D.C. Council Game 4: Wizards 116 at 76ers 102: Cheese and Steak’d, Wiz Win One in Philly | Truth About It.net

D.C. Council Game 4: Wizards 116 at 76ers 102: Cheese and Steak’d, Wiz Win One in Philly

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Updated: November 7, 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. 4: Wizards at 76ers; contributors: Rashad Mobley, Adam McGinnis, and Conor Dirks from in front of their television screens. 

Washington Wizards 116 at Philadelphia 76ers 102
[box score]


Jump to Council Player Ratings


 

DC Council Key Legislature

Philadelphia has recently been a city of Brotherly Pain for the Washington Wizards, who had dropped five straight games at Wells Fargo Center with no victories there in the John Wall era. With a negative cloud surrounding the team’s winless season and the national media buzzards swirling, it was imperative that the Wizards jump out to a strong start. In their two previous road losses against Detroit and Miami, sluggish beginnings made Washington play a futile game of catch-up.

Piling up an impressive 39 points in the first quarter is exactly what was needed to put the Wizards on a path to their first victory. Comcast Sports analyst Phil Chenier called it a “blitzkrieg,” and it certainly was an array of offensive explosions. The first-quarter team stats: 39 points, 16-for-30 FGs, 6-for-8 3-pointers, 12 assists, and zero turnovers.

It offered a glimpse at what this group can do when running on full cylinders. Wall pushing the pace with Beal/Ariza/Webster dashing to corner 3-point line, Gortat and Nene running the court to clean up any misses, and Al Harrington trailing on the break for open looks. The spacing and decision-making was exceptional—key foundations to the Wizards finally moving their win total to one.

—Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis)


 

DC Council Chair

John Wall hadn’t played as poorly as his team in three losses, and so it was appropriate that he stayed a cut ahead when the team was playing well. Assists in the morning, points in the evening, pizza at suppertime.

Before heating himself up (alright, enough with the “bagel bites” talk), Wall made sure to get his teammates involved with five assists in the first quarter. The emphasis on distribution worked: team confidence swelled, egos were appeased, and there was little need for the kind of shots the Wizards have been insisting on taking. All this despite the fact that, even in the win, the team was inconsistent in their dedication to set plays.

The best news for Wall, and for the Wizards, is that John showed excellence in two of the areas he’s criticized most for (by me even, in TAI’s player preview) as a player: 3-point shooting and limiting turnovers. In fact, with five 3-pointers in the game (a career-high, obviously), Wall hit more long balls in one night than he during the entirety of the 2011-12 lockout-shortened season. The coup de grace was, of course, the totally unnecessary deep shot Wall hit on Washington’s last real possession, so temporally insignificant that the world was deprived of Wizards play-by-play man Steve Buckhantz’s famed “Dagger!” Last week against Philadelphia, Wall shared the stage with, and eventually gave it up to, Michael Carter-Williams. This time around? Nah.

And speaking of “nah”…

—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)


 

DC Council Vetoed Participation

Nene played well in his return from a honeymoon on attention island, and showed very little evidence of the injury which scratched him from the lineup during Washington’s second and third games. So, why is his name on the page here? In lieu of suggesting that there was one player whose contributions taken as a whole should be judged in the harsh light of day, and in celebration of winning a game in November this time around, I’ve elected to pay homage to an in-game novella known as “When Nene Keeping It Real Goes Wrong.”

At the 7:54 mark in the second quarter, with the Wizards up eight, winning 43-35, Nene took a short-range hook shot, which missed. Less than two minutes later, Nene had taken three more shots, including a 17-foot jumper with time on the shot clock. None of those shots went in, and by the time another Wizard made a shot, the Sixers had come within three points.

These two minutes were anomalous, though, and if one could somehow delete them from the game, Nene would have been 4-for-6, and I’d have to mention how bad Kevin Seraphin’s eight minutes of play were.

