TAI's Mobley and Townsend recap Wizards vs. Cavs the morning after. | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

D.C. Council Game 9: Wizards 96 vs Cavaliers 103: Home Crowd Spellbound By Kyrie Irving

Updated: November 17, 2013

Truth About It.net’s D.C. Council: setting the scene, recapping key points, providing the analysis, evaluating players, and catching anything that you may have missed from the Washington Wizards. Game No. 9: Wizards vs. Cavaliers; contributors: Rashad Mobley and John Converse Townsend, who watched the drama/comedy/tragedy play out live from the Verizon Center.

via @Mr_KevinJones

Washington Wizards 96 at Cleveland Cavaliers 103
[box score]

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DC Council Key Legislature

In August, John Wall made an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show and had bold words for guest host Chris Mannix:

“I rank myself the best [point guard]. Yeah, I rank myself the best.

“Just basing it on what I can do in the future. What I feel like I have at stake ahead of me. … I feel like I always can improve. There’s a lot of talented point guards out there, but I feel like I can hold my own.”

After last night’s OT loss, it’s clear that Wall, 23, isn’t even close to being the best point guard in the Association. He has a lot to learn. And he could learn a lot from Kyrie Irving, 21.

Irving marched onto the court for his pre-game shootaround, focused like a Marine Corps sniper, and made 14 consecutive 3-pointers, swishing nine of them. The Wizards, I told Rashad Mobley, sitting to my right on bloggers row, could be in for a long night. And were they ever. The young All-Star attempted more shots than any player (28), but also made more (14). He put the team on his back and saved the day, finishing with 41 points, tying a career high. (Fun Fact: Irving wore a protective mask the last time he dropped 41 points on a defense. Super heroics.)

Nine points. That was John Wall’s point total in 38 minutes… Irving scored nine points in five minutes of overtime, out-scoring the Wizards by himself. Shoot, Irving scored nine points from the free throw line alone.

“They were allowing me to get my offense going,” Irving said after the game. “They” most certainly includes Wall, who was inexplicably and often slow to closeout on Irving, loose in pick-and-roll coverage, and looked more and more defeated every time Irving’s shot ripped through the nylon.

“I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. They were just setting me up, putting me in positions to be aggressive and knock down shots. They were looking for me.”

John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)


DC Council Chair

Nene. I remember listening to the Tony Kornheiser Show on ESPN Radio about 10 years ago, when he was discussing the columnist protocol. He said that if a columnist took the time to criticize an athlete, that same columnist had to show their face in the locker room the day next day to give that player an opportunity to offer a rebuttal—in his words, anything less than that was an act of cowardice.

I’m not sure what the protocol is for players calling out other players on the same team, but after the Wizards’ loss to the Spurs Nene did call out John Wall and other young teammates in a cryptic, tangential fashion, which meant Nene was obligated to have a strong game last night against the Cavaliers. Nene responded by doing a little bit of everything on both ends of the floor. He scored, he rebounded, he stole the ball from Kyrie Irving, he hit 6-of-9 free throws, and he dominated his fellow countryman (Anderson Varejao) in the post. On top of all that, one of the gentlemen he indirectly called out (Wall) was in pass first, shoot second mode all evening—the complete opposite of his mindset in the second half of the game against the Mavericks. Of course, the Wizards still lost, but Nene had it going as a player and a motivator.

—Rashad Mobley (@rashad20)


DC Council Vetoed Participation

The bench, despite decent performances from Jan Vesely and Garrett Temple.

“I’m searching guys,” Wittman sighed. “We get just nine points and eight turnovers off the bench… Gotta find a consistent group that’s going to go out and produce.”

You said it, Coach.

John Converse Townsend  (@JohnCTownsend)


DC Council Top Aide
Garrett Temple. Evidently, Coach Wittman had seen quite enough of Eric Maynor’s ineffectiveness and he decided to let Garret Temple run the second team. Temple took (and made) just one shot last night, had three turnovers and just one assist. However, he didn’t dribble into the corner or make ill-advised jump passes like Maynor, he just swung the ball and kept the offense fluid, the way a backup point guard should do. Temple’s role last night was similar to the role of Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova’s, whose impact did not show up on the stat sheet, but was felt nonetheless.

Here’s Cavs Head Coach Mike Brown on Dellavedova:

“We just felt like we wanted to throw him out there. He’s a tough son of a gun. He does what he does. He plays D the right way, he was relentless, and, offensively, he was just a ball hawk.”

Brown may as well have been talking about Temple. We may never see Eric Maynor again.

Rashad Mobley (@rashad20)


DC Council Session

That session was … well, a monumental disappointment.

