D.C. Council Game 16: Wizards 73 at Pacers 93: John Wall Brought to a Screeching Halt | Truth About It.net

D.C. Council Game 16: Wizards 73 at Pacers 93: John Wall Brought to a Screeching Halt

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Updated: November 30, 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. 16: Wizards at Pacers; contributors: Rashad Mobley, Kyle Weidie and Sean Fagan watching the television broadcast. Because sometimes the game goes like that…

Washington Wizards 73 at Indiana Pacers 93
[box score]


Jump to Council Player Ratings


 

DC Council Key Legislature

It is always interesting to watch a game play out in which the narrative had already been established before the players set foot on the court. Friday night, the excuses were pre-made and ready prior to tipoff. The best team in in the Eastern Conference (Indiana) against a team missing two vital offensive cogs and having just survived a hard-fought OT win over Milwaukee. This would not be #SoWizards, it would be #SoExpected.

The problem is for that narrative to gain any traction, everything has to play out according to how you pictured it in your head. Every time you watch “Bambi,” his mother dies in the same exact way, which leads to the tears of many children. To leave Indiana with your head held high and to follow the path of the narrative, you have battle them throughout the game before their superiority eventually asserts itself while leaving just enough room to say, “If the Wizards had Nene or Beal, they might have stolen that one.”

Unfortunately, the Wizards refused to follow the prescribed narrative and instead decided to not show up in Indiana at all, at least physically. Having managed to hang in the game through two quarters through some surprisingly effective play from their much-maligned bench, the second half of the game was a different story, as the Pacers blew the doors off the game and embarrassed the Wizards in all facets of play. There were ill-advised passes from John Wall and Eric Maynor that George Hill seemed to pick off at will, stunted offensive possessions that ended with Trevor Ariza throwing up octo-prayers, and a defensive effort so shoddy that Lance Stephenson looked like he was playing in Rucker Park.

The Wizards may not have had much of a chance in the game, but to be so thoroughly demolished is a sign that the team came in fully braced to lose, and once the narrative started playing out as expected, the team rolled over and let Indiana become the Harlem Globetrotters. A glass half-full person would point to the fact that no team likes getting skunked, so the Wizards will come out ready to play tonight against the Hawks. A glass half-empty person points to the fact leadership still remains an issue if your team can get rolled so completely.

—Sean Fagan  (@McCarrick)


 

DC Council Chair

It is quite a tall order to be tasked with choosing the most valuable player on a night when the Wizards committed 17 turnovers and scored just 37 second-half points in a 20-point loss. But if my arm is twisted, and I am forced to select an MVP from tonight’s bunch, Marcin Gortat would be my reluctant selection. In the first half, Gortat used his strength to force Roy Hibbert just outside of the paint every time he caught the ball, and held him to just three points over the first two quarters. Gortat was easily the most consistent Wizard on the offensive side of the ball with 17 points, although he should have gotten more touches in the paint, considering Hibbert was, surprisingly, powerless against Gortat’s superior strength. And let’s not forget the Polish Hammer’s Hakeem Olajuwon impression…

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)


 

DC Council Vetoed Participation

It is tough to blame John Wall for his subpar play, considering he was facing one of the best defenses in the NBA. Not only could the Pacers clog Wall’s driving lanes with David West and Roy Hibbert, but also George Hill, Paul George and Lance Stephenson made it their business to seemingly deflect every pass, and to sprint back on defense before Wall could gain any momentum in the open court. But on more than one occasion this season, Wall has made it clear that he wants to be recognized as the best point guard in the NBA, and part of the responsibility in wearing that crown is having the ability to step up when two of the best players on the team (Nene and Bradley Beal) are injured. Wall fell in love with his jumper, played with little patience, had no impact on the defensive end of the floor, and was arguably outplayed by Eric Maynor, which would have been blasphemous to say at any other point this season. The one time Wall let the offense come to him, he drove the lane for an easy layup in a half court set, but that display of patience was a rarity.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)


 

DC Council Top Aide

The Pacers bench. It is a shame that the award has to be given to the opposition, but everything that was said about the Pacers’ upgraded bench in the offseason is true and stands in stark contrast to the paper-thin situation that exists on the Wizards. Every starter on the Pacers has a backup on the bench who is able to spell him for large portions of time without a significant dropoff in play. In Indiana, the chasm between the Wizards’ starters and their bench was not as large as normal (because everyone was terrible), but it further demonstrated that good teams make the playoffs by having pieces that can contribute and keep the starters from tiring out. The Wizards do not have the luxury of that situation.

