D.C. Council Game 5: Wizards 112 vs Nets 108: Give Up the Ghost, Nene and Wiz Survive OT | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

D.C. Council Game 5: Wizards 112 vs Nets 108: Give Up the Ghost, Nene and Wiz Survive OT

Updated: November 9, 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. 5: Wizards vs. Nets; contributors: Sean Fagan and Adam McGinnis from the Verizon Center, and Kyle Weide from in front of his television screen. 

Washington Wizards 112 vs Brooklyn Nets 108 (OT)
[box score]

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DC Council Key Legislature

Did you wake up this morning in a state of confusion? Are you still slightly hungover from the exhilaration? Most likely you are suffering from “post-Wizards win” syndrome. Common signs include victories over teams predicted by pundits to be one of the top four teams in the East (in this case the Nets), the Wizards doing things they don’t often do (win in overtime) and lesser miracles such as Nene being empowered by the spirit to rise up and block a Kevin Garnett shot, which sent a somber Phone Booth crowd into hysterics.

Rarer still is when a Wizards win reveals more about the opposition than it does about the men in red and blue. The Wizards didn’t necessarily “expose” the Nets, but did reveal some gaping holes in the armor of an Eastern Conference favorite. The first possible fatal flaw is that the Nets simply do not have enough divergent talent to change the flow of the game in their favor. Jason Terry is a lesser Joe Johnson, Andray Blatche is one-fourth Kevin Garnett, and Shaun Livingston may run the point better than Deron Williams, but is slow and plodding and less of an offensive threat. The only player who appears to fundamentally shift the way the Nets play from possession to possession is Reggie Evans, who does Reggie Evans things that drive opponents crazy. For all their vaunted depth, the Nets look like a one-note team that is already breaking down in Game 5 of the regular season. Add to the mix Father Time’s decision to cash in his credits on Paul Pierce and Garnett (and the fact that they were almost held scoreless by a porous Wizards defense), and it all adds up to a team that looks more like a 7 or 8 seed (sound familiar?) and not the natural inheritors of Miami’s throne.

One actually learned less about the Wizards Friday night and more or less confirmed several things that have been suspected all along. If Nene is healthy, playing in his preferred spot of power forward, and is on the floor with at least one shooter who can spread the floor, then he can still be a dominating presence. Of course, this also calls for it to be a full moon, Venus to be on the rise, and the the oil prices in Brazil to have stabilized. Marcin Gortat is going to be a very good center for the Washington Wizards on the offensive end and complements both John Wall and Nene, but he isn’t Emeka Okafor on the defensive end and isn’t able to clean up mistakes if the perimeter defense lapses.

Further, the second unit is still Chernobyl. Martell Webster continues to get frozen out on offense and got torched by Jason Terry on defense, Kevin Seraphin looked more or less lost for the entire evening, and Eric Maynor continues to pound the rock for 12 seconds per possession. If not for Al Harrington and his YMCA game, the Wizards would probably be heading to Oklahoma City on the heels of a loss, and a 1-4 record. This lack of growth from the current second unit is going to force Randy Wittman to have to go deeper to his bench sooner rather than later. Whether it be Jan Vesely taking away some of Kevin Seraphin’s minutes or Garrett Temple spelling Eric Maynor, Wittman is going to have to go back to the kitchen to figure out what cook, because his currently tight “playoff” rotation is only really six men deep.

—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)


DC Council Chair

Like all defined divas, Nene also can deliver the goods when it matters. It’s why we tolerate their drama-filled ways. Simply put, the Wizards are a significantly better team with Nene on the court and can be a highly competitive one when he excels like he did against Brooklyn. He took over down the stretch with two and-1 opportunities and had 12 points in fourth quarter. Nene even broke out a dancing jig after one tough basket against Kevin Garnett. His game-tying tip-in was the play of the game before Trevor Ariza’s huge 3-ball in overtime.

The momentum changer was when Nene swatted Garnett in second quarter. It electrified the crowd and his teammates fed off the energy. When I asked Nene about that play, he told me that that the “holy spirit” lifted him to make the block. #PrayForNene is a real thing.

—Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis)


DC Council Vetoed Participation

Martell Webster is the easy choice for putting up a goose egg in scoring column. His only shot attempt was a forced 3 with nine minutes remaining in game. Martell is making half of his 3-point attempts on the season (10-for-20), and the Wizards must do a better job at getting him looks—maybe run some plays for him?! It was nice to see Webster rooting for his teammates and standing throughout the final moments of game. There was no Bradley Beal-like pouting, and such is expected from a real pro like Martell.

—Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis)


DC Council Top Aide

Hello, Cowboy Al Harrington. R.I.P., Cowboy Al Thornton … that’s how the WizzNutzz put it.

Harrington shoots from the hip, but they are often open shots. For the most part, Wittman’s lineups featuring Harrington have found a way to hide him on defense. But the cowboy has also displayed a Tex-Mex combination of handles, dribbles that don’t always work out well, and deceptiveness in getting to the hoop. Harrington ain’t no bow-legged chap. One of Washington’s better offensive lineups features Wall, Beal, Webster, Harrington and Gortat—the best reasonable 3-point shooting lineup a Wittman can field. Harrington kept the Wizards afloat by going 2-for-2 from long distance in each of the game’s first two quarters. All four makes were assisted—two by Wall, one by Maynor, and one by Webster. To make it extra sweet, Andray Blatche gave up the first two, lazily chasing as Harrington dribbled back into position behind the arc on the first make, and then Reggie Evans and Andrei Kirilenko got in on the ‘give too much space to Al’ action.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


DC Council Session

That Session Was … A Back-and-Forth Slug-Fest.

The box score says there were only seven lead changes. At first glance, that number seems low. But if each lead change signifies a dramatic shift in momentum instead of a simple exchange of baskets (without much resistance), then seven seems about right. That game was a slug fest. Stars (aging and upcoming), spectacular plays, and derp moments all added to the drama.

Brooklyn punched in the paint first. Brook Lopez to be exact (and nary another Net). The Wizards had no answer for the All-Star big, and by the grace of 3-point shooting (Beal with two, Harrington with two, and Wall with one in the first quarter), Washington was able to keep it respectable. Harrington added two more 3s in the second quarter and the Wizards were able to stay within five points at half, despite getting out-scored 17-0 in second-chance points while sending Brooklyn to the free throw line for 14 attempts (10 makes). The home team was only 2-for-2 on free throws by half.

Wittman’s Wizards threw a fury of punches to start the third, outscoring Brooklyn 18-4 in the quarter’s first eight minutes and 10 seconds. Washington turned the Nets over seven times and racked up six fastbreak points en route to a nine point lead (and without hitting single 3-pointer). But that goodwill was reversed by Joe Johnson, who scored seven points in an 11-2 Brooklyn run to end the third which tied the game at 73.

As the night would have it, Brooklyn countered to start the fourth, and the evening started to grow grim for the Wizards. Just as Marcin Gortat was checked back into the game for Al Harrington over halfway through the quarter, the Nets had build an 11-point lead. But with Marcin and Nene doing work in a span of three minutes (4:30 to 1:30), the Wizards outscored Brooklyn 16-4 with Nene the G.O.D. scoring 10 points himself. From there on out, the bigs leaving their imprint on the game—Nene, Garnett, Lopez, and Gortat—ensured that there would be overtime.

John Wall and Deron Williams exchanged blows early in the extra session, but ultimately it was Wall’s athletic drives (which allowed a big Nene put-back), reliable free throw makes from both Wall and Beal, and, finally, a lucky Trevor Ariza 3, which made it a good night in the boxing ring of Wizards Nation.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