And Ted Leonsis was in the house with court-side seats to watch his team give away another game they shoulda/coulda won. (Vegas had the Wizards by eight.)

The team’s max-contract point guard, John Wall, has shot 16-for-55 (that’s 29%) in the Wizards’ last four games, all losses. In those four games, he’s averaging just 3.25 free throw attempts per game. I don’t point this out to bury him—he has averaged 8.25 assists in the last four and the offense would be lost without him—but instead to ground expectations. Wall can write “PLAYOFFS” on the bottom of his sneakers before every game, but that won’t get the Wizards to the postseason. This year’s Wizards are, more or less, the same 29-win team the city fielded last season.

After the game, I refueled with an order of dumplings in Chinatown. My order came with a fortune cookie, which may have wisdom for the team’s leadership: “Be assertive when decisive action is needed.”

—John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)


DC Council Mayor

Coach Wittman’s bench was not operating at full capacity for the second consecutive night, which meant he had to rely on players who typically aren’t relied upon. Trevor Ariza and Al Harrington were both injured, and Martell Webster (as a starter, the first time this season) filled in admirably. With Seraphin ineffective and Maynor chained to the bench, Wittman relied on Jan Vesely and Garrett Temple to produce in their respective absences. Unfortunately, the one constant with Wittman and his coaching staff—regardless of who is available to play for them—is the disappearance of leads.

The Wizards led by as much as 15 in the first half, and five in the second, but they could not hold the lead. Coach Mike Brown was missing his starting shooting guard (Dion Waiters), his starting center (Andrew Bynum) missed all of training camp and played 21 stiff minutes, and Brown spontaneously moved Earl Clark from small forward to power forward for the first time this season, yet his team was victorious. Wittman also seems to be developing the bad habit of leaving John Wall on the bench two to three minutes too long, and by the time he re-enters the game, the Wizards have lost the very momentum Wall helps to build. It is fair to say that the Wittman Coaching Watch has official begun.

—Rashad Mobley (@rashad20) 


DC Council Players

John Wall

2 out of 5 stars

37 mins | 3-13 FG | 0-4 3Ps | 3-3 FTs | 9 pts | 2 rebs | 12 asts | 1 stl | 1 TOs

Wall’s first-quarter performance was the perfect mix of playmaking and scoring aggressiveness. When he had the shot, he took it, and when he didn’t, he found his teammates for easy baskets. Unfortunately, for the other three quarters and overtime, Wall had just four points and six assists, while Kyrie Irving, the man he was attempting to check, had 41 points—39 from the second quarter through overtime. In addition, Coach Mike Brown said after the game that Kyrie Irving displayed leadership qualities when the Cavs were down 15 by telling his team to keep fighting no matter what. Even Nene said after the game that Irving lifted the team and put them on his back like great players are wont to do. No such stories have arisen from the Wizards locker room regarding their franchise player… —R. Mobley

Bradley Beal

3.5 out of 5 stars

48 mins | 28 pts | 11-25 FGs | 4-9 3Ps | 2-2 FTs | 4 rebs | 2 stls | 3 TOs

Bradley Beal scored a team-high 28 points on 25 shots. Not visible in that stat line is the number of jump shots he took—plenty of them were contested long 2s, by far his worst shot. When Wall is setting him up perfectly in the corner for open 3s, Beal is money. When the sophomore is asked to create offense on his own, off the dribble, the Wizards too often get short-changed. And just two free throw attempts in 48 minutes? What’s up with that? —J.C. Townsend

Martell Webster

2 out of 5 stars

42 mins | 4-12 FG | 2-8 3Ps | 4-4 FTs | 14 pts | 7 rebs | 1 asts | 1 stl | 5 fouls

With Trevor Ariza out with a strained right hamstring, Martell Webster returned to the starting lineup for the first time since last season with mixed results. He never found a consistent rhythm, although he hit two wide-open jumpers towards the end of the third quarter to extend the Wizards’ lead to seven. But he was scoreless in the 12 minutes he played in fourth quarter and overtime, and he was nowhere near the disruptive force that Ariza is. —R. Mobley


3.5 out of 5 stars

36 mins | 9-16 FGs | 4-9 FTs | 24 pts | 7 rebs | 2 asts | 2 blks| 1 stl | 3 TOs

One of my keys to the game was to control the paint, on both ends, and Nene stepped up. The Wizards out-scored the Cavs 50-26 in the paint, and Nene had 14 paint points of his own, picked up with a professional repertoire of up-and-under moves, shot fakes, and left-handed finishes. But Nene’s Achilles’ heel, free throw shooting, doomed the Wizards at the end of fourth quarter. The 55-percent shooter made just one of two attempts. A second make would have given the Wizards a 91-90 lead. But, hey, at least he stripped Irving as he rose to take a game-winning attempt in regulation.