—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)


 

DC Council Top Aide

Marcin Gortat. The long-awaited debut of Nene and Marcin in the starting lineup finally happened, and Marcin did not disappoint. He set the tone by scoring eight of the Wizards’ first 15 points. He also ran some offense from the high post, which allowed Nene to freely operate in the low post. Gortat grabbed five offensive rebounds, just missed on at least five others, and added seven defensive rebounds to boot. Most importantly, unlike Seraphin and Booker, who always seem to be tentative on offense and overmatched on defense, Gortat was decisive and effective on both ends of the floor.

Normally, I’d write about how excited I am about the potential of he and Nene in the starting lineup together, but the I don’t dare go up against the “Curse o’ Les Boulez.”

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)


 

DC Council Session

That Session Was … A Plan Coming Together.

This has been a quite a week for Ernie Grunfeld. On Tuesday night his relationship with Bernard King was celebrated via a 30 for 30 special on ESPN. On Wednesday night the team he handpicked, the team Ted Leonsis laid his playoff hopes on, actually looked and played like a cohesive unti. John Wall, “The Franchise,” led the team with 3-point shooting and assists. Bradley Beal’s shot wasn’t as fluid as he would have liked, but he still had 17 points and eight assists. Martell Webster, the man Grunfeld re-signed for $22 million over four years, scored a season-high 14 points, and he hit some timely baskets in the second quarter. Nene and Grunfeld’s most recent acquisition, Gortat, combined for 29 points, 17 rebounds, four assists and three blocks. Now if Jan Vesely could only get off the bench…

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)


 

DC Council Mayor

I have no idea if Randy Wittman drinks or not but I sure would like buy him a celebratory adult beverage. Hell, I would even coax him into some victory fireball shots. The NBA has 12 new head coaches this season so the national media has a thin list of potential candidates to whip up faux outrage over and assist in their removal. ESPN’s Bill Simmons, Tom Ziller, The Starters, Yahoo! Sports, and Jalen Rose have all started to speculate on Wittman’s employment status. They want him fired or think he will be the first coach canned. Even Heat beat writers were making lame wisecracks against Randy. All of this because the Wizards were 0-3, instead of 1-2 in a 82 game season. The owner’s playoff declarations and public refusal of injury excuses didn’t help with scrutiny on the head coach.

A loss in Philadelphia would have only increased the cackles and Randy needed this win to mute the critics. The Wizards delivered and the team is a home win over Brooklyn on Friday night from quickly flipping the narrative. Wittman’s decision to roll with a nine-man rotation versus Philly worked out. Gortat and Nene’s chemistry is developing nicely and it will be interesting to see how the coach utilizes the Polish Hammer’s offensive strengths moving forward.

—Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis)


 

DC Council Players

John Wall

4 out of 5 stars

36 mins | 24 pts | 5-8 3Ps | 8-16 FGs | 9 asts | 1 stl | 2 TOs | 3 rebs

The “Game Changer” earned his nickname with a dominant floor game in Philadelphia on Wednesday night. Wall got his teammates going early by finding them in transition and in the half court. The main storyline out of this game is Wall’s five made 3-pointers, which is two more than he made during his entire sophomore NBA season. Throughout his Wiz career, the ball would swing to Wall at 3-point line, and he would immediately hesitate by either passing up the open look or launching a slow, hitched-spoiled set shot. The offensive advantage of quick ball movement was lost. This is no longer the case—his jumper looks fluid, a development that could be a scary situation for the rest of the league. —A. McGinnis

Bradley Beal

3 out of 5 stars

39 mins | 17 pts | 3-9 3ps | 7-20 FGs | 8 asts | 3 stls | 2 TOs | 5 rebs

Bradley Beal’s performance was the equivalent of a pitcher scattering eight hits, giving up three runs, but getting the victory. He only shot 35 percent from the field, but he shunned the sulking and bad body language this time around, and played a complete game with eight assists and three steals. —R. Mobley