—Sean Fagan  (@McCarrick)


 

DC Council Session

That Session Was … A HALT!

The Wizards got blanked in fastbreak points for the first time this season. Washington’s previous season-low was four fastbreak points in Oklahoma City. The only other single-figure efforts came in games one and three against Detroit and Miami. And now zero on Friday night in Indiana.

Tough Pacers defense can take partial responsibility. [Correction: this post previously inaccurately stated the fastbreak points (FBPs) allowed per game by Indiana. After Friday's game, the Pacers allow opponents to score 8.9 FBPs per game, fewest in the NBA.]

More blame falls on the shoulders of the Wizards. Nene being out surely had something to do with Indiana getting 15 offensive rebounds, second-most given up on the season for Washington (16 to OKC) and something that surely hindered the ability to run.

Most of the stoppage, however, falls on John Wall’s shoulders. He settled for jump shots and didn’t find seams to push the issue. Sure, the Pacers game-planned for Wall’s speed and power in the open court, but Wall not earning a single free throw adds to the case against him.

Wall averaged a career-high 6.2 free throw attempts per 36 minutes last season. This season he’s fielding a career-low 4.9. This season, Wall has done a much better job displaying an understanding of pace, especially when it comes to setting up pick-and-rolls, but even when he’s finding a spot for his jumper. Now he’s got to display much more balance, get to the line, and understand that he has to will his way to making an impression on the game against tough teams like the Pacers, instead of buying into any ‘on to the next one’ malaise.

—Kyle Weidie  (@Truth_About_It)


 

DC Council Mayor

“Hard to win without Nene and Bradley Beal.”

That was the rising sentiment surrounding the Wizards organization after the loss. And it’s true, but also, it’s bullshit. A more accurate statement:

“Hard to compete with the struggling bench players that Washington has put in its cupboard.” 

Probably more words in that sentence than needs to be, but the point is that the Chicago Bulls aren’t over there saying, “Hard to win without Derrick Rose.”

OK, so they probably are saying that in Chicago … after Rose’s second knee injury, but as last season proved, the Bulls still have playoff talent and guys off the bench who can step up otherwise when called upon. Is it Tom Thibodeau, how the Bulls construct their roster, or both?

Randy Wittman after the Pacers came via CSN Washington:

“We’ve lost Bradley along with [Nene], your leading scorer and everything. That’s no excuse. It happens to every team in the league. You lose a guy, a guy goes out, guys got to step in. … It’s not an excuse. Indiana beat us tonight. It had nothing to do with who is available.”

Other players aren’t stepping up (and it’s also on them), and the Wizards lost by 20. Someone is not doing their job.

For Wittman, the task is made tougher when his game-planning hinges on the whims of Nene’s availability.

—Kyle Weidie  (@Truth_About_It)


 

DC Council Players

John Wall

1 out of 5 stars

34 mins | minus-15 | 8 pts | 4-14 FGs | 0-2 3Ps | 0-0 FTs | 9 asts | 3 rebs | 0 stls | 3 TOs

John Wall’s nine assists would seemingly indicate that he was getting his teammates involved on offense, and perhaps that he just had an off-night offensively—which he did. But Wall’s lack of steals (he had none, the first time in six games he didn’t have at least two), and the fact that he did not take a trip to the free throw line for the first time all season, speak to Wall’s passive play. Indiana bottled him up and, save for a scoring six of his eight points in the third quarter, Wall did not have the answer. —R. Mobley

Martell Webster

1.5 out of 5 stars

37 mins | minus-9 | 8 pts | 3-6 FGs | 2-4 FTs | 5 rebs | 1 ast | 2 TOs

If Wall is not running, then the Wizards can’t really get their transition game going, which heavily affects Martell Webster’s potential. Webster still isn’t really the type to get selfish on offense, and he does a lot of other slept-on things aside from drain 3s. (I thought a put-back rebound midway through the second quarter was particularly nice.) But Webster does mostly count on his teammates to produce, and when the Wizards are overall laggards against the NBA’s best team, you can expect him to disappear on certain nights. —K. Weidie

