D.C. Council Game 6: Wizards 105 at Thunder 106: Beal Cold-Blooded But Durantula Colder | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

D.C. Council Game 6: Wizards 105 at Thunder 106: Beal Cold-Blooded But Durantula Colder

Updated: November 11, 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. 6: Wizards at Thunder; contributors: John Converse Townsend, Adam McGinnis, and Kyle Weide from in front of their television screens. 

[#WittmanFace Whispers for a Brazilian.]

[#WittmanFace Whispers for a Brazilian.]

Washington Wizards 105 at Oklahoma City Thunder 106 (OT)
[box score]

Jump to Council Player Ratings



DC Council Key Legislature

Free Throws. Free throws, free throws, free throws. Free throws, especially in a game where both teams at times struggled to put the ball in the hoop.

The Wizards, at the halftime break, were shooting 38.1 percent from the field and 40 percent from the charity stripe (6-for-15), while the Thunder were shooting 32.5 percent from the field and 76.9 percent from the free throw line (10-for-13). Those percentages picked up in the second half, helping both teams finish better than 44 percent from the field … but free throws. The Thunder finished the game 18-for-22 from the line. The Wizards made just half of their 26 attempts and lost by one in overtime.

Free throws. You’ve gotta make your free throws.

—John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)


DC Council Chair

Bradley Beal has officially arrived. The NBA soph scored a career-high 34 points in OKC (his first 30-point game ever) on 23 attempts, 6-for-8 from deep. He showed the ability to score out of set plays, the prettiest stroke in a Washington uniform since Jeff Malone, and on occasion displayed the ability to slash to the hoop or create a jump shot look off the dribble. Beal also helped out on the boards more than usual with a season-high six rebounds.

The kid didn’t always come through—”learning moments,” we’ll call them. Beal air-balled a key OT attempt (but more than not provided a cold-blooded answer), and he also came up short on a runner in regulation that might have won the game. Still, the weeks are flying by and Beal’s questionable body language seems like forever ago. If the Wizards gear up to play in Dallas and San Antonio like they did in Oklahoma City on Sunday night, it will of course be due to a number of factors, but just as important as any of them is Beal flexing his star power and spreading the court so the offense can blossom.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


DC Council Vetoed Participation

Some not so great things happened on that wooden floor in Oklahoma on Sunday night. With the two teams shooting a combined 35 percent in the first half—bad passes and forced clanks adding to the ugliness—blame could be spread around. As a viewer, I could have done without the presence of these players muddling up the night: Eric Maynor, Kevin Seraphin, Derek Fisher, and Kendrick Perkins. Trevor Booker and Hasheem Thabeet, in the least, would have been much more fun to watch, especially with chippy undertones due to the Nene vs. Russell Westbrook display. Oh well, that’s how it always go.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


DC Council Top Aide

I was reluctant to bestow this honor upon the big Brazilian since he got ejected, but the team falling apart in his absence proved how much Nene was a difference-maker versus the Thunder. He was dominant early and OKC had no answer to his plethora of brilliant post moves. He didn’t rely on his jumper and attacked the rim at ease. The most impressive aspect was Nene’s outstanding ball movement and nifty assists. He constantly makes quick, simple reversal passes that create open shots for teammates. This is the type of player that the Wizards envisioned when they traded for his large contract. The Wizards are strongest in the half court game when the offense is run through Nene. Now, he needs to work on those free throws. Maybe he can ask the “Holy Spirit” to help lift them in.

—Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis)


DC Council Session

That session was … action-packed and full of surprises.

The Thunder outscored the Wizards in the paint by 12, helped by 17 extra rebounds and a 20-4 differential in second-chance points. Serge Ibaka was key—he grabbed four offensive boards and made a couple of big-time put-backs, and fired a volley of well-aimed mid-range Js. The Thunder also beat the Wizards at their own game, transition points, by a 20-4 margin.

But the Wizards stayed in the game with 3-pointers and fewer turnovers and even grabbed a 12-point lead with eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Washington’s lead was then 10 with just over three minutes to play, and that’s when everything changed.

Al Harrington had drawn a charge on Russell Westbrook, who was shoved to the ground by Nene after the whistle. Westbrook took offense and pushed back. Both players were tossed on technicals, the first techs were earned for offensive language and unsportsmanlike conduct:

“Get out of here, man,” Nene laughed after blocking one of Westbrook’s layup attempts.

“Man, shut the f*** up, man,” Westbrook responded.

Fans watching the game may have enjoyed the extracurriculars, but the refs weren’t amused.

The Wizards had a tougher time filling Nene’s shoes than the Thunder did Westbrook’s (Reggie Jackson played great). Kevin Durant was the driving force, however. He led the Thunder on a 14-4 run, capping off the biggest comeback in the Oklahoma City era. KD’s game-tying 3 over the outstrched arm of Trevor Ariza was Durant’s 12th game-tying shot in the last 24 seconds of a game, the most in the NBA since the start of 2007-08.