DC Council Mayor

Randy Wittman declared the performance a “gutty” win (or in Wittmanese a “gooty win”) and went on to laud the accomplishments of his starters, in particular praising Nene for his all around impact and John Wall for his deft handling of the offense on an off-shooting night. What went unremarked upon was Wittman’s own confusing decisions during the game, some of which were almost Eddie Jordanish in their execution. Matched up against opposing coach Jason Kidd, the contest was a game of checkers rather than one of chess. In the third quarter, after having obtained a nine-point lead lead on the backs of his starters, Wittman threw out a small-ball lineup that consisted of Maynor, Beal, Webster, Seraphin, and Harrington. While interesting in theory, the lineup that should have played up-tempo (the speed at which the Wizards took control of the game) and spread the floor, but instead decided to run ISO plays for Al Harrington and slog the pace down to a crawl. Wittman then went back to his starters, with the exception of Gortat, and the Wizards almost kicked the game away until Gortat was finally reinserted into the game with 5:15 remaining. More confusing still was Wittman’s insertion of an ice-cold Garrett Temple for defensive purposes on the Nets’ final offensive possession during regulation. Garrett Temple promptly fouled Paul Pierce attempting a 3-pointer*, and if Pierce had not missed a free throw, the game would have most likely ended then and there.

—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)

*[Ed Note: Pierce totally travelled, the foul call was questionable, but Garrett Temple’s just the type who would be on the wrong end of a ref’s whistle against a veteran like Pierce. A questionable decision nonetheless. -KW]


DC Council Players

John Wall

4 out of 5 stars

43 mins | 17 pts | 4-14 FGs | 1-4 3Ps | 14 asts | 4 stl | 4 TOs | 6 rebs

Basketball sure is a funny sport, because a play here or there can be the difference between being labeled the hero or the goat. With Wizards down two with 30 seconds remaining in regulation, John Wall tried to find Beal on a curl and threw it right to Kevin Garnett. Then, after a Nets miss, Wall was rejected by Garnett at the rim, but the Wizards retained possession. On the ensuing out of bounds play, Wall freelanced a shot at the rim that missed. Wall was then saved by Nene’s tip that forced overtime. But Wall’s four OT points, which included a smooth mid-range jumper, helped propel the Wizards to their second win. So now we can discuss in mostly positive pixels how Wall was instrumental in leading his team to an improbable comeback with a huge crunch time steal and an assist to Nene. Wall’s shot was off, but he got to the foul line eight times and eased concerns that he would rely on his newfound outside touch too much. Wall’s assist-to-turnover ratio was over 3-to-1. His counterpart, Deron Williams, was 1-to-2. Enough said. John Wall’s current per game averages: 19.6 points, 9.8 assists, 2.4 steals, and 39 percent from 3-point land. He is second in the NBA in assists behind Chris Paul and tied for 10th in steals. His decision this past summer to get tattoos sure did mess up his game, didn’t it? —A. McGinnis

Bradley Beal

3 out of 5 stars

46 mins | 29 pts | 11-20 FGs | 3-6 3Ps | 2 asts | 2 TOs | 3 rebs

The defensive effort waxes and wanes (it’s Alan Anderson, Brad), but the impact of Beal on the offensive end can’t be understated. Beal terrorized the Nets all night long by alternating between aggressively slashing to the basket (including two wet-your-pants inducing tomahawk dunks) and killing Joe Johnson off of quick screens and hitches. —S. Fagan

Trevor Ariza

2 out of 5 stars

44 mins | 5 pts | 1-5 3ps | 2-8 FGs | 1 reb | 3 stls | 3 asts | 3 TOs

Ariza’s game will continue to frustrate for the most part. He will continue to start (probably because he would be an absolute mess with an already messy second unti). And Ariza will continue to be a threat to make a game-changing steal or 3-pointer at any time. He did such against Brooklyn with a huge 3 with 40 seconds left in overtime. Otherwise, you see the poor statline above … barely a rebound.

Also keep in mind: Ariza doesn’t have much trade value unless the Wizards are willing to take more contract years back (likely not), so expect him to play out his value the best he can and walk after the season, opening up valuable space under the cap and, ideally, playing time for Otto Porter. (Otto will play eventually, folks.) —K. Weidie


4.5 out of 5 stars

35 mins | 20 pts | 8-12 FGs | 4-7 FTs | 8 rebs | 3 asts | 1 stl | 2 TOs | 1 blk

Nene after the game:

“I think this game was like boxing, like MMA, even though the game was tiring, the game was on our side. The way we played, the way we committed to share the ball, to help each other, it was amazing. It was good for whoever watched the game and very sore, very painful for who played.”