Trevor Ariza

2 out of 5 stars

34 mins | minus-28 | 14 pts | 6-14 FGs | 2-6 3Ps | 4 rebs | 2 blks | 2 TOs

Trevor Ariza did … all sorts of interesting and unpredictable things, as per usual. He scored the first five points for the Wizards off a pick-and-pop jumper along the baseline and a corner 3-pointer. Ariza even hit a shot off the backboard in the third quarter. Curiosity killed the hookah, however, as Ariza played the full 12-minute boat in the first and third quarters—scoring seven points in each of those quarters. In the second, he did squat in four minutes (only a block and a turnover on the stat sheet), and in the fourth quarter, Ariza played 5.5 minutes and had a steal and two missed shots. Now, certainly he’s doing defensive things that do not show up in the stat book during these times , but still, might want to release some smoke, because that’s an odd balance of contribution. Still, Ariza is coming along nicely as a catch-all for Washington, even if he is a minus-3.2 per 48 minutes on the season. —K. Weidie

Jan Vesely

1 out of 5 stars

20 mins | minus-16 | 0 pts | 0-0 FGs |  0-0 FTs | 2 rebs | 1 stl | 3 blks

Jan got the starting nod at power forward in place of Nene, who sat out with an Achilles. In the first 30 seconds of the game, Jan looked like he was ready to play when he tapped an offensive rebound back to John Wall, who then found Trevor Ariza for 3-pointer. Sadly, save for a block of George Hill layup later in the first quarter, Jan basically did nothing else for the entire game, except get manhandled by David West in the post.—R. Mobley

Marcin Gortat

3 out of 5 stars

34 mins | minus-17 | 17 pts | 6-12 FGs | 5-7 FTs | 10 rebs | 1 ast | 1 stl | 1 blk | 2 TOs

Marcin Gortat earned player of the game status, which is the donkey prize in a game where the Wizards got run off the court. Gortat at least resembled a professional basketball player, as he held his ground against Roy Hibbert in the first half and was one of the few Wizards to exhibit any sort of defensive intensity. The sad part about this is that Gortat, due to his relative newness to the Wizards, can’t act as the defensive anchor, as he has to both hold down the post and make up for the mistakes of his guards. —S. Fagan

Kevin Seraphin

2 out of 5 stars

12 mins | plus-9 | 9 pts | 3-7 FGs | 3-3 FTs | 2 rebs | 1 ast | 1 TO

I guess it’s a slight improvement that #KSLife was allowed to stay on the court for 12 entire minutes and managed to only shoot two completely ridiculous shots. There is also the fact that Seraphin actually got to the free throw line, which is enough to make one faint. Neither positive is enough to make up for the fact the Seraphin still seems allergic to making contact with an opposing player under any circumstance. —S. Fagan

Garrett Temple

1 out of 5 stars

22 mins | minus-13 | 2 pts | 1-7 FGs | 0-2 3Ps | 2 rebs | 0 asts | 3 TOs

He tries, he really does. But Garrett Temple went haywire last night, putting up too many shots, making costly turnovers and generally looking like a D-League player in over his head. Temple is Randy Wittman’s safety valve in that he rarely does the things that he did last night in volume, so one has to expect that he hasn’t landed in the doghouse through his disastrous play. But another game like his last one might force Wittman into finally freeing Glen Rice, Jr. from his purgatory. —S. Fagan

Eric Maynor

1 out of 5 stars

9 mins | minus-8 | 9 pts | 3-4 FGs | 1-1 3Ps | 1-2 FTs | 1 ast | 4 TOs

I’m sure Wizards apologists are super proud that Eric Maynor scored a season-high nine points. So what? … Who cares? Sometimes the sun shines on a dog’s ass, and Maynor is still quite terrible at running a team. He did, however, get to the free throw line for the first time this season after playing 156 total minutes without an attempt. And what did Maynor do when he got there? He missed both of them. The stat line above is slightly deceiving, as a Pacer lane violation on Maynor’s second miss gave him a third chance to make one. See the bottom of this post for Rarely Good Maynor/Often Bad Maynor Vines. —K. Weidie

Trevor Booker

2 out of 5

25 mins | minus-9 | 4 pts | 2-5 FGs | 0-1 FTs | 8 rebs | 3 asts | 1 blk

For the first time since the Toronto game on November 22, Randy Wittman gave Trevor Booker a chance to play himself out of the doghouse. Kevin Seraphin was given that same opportunity against the Bucks two nights earlier with little-to-no results. Booker (along with his fellow bench mates Garrett Temple, Eric Maynor, and, yes, Seraphin) made his presence felt in the second quarter when the Wizards cut the Pacers lead from 12 points to four. Booker had just four points (he should have had five but missed his second free throw attempt of the season) and three rebounds, but he played with energy and hustle—something that has been lacking from Booker specifically and the bench in general. —R. Mobley


 

Rarely Good Maynor…

Often Bad Maynor…

 


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