Bradley Beal, at the buzzer, had a chance to steal another win from OKC with the game tied at 96, but this time his floater never made it past the front iron. Beal had previously sprinted past Thabo Sefolasha for a layup to become the youngest player in Wizards/Bullets history to score more than 30 points in game (31, he finished with a career-high 34).

Marcin Gortat let the team down in OT by failing to complete a three-point play after a beautiful baseline spin move against Ibaka—the Polish Machine missed a critical free throw that would have given the Wizards a four-point lead with 80 seconds to play.

The Wiz wouldn’t score again and the Thunder would close the game on a 4-0 run to win 106-105. John Wall, rewarded with a lane to the hoop after an effective give-and-go inbounds play, missed a reverse layup attempt as the clock expired.

He may have been fouled. He absolutely should have used the glass.

—John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)


DC Council Mayor

The Wizards, who were 8.5 point underdogs to OKC, missed 13 free throws, were out rebounded by 17, and still had two chances to win a game in the hostile home environment of legitimate NBA title contenders. This is not about assigning moral victories for competitiveness, but recognizing that Washington played at a high level on Sunday night. Coach Wittman and his staff deserve credit. They didn’t miss thirteen free throws.

However, there’s still room to second-guess some of Wittman’s decisions. His second unit remains a mess and lately has only been bailed out because Al Harrington has gotten hot from downtown. Trevor Booker was starting a few games ago and now has picked up his second straight “DNP-Coach’s Decision.” Glen Rice, Jr. and Jan Vesely have yet to see one minute of court time in six games. Wittman has implemented a short, playoff-like rotation in the second week of the season. This is not sustainable. Plus, it does not provide chances to see what other players might bring to this team. Playing Martell Webster and Trevor Ariza together seems like it could work, but something is off with this pairing.

The most controversial coaching call was Wittman sitting Bradley Beal from 5:54 mark of fourth quarter to 2:08. Beal needed a breather and the five on the court were playing Thunder about even. Yet when Nene was ejected at 3:18, it was time re-insert Beal to give the Wizards a main offensive option. It cost them on two big possessions when a Beal 3-pointer might have sealed the victory. The mistake was compounded when Beal came up big down the stretch with two clutch baskets.

Hey, at least we are talking about strategy and not dealing with national media buzzards trying to get Wittman fired.

—Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis) 


DC Council Players

John Wall

3.5 out of 5 stars

40 mins | 3-13 FGs | 1-5 3Ps | 3-3 FTs | 10 pts | 5 rebs | 8 asts | 1 blk | 4 TOs

So many of John Wall’s assists are produced by the jump-pass, generally regarded as a “no-no.” But his athleticism and court vision allows him to get away with it. Wall is currently third in assists per game (behind Chris Paul and Jeff Teague), and second in the NBA in passes per game, hockey assists per game, and points created by assists per game—it’s safe to say he knows what he’s doing.

But a little more composure in the final few minutes of regulation and the first few minutes of overtime would have been helpful. Wall’s turnovers, loose handles and missed jumpers ruined the Wizards’ flow on offense, and it cost them.

This game really should have been won in regulation. —J.C. Townsend

Bradley Beal

4.5 out of 5 stars

42 mins | 34 pts | 13-23 FGs | 6-8 3Ps | 2-2 FTs | 0 asts | 1 TO | 6 rebs

Beal came through big with 10 of his career high 34 points in the fourth quarter on 4-of-6 shooting. He tried to show chops in getting to the hoop, but rarely forced the issue. Besides, when you’re shooting as well as Beal and have teammates willing to make the extra pass, why go in the paint when a drained 3-point shot would be more efficient? I’d still keep an eye on over-confidence when it comes to Beal—smiling like Syracuse Carmelo in the NCAA title game after made buckets might not always be the route in a regular season road game. But his budding cold-bloodedness is thrilling … and Wizards fans probably can’t wait until that means game-winning shots instead of close-but-no cigars. Otherwise, check the bottom of this post for Vines from the Beal World. —K. Weidie

Trevor Ariza

3 out of 5 stars

41 mins | 15 pts | 7-13 FGs | 1-2 3Ps | 0-5 FTs | 5 rebs | 2 asts | 1 TO

Trevor Ariza continues to torment #WizardsTwitter with his erratic style of play. Even though he has arguably been the Wizards most consistent contributor in this brief season, he never fails to produce glaring agony. Ariza is always good for a couple of dumb shots and his forced jumper on Kevin Durant in the final minute of overtime ended up giving the Thunder the lead for good. Warning: this Vine clip of it is painful.

Steve Buckhantz said on the TV broadcast that Ariza got extra shots up in Oklahoma City on Saturday night. Well, he needs to sprinkle in some free throws because his 0-for-5 showing at the charity stripe hindered the Wizards shot at the upset. The box score won’t indicate it, but his defense on Durant was mostly excellent. Ariza made KD earn his tough shots. The Durantula drilled the big ones. He is the most prominent basketball scorer in the world for a reason. —A. McGinnis


4 out of 5 stars

25 mins | 14 pts | 5-6 FGs | 4-10 FTs | 7 rebs | 6 asts | 1 blk

What a game by Nene (at least on the offensive end, not including free throw shooting … he gave Ibaka way too much space along the perimeter and around the basket).