Trevor Ariza

2 out of 5 stars

35 mins | 15 pts | 3-4 3ps | 5-10 FGs | 6 rebs | 3 stls | 3 asts

I feel bad scoring Ariza so poorly when he had 15 points, six rebounds and three steals—below his season averages of 17 points and 10 rebounds, but still way more than anyone could have expected. However, he was guarding Evan Turner, who scored 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting, and those points came much too easily. Ariza’s three steals were impressive, but letting Turner score 17 points in the second half was not. —R. Mobley

Nene

3.5 out of 5 stars

29 min | 10 pts | 4-10 FGs | 2-2 FT | 5 rebs | 2 asts | 1 stl | 1 TO | 2 blks

This was the type of insiders only Nene game that box score watchers would dismiss as pedestrian. Nene’s mostly excellent defense on Thaddeus Young made Young the only member of Philadelphia’s frontcourt (starters or bench players) with a field goal percentage of less than 50 percent (Young shot 3-for-11).

Paired with Marcin Gortat, Nene was able to find pockets of space on offense that may not often have existed in previous Washington offenses. Gortat commands the attention of his defender when he floats out of the paint, and the resultant operating area around the basket will be gold for a “versatile” big like Nene, who will provide similar benefits, in a “Wizards with benefits” relationship, to Gortat. —C. Dirks

Marcin Gortat

4 out of 5 stars

38 min | 19 pts | 8-12 FG | 3-3 FT | 12 rebs | 2 ast| 1 blk | 1 TO

The testosterone was pumping for Gortat against the Sixers. If he can duplicate performances like this one against better opponents, the sting of losing a first-rounder for his rental will dissipate in the minds of many. With Nene back, Gortat’s rebounding numbers were inflated, as they often will be due to Nene’s “no, you” style of rebounding. Marcin’s strength, his versatility on offense, was on full display, and he made it look easy from midrange.

The defense, though, is still an issue: Philly scored 42 points in the paint, far less than the 74 allowed in the first game between the teams, but more than Wittman would have liked. Also important to note: Gortat’s “mark,” Spencer Hawes, had a big game for Philadelphia, with 23 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists. —C. Dirks

Al Harrington

3.5 out of 5 stars

17 mins | 10 pts | 2-4 3ps | 4-9 FGs | 1 ast | 0 stls | 2 TOs | 2 rebs

Who can take a sunrise, sprinkle it with dew…

Washington’s “Cheddar Cheese” man does things that no other Wizards backup big can. He took his shots, stretched the floor, intentionally encouraged contact on an easy layup for the foul, and, most impressively, recognized an open lane and took it on his own 33-year-old feet for the dunk. Harrington turned it over a few times and made some strange decisions, but what Al Harrington does is what the Wizards need. Now, if he would play more defense. —C. Dirks

Martell Webster

3 out of 5 stars

26 mins | 14 pts | 4-10 FGs | 4-7 3Ps | 4 rebs | 3 asts | 0 TOs

Martell is still struggling in his new role on the second unit and sometimes is trying to do too much instead of letting the game come to him. But Webster’s hot hand from last season is back, as he nailed four more triples and is now shooting 52.6 percent on 3-pointers (10-for-19). His two late fourth-quarter 3-balls sealed Washington’s victory. —A. McGinnis

Kevin Seraphin

0 out of 5 stars

8 mins | 2 pts | 1-4 FGs | 0-0 FTs | 2 rebs

This type of game was Seraphin’s worst nightmare. Gortat and Nene played well together, which meant Coach Wittman had little use for his inconsistent skill set. When Seraphin was on the floor, he botched lobs from Al Harrington and he unnecessarily fouled Daniel Orton in the post. —R. Mobley

Eric Maynor

2 out of 5 Stars

12 mins | 5 pts | 1-1 3p | 2-7 FGs | 3 asts | 0 stls | 0 TOs | 1 reb

The Wizards treaded water with Maynor in the game. He didn’t shoot well at all and ran the shot clock down before some of his poor decisions (shots). But Maynor also didn’t turn the ball over. The Alex Smith of point guards, for a night. —C. Dirks