Asked what Nene can do, mentally, to turn this season around, the Brazilian responded: “I just pray, just pray, that’s what I can do. … Keep fighting.” —J.C. Townsend

Marcin Gortat

2 out of 5 stars

38mins | 6-13 FG |  0-0 FTs | 12 pts | 11 rebs |  2 stl

It isn’t Gortat’s fault that the Wizards didn’t keeping running the pick-and-roll play that resulted in Gortat scoring easy baskets. It also isn’t Gortat’s fault that he looked like a worldbeater on defense, because he spent half the game guarding the robotic Andrew Bynum. But for Gortat not to get to the foul line at all in 38 minutes, and for him to allow Tristan Thompson to rain jumpers as if he were Kyrie Irving, was 100-percent his fault. —R. Mobley

Jan Vesely

3 out of 5 stars

23 mins | 4 pts | 2-3 FGs | 0-2 FTs | 7 rebs | 3 stls | 1 ast

Jan Vesely played well in 23 minutes of run, more than he’s been allowed but for three games since the start of 2012-13. Vesely showed great anticipation defensively in transition and quick hands, which led to a pair of dunks, as well as an understanding for when to help off his man and trap the ball. He didn’t look like the European Blake Griffin, as once advertised, nor the Czech Birdman, but at least he was out there, hustling. —J.C. Townsend


Garrett Temple

3 out of 5 stars

15 mins | 1-1 FG | 0-0 3Ps | 3-3 FTs | 2 pts | 3 rebs | 1 asts | 3 TOs

We seem to have come full circle with Garrett Temple. Last season he was a serviceable player who was steady, didn’t make many mistakes, but was a non-factor on offense. He had fallen out of the rotation with the addition of Eric Maynor, but starting with the Mavericks game on Wednesday, and contiuning last night against the Cavs, Coach Wittman leaned heavily on Temple to do Temple things: be steady, effective, and mistake-free. Despite his three turnovers, that’s exactly what Temple did. He didn’t over-dribble, force shots, or make bad decisions. He simply managed the second unit by  swinging the ball and keeping the offensive moving. He certainly isn’t the long-term solution, but Temple did his job tonight. —R. Mobley

Kevin Seraphin

0 out of 5 stars

9 mins | 1-5 FGs | 2 pts | 2 rebs | 3 TOs

Nene picked up two fouls early in the first quarter, which gave Seraphin an opportunity to show his stuff. What Wizards watchers saw was what they typically see: a missed jumper, bad passes, fouls away from the ball, three-second violations, plus a hilarious sequence where Andrew Bynum and Tristan Thompson blocked three straight Seraphin shot attempts at the rim. Seraphin was also called for palming the ball. He finished the quarter but was benched for the rest of the game. —J.C. Townsend

Glen Rice, Jr.

15 mins | 0-5 FG | 0-3 3Ps | 1-2 FTs | 1 pts | 4 rebs | 3 asts | 3 TOs

Rice played a season-high 15 minutes, and he played the way little-used rookies play. There were rushed shots, missed assignments on defense, but there were also some big rebounds in traffice and two nice assists to Nene. But none of what I just wrote matters as much as how Rice brought Air Wolf back to life with this…

—R. Mobley


From the Other Side:
Jarrett Jack vs. Bradley Beal

by Rashad Mobley

With 21 seconds left in the game, Jarrett Jack grabbed a rebound off a missed 3-pointer from Bradley Beal and began casually dribbling down the court. The Cavaliers were up 101-94 at that point, and all Jack had to do was either dribble out the clock or wait until one of the Wizards fouled him. However, when Jack saw that he had a clear path to the basket, he accelerated, and hit an easy layup to put the Cavs up 103-94. Beal took out his mouthpiece and said something to Jack but Jack had already run back up the court. When the game was over, Beal, Jack, and a host of other players, were in a bit of scrum as a result of Jack’s actions, but no punches or shoves were exchanged, just heated words. It looked like a bit of a bush league move from my (and Townsend’s) vantage point, but after the game, I asked Jarrett Jack to explain his side:

Man, I wasn’t trying to [score], I was actually just dribbling in a circle, because somebody was just about to back into me. I looked up and I was around the free throw line, and I was like I might as well just lay the ball in the basket.

Where I’m from, we play until all the time is out on the clock. The only people’s opinions I’m concerned with are the people in this locker room and my coaching staff, and nobody had anything to say to me, so there it is.

Notable: Jarrett Jack was born in Fort Washington, Maryland, and briefly played high school ball at DeMatha Catholic High—also in the D.C. area (Hyattsville).



(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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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.