He opening the scoring with a 17-foot face-up jumper over Ibaka. The Brazilian then used a drop step to create space for a finger roll finish. And a minute later, Nene ripped down an offensive rebound over Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins before outmaneuvering them both for the put-back.

Nene outscored the Thunder 6-0 in the first three minutes. #Blessed with an arsenal of post moves, fake passes, dribble drives, and the smarts to locate 3-point shooters, Nene produced 29 points during the game—one point fewer than Wall in 15 fewer minutes. It could have been even more, had he not missed more than half of his game-high 10 attempts from the free throw line.

Man, if only he’d kept his mouth shut and hands to himself. —J.C. Townsend

Marcin Gortat

3.5 out of 5 stars

39 mins | 11 pts | 4-9 FGs | 3-5 FTs | 8 rebs | 4 blks | 1 TO

Gortat struggled on offense early, starting 0-for-5 from the field in the first half. But unlike Wizards knuckleheads of the past, his didn’t let missed shots get him down, as he also added six rebounds, three blocks, and two assists to his first half totals. Gortat went 4-for-4 from the field after halftime, two of those buckets coming on excellent baseline spin moves in overtime after Nene was ejected. Gortat is driving and initiating contact more than he did in Phoenix, and he is also showing improvment on defensive rotations, proving to be well-worth the first rounder that the Wizards gave up for him, assuming Washington can retain the 29-year-old at a reasonable rate after the season. —K. Weidie

Al Harrington

3 out of 5 stars

22 mins | 11 pts | 4-10 FGs | 3-6 3Ps | 2 ast2 | 2 TOs | 1 reb

The headband that Harrington wears around his head is like a life ring for the Wizards’ second unit. More than simply a 3-point jacker, I appreciate his occasional attempts to force the dribble into the lane—you gotta make the defense think that you are a threat, after all. Harrington’s 2.9 turnovers per 36 minutes are, however, third-worst on the Wizards, after John Wall (3.3, understandable), and Kevin Seraphin (4.0, borderline intolerable), so “Uncle Al” needs to clean that up. But otherwise, Wiz Kids can learn from the vet who started off poorly in this first quarter, stuck with it, nailed some big 3s, and, more importantly, drew two huge charging calls against the Thunder . —K. Weidie

Martell Webster

2 out of 5 stars

29 mins | 8 pts | 3-10 FGs | 1-7 3Ps | 5 rebs | 4 PFs

Early in the contest, Webster was trying too hard to rebound from a poor outing versus the Nets. He shot a terrible contested 3, fumbled away an easy lay-up chance, fouled Jeremy Lamb on a 3-point shot and had poor spacing on the court with Ariza. In the second half, he regrouped and looked like the guy deserving of his long term contract. Martell knocked down some key shots and played much more within himself. —A. McGinnis

Kevin Seraphin

3 out of 5 stars

13 mins | 2 pts | 1-3 FGs | 2 rebs | 1 ast | 1 stl | 3 PFs

Seraphin actually finished the game with a team-high plus-7 in plus/minus. His contributions on the defensive side of the ball with the second unit were as important to that line as they were uncharacteristic. He helped Martell Webster trap Kevin Durant in the half-court corner to force a turnover, for example, and got away with a foul on Westbrook to force a jump ball, which he won, again saving points.

On the other side of the ball, Seraphin rattled home a shimmy turnaround jumper over Steven Adams, which was nice. But his play of the day (season?) was a bounce pass to Webster, cutting baseline, who slammed the ball home before unveiling the Wizard for the first time in this 2013-14 campaign. Seraphin’s quick decision-making and team play gave the Wizards their biggest lead of the game.

Against the Thunder, the Black Hole gave back. Encouraging. —J.C. Townsend

Eric Maynor

0.5 out of 5 Stars

13 mins | 0 pts | 0-1 FGs | 0-1 3Ps | 2 asts | 2 rebs | 1 stl | 2 TOs

My game notes were littered with negative scribbles about Eric Maynor’s performance. I can’t sugarcoat it anymore: he was awful. He committed only his second turnover of the season, but that doesn’t depict how he struggles getting the second unit into simple offensive sets. Maynor often dribbles the ball around with no direction, picks it up, then tosses it to a teammate that has to jack up a quick shot before the shot clock expires. His mediocre defense isn’t picking up the slack for his poor decision-making, either. It is still early and there’s plenty of time to turn it around, but his signing has not be an upgrade over last year’s back up point guard, A.J. Price, and it is looking more like a mistake. Oh, and stop throwing lobs to Kevin Seraphin. —A. McGinnis


The Beal World:


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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.