Exactly, Nene, and that’s why you get paid the big bucks. To take being sore and not bitch about it too much, even though you do anyway. Thanks for suiting up, by the way, you were a warrior down the stretch. And, of course, we all loved your happy feet plantar dance. So on nights like this, you bring the whine and I’ll gladly supply the cheese. —K. Weidie

Marcin Gortat

4 out of 5 stars

35 mins | 15 pts | 6-11 FGs | 3-5 FTs | 12 rebs | 2 blks | 0 TOs

The Polish Machine gobbled up his third straight double-double and was a key reason why the Wizards pulled out the victory. After Brook Lopez got the best of their match-up in first half with 18 points, Gortat buckled down and limited him to only five points in the second half and overtime. Gortat’s defensive presence allowed Nene to flourish in crunch time and the chemistry between the two is not limited to the court. There is a real life bromance brewing between the Brazilian and Polish big man. They could not stop praising one another in locker room afterwards. Nene said that Marcin owes him $150 for all the assists he is providing. Also, Marcin’s suit game was on point (get some pointers, Mr. Otto Porter), and his English is outstanding. —A. McGinnis

Al Harrington

3 out of 5 stars

25 mins | 15 pts | 5-11 FGs | 4-6 3Ps | 1 ast | 2 TOs | 2 rebs

Beal calls the 16-year vet, “Uncle Al,” and Uncle Al sure did display an old man, rec league type of game on Friday night. Harrington would lumber down the court, barely get to 3-point line and then fire away when ball came his way. It was not visually pleasant, but damn effective. Uncle Al drilled all four of his 3-pointers in first half. It crucially kept the Wiz in game while the offense struggled throughout opening half. Harrington slipped some in second half, and his minutes are still worth monitoring. —A. McGinnis

Martell Webster

0 out of 5 stars

16 mins | 0 pts | 0-1 FGs | 0-1 3Ps | 2 asts | 4 PFs

It kills me to do this but Martell was simply terrible in all facets of Friday night’s game. Disappearing completely on offense (he needs to start demanding the ball from Maynor) and getting lit up by an ancient Jason “JET” Terry (who happens to be his cousin), Webster has yet to find a sweet spot on the team in which he can thrive. Perhaps he needs to get more selfish like fellow SF Trevor Ariza and just start putting it up at will, or perhaps someone needs to slowly explain to Eric Maynor that he has a player who is averaging 50 percent from 3-point distance playing with him. The sight of Webster patiently waiting in the corner to take his shot while Maynor dribbles for eternity or while Kevin Seraphin backs into a double team is painful to watch. —S. Fagan

Kevin Seraphin

0 out of 5 stars

11 mins | 6 pts | 3-5 FGs | 0-0 FTs | 3 rebs | 2 TOs | 3 PFs

Kevin Seraphin, to say the least, has learned nothing. But surely the Wizards will keep working with him … keep pushing that rock up the hill like Flip Saunders dressed as Sisyphus for Halloween. The following is a serious suggestion: there must be some sort of basketball reaction-time brain games app that can be installed on Kevin’s phone. (AOL, anyone?)

There are three Twitter Vines buried at the bottom of this post: 1) Seraphin getting baited into a foul by Reggie Evans; 2) Seraphin trying to bull Evans with his head down and turning the ball over; and 3) Seraphin trying a step-back, turn-around fadeaway off of one foot against Evans and firing up an airball. This kind of stuff is a) unacceptable; b) could cost the Wizards in major ways this season; and 3) might lead Randy Wittman to turn to Jan Vesely as an option. —K. Weidie

Eric Maynor

1 out of 5 Stars

10 mins | 5 pts | 2-6 FGs | 1-2 3Ps | 2 asts | 1 stl | 1 TO

It looked so promising. The less time you give Eric Maynor to make a decision, the better decisions he makes. On his first few trips down the court, Maynor quickly got the ball into the hands of an open Al Harrington and let Uncle Al take over. However, if an offensive option wasn’t instantly available to him, Maynor returned to his infuriating, pound the ball and wait style of basketball. Already a poor half court team, Maynor is further reducing the effectiveness of the second unit rather than enabling it. —S. Fagan


Let’s not end on a total bummer…


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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.