to show fans, teammates, writers, and probably himself, that the Wizards invested wisely in their insurance policy for John Wall. That did not happen, though … not even close.

Maynor could not beat Brooklyn guards Tyshawn Taylor or Jorge Gutierrez off the dribble, and even when he managed to somehow get into the lane, he missed easy floaters. His passes were weak and off-target, and most importantly, the offense stalled severely with him running it. Maynor (and Coach Wittman) can play the ‘it is just preseason’ card, but it will take more than that to erase the memory of this bad performance. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who was baffled by his listless play.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)

Top Aide

(The top assistant, or x-factor.)

Glen Rice got on the court and not only showed that he belonged, but that he wanted to be there. Not in the cliche, hashtag #blessed, type of way, but in a ‘I’m going to get up on you on defense and hope that you beg for mercy’ manner. So, today, we give Rice the Council Chair as well as the Top Aide.

I was most impressed with Rice’s willingness in pressuring the ball—the positioning of his hands and the movement of his feet. He’s like the Nick Young without the Nick Young. From summer league and before, we know Rice can rebound very well for a guard, and that probably can’t be evidenced more in him crashing the boards for a put-back dunk at the regulation buzzer. Rice’s 3-pointer didn’t fall (0-4 from distance, 3-8 FGs, 6-7 FTs), but that will come. First he showed all the important stuff (including not turning the ball over in 16.5 minutes), the scoring part will eventually be the icing on the cake.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

That Session Was … Troubling

(An overall assessment of the outcome.)

In the first half of play, the Wizards gave up 24 points in the paint with Brook Lopez being the main culprit with 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field. Emeka Okafor is out indefinitely with a herniated disk, so the Wizards do have a weakened front court and a built-in excuse. Then again, Okafor is a good defensive player, but he’s certainly not Bill Russell. And even if Okafor was in the starting lineup, he’d most likely be guarding Kevin Garnett, not Lopez. That honor would (and did) go to Nene, who was thoroughly torched by Lopez. The lack of front-court effectiveness was an issue all summer, and the Wizards did not really address it. This game was a not-so-subtle reminder that the need still needs to be addressed.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)

The Mayor

(Words of wisdom, etc., from Coach Randy Wittman.)

“Well, nothing like overtime in an exhibition game, is it?” the old dog Wittman rhetorically started his post-game presser, diffusing media on a deadline with a chuckle. He then asked the pixel creators to make it quick, ‘cause he had a plane to Brazil to catch.

At one point during the game, the Twitterverse wondered why Wittman’s starters were in the game for so long. #SoWizards, prepare for the worst panic set in—or maybe not so much panic, but an inquisitive and anxious yearn for the losing to end via healthy bodies.

Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Brook Lopez didn’t even play for Brooklyn in the second half. Over that portion of the game, Randy played Nene for 11 minutes, Beal for 12.5, and Wall for 14.

“Well, we gotta learn to play together, and I thought that’s what I was trying to do,” he retorted to a question about the subject of minutes. He saw his team’s first-game workload from a different perspective than Jason Kidd, whose decision was perhaps half risk minimization, half knowing that his veteran team might need less time to gel. (Brooklyn’s offense fueled by Shaun Livingston filling in for the injured Deron Williams looked pretty smooth in the early going, if you ask me.)

Now Wittman just needs to figure out who on his second unit can best play together, as he certainly has the right to be concerned with who’s going to get the offensive engine running when John Wall is not in the game.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

WittmanFace Not So Happy
WittmanFace kinda-sorta happy

The Players

John Wall

3 out of 5 stars

30 mins | 16 pts | 5-14 FGs | 6-7 FTs | 8 asts | 4 TOs | 5 rebs

He looked as quick as ever, pushed the envelope in transition, and showed flashes of continued jumper confidence. Look for at least a few of the careless turnovers to curtail as he finds comfort in the offense. —K.W.

Bradley Beal

2 out of 5 stars

27 mins | 11 pts | 4-13 FGs | 3-4 FTs | 2 rebs | 2 stls | 2 TOs

Beal didn’t have the best shooting night and went without an assist, but there were those moments when he curled off the screen for a catch and shoot in stride, or when he freed himself for an open shot with a simple head-and-shoulder fake. It was clear that Wittman was correct in his assessment that Beal has gained tremendous confidence since his rookie year ended. —R.M.

Trevor Ariza

0 out of 5 stars

21 mins | 3 pts | 0-2 FGs | 3 rebs | 2 ats | 3 TOs | 4 fouls

Ariza reprised the role that Garrett Temple made famous so many times last season. He had zero impact on the game when the starters were in, except for his turnovers and his fouls. —R.M.

Jan Vesely

2 out of 5 stars

28 mins | 3 pts | 1-4 FGs | 12 rebs | 6 fouls | 1 ast | 1 TO | 1 stl | 1 blk

Jan. Rebound. Ball. Jan rebound ball like we know he can (even Beal called him the most athletic person on the team). But Jan also bobble pass to him. Jan also committ foul. Jan also still rushed in many things he do. —K.W.

Nene Hilario

3 out of 5 stars

22 mins | 19 pts | 8-11 FGs | 4 rebs | 4 fouls | 3 TOs

Nene came, he saw, he scored some, he rebounded little, he took advantage of Mason Plumlee, he fouled Plumlee at one point with a blatant arm hook sending Plumlee to the line where he missed two free throws and “won” the Verizon Center fans free chicken, and, finally, Nene looked increasingly disinterested as his minutes approached some indeterminate limit. —K.W.

Kevin Seraphin

2.5 out of 5 stars

33 mins | 13 pts | 6-12 FGs | 1-3 FTs | 7 rebs | 5 fouls | 4 TOs

It wasn’t the best seeing Andray Blatche block a weak and predictable jumper attempt by Seraphin. But, Mr. K did show incremental improvment in offensive awareness. So far, so OK. —K.W.

Al Harrington

1 out of 5 stars

14 mins | 9 pts | 3-7 FGs | 0-3 3Ps | 1 reb | 3 fouls | 2 TOs

15-year veterans don’t have to prove anything in the preseason, or before January for that matter (which is why Garnett and Pierce played just 12 minutes apiece). All they have to do is continue to get in shape and show occasional flashes of brilliance. Harrington worked himself open for missed 3-pointers, he demonstrated that he could score in the paint, and he got to the foul line three times in 14 minutes. He’ll be fine. —R.M.

Martell Webster

2.5 out of 5 stars

27 mins | 13 pts | 2-4 FGs | 7-8 FTs | 3 rebs | 1 TO

In the first half, Martell looked slow, and he appeared to have a bit of hitch in his giddy-up. In the second half, Martell hit two wide-open corner 3-pointers, and he drew a foul from outside the 3-point arc (but no 4-point play this time) just to let everyone know that he’s just fine and ready for the season. —R.M.

Eric Maynor

0 out of 5 stars

23 mins | 3 pts | 1-7 FGs | 3 asts | 3 TOs | 2 stls

Um, what was that from Eric Maynor? He looked too small and not athletic enough to do most things. Needs a do-over. —K.W.

Kyle Weidie on EmailKyle Weidie on GoogleKyle Weidie on InstagramKyle Weidie on LinkedinKyle Weidie on TwitterKyle Weidie on Youtube
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.