D.C. Council Game 13: Wizards 98 vs Knicks 89: Puppified by the Polish Hammer | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

D.C. Council Game 13: Wizards 98 vs Knicks 89: Puppified by the Polish Hammer

Updated: November 24, 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. 13: Wizards vs Knicks; contributors: Conor Dirks and special guest Alex MacMullan from the Verizon Center and Kyle Weidie watching the television broadcast in the nation’s capital.

['Boys, we point toward the future because our damn Ferarri wasn't equipped with rear-view mirrors.' -#WittmanFace]

[‘Boys, we point toward the future because our damn Ferarri wasn’t equipped with rear-view mirrors.’ -#WittmanFace]

Washington Wizards 98 vs New York Knicks 89
[box score]

Jump to Council Player Ratings


DC Council Key Legislature

With eight minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Wizards took a 20-second timeout. Carmelo Anthony had just hit a jump shot to bring the Knicks within three points. What followed was a happily familiar theme for the game: with the Wizards on the rim of the toilet seat, threatening to perform a synchronized swimming routine in the bowl, Martell Webster hit a big shot. And after a potentially momentum-nullifying jumper by Pablo Prigioni, Webster hit another one. Both 3-pointers featured excellent, unselfish ball movement, the kind Randy Wittman claimed post-game had been the subject of many a sermon. Martell’s efforts at this key moment were duplicative of momentum-shifting 3-pointers he knocked down with around two minutes remaining in both the first and second quarters.

Webster’s shooting woke the Wizards back up, even Jan “Yawning Wolf” Vesely, who broke the heart of many a New Yorker after sneakily following up a Bradley Beal one-man fast break by putting down a slam heard ‘round the … well, not the world, but you get the point. The Knicks wouldn’t get close again.

—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)


DC Council Chair

Unfortunately, a significant portion of the national discussion involving John Wall still focuses on what he may not be, or what he may not be worth. However, what he is and what he continues to become was on full display Saturday night. His combination of speed and length makes him possibly the deadliest lead guard in the league with the ball in his hands in the open floor. When his continually improving midrange jumper is as effective as it was against the Knicks, he’s equally as difficult to defend in half court sets. In a game that featured an opposition that had logged a combined 14 total All-Star game appearances and had been elected to 12 All-NBA teams, John Wall (0 ASG Appearances, 0 ALL-NBA teams) was clearly the best player on the court. The seven turnovers were far from ideal, and a few of them seemed unforced and avoidable. But the takeaway here is that John Wall closed and because of his efforts the Wizards won the type of game they need to win if they want to be taken seriously.

Beyond the statistics there were other opportunities to see Wall’s growing grasp of his role as team leader in the win, perhaps the best example being the late-game block of Iman Shumpert. While the final moment of a decided NBA game is rarely the appropriate time to recognize meaningful growth in a franchise player, Wall’s block was on message with the Wiz’s belief that toughness on the defensive end and closing out winnable games to the final second are keys to the team’s future success.

—Alex MacMullan (@AMacMull)


DC Council Vetoed Participation

Want a short rotation? How about three players off the bench … and their names are Jan Vesely, Garrett Temple and Eric Maynor. Certainly not sustainable. Especially when Eric Maynor continues to be Eric Maynor. Maybe things will click for the 26-year-old one day, but right now, he’s looking like an underrated blunder that’s looming to inflict more damage. The Wizards used their full bi-annual exception on Maynor and he’s got a $2.1 player option for next season. That’s way too many clams for possessions like this…

—Kyle Weidie  (@Truth_About_It)


DC Council Top Aide

After the game, TAI’s Conor Dirks asked Marcin Gortat about the Wiz’s game plan for himself and Nene going up against Amare Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin. Gortat said:

“Well, these two guys are not 110 percent big boys anymore, let’s put it this way. Obviously Amar’e is coming out of bad injuries. For a while he’s still not the same guy he used to be, but still he’s a danger player, he’s a danger player, and you gotta go at him. We all know Nene’s going to go at everybody, if it’s an elephant, if it’s a little puppy, he’s going to go at him every single time. So it’s fun to play. For some reason, they’re guarding, putting a bigger guy on Nene so I had a little puppy on me every single time, so I’m going to get rebounds and easy points.”

So maybe Marcin Gortat doesn’t like or respect the Knicks bigs so much. While he did go out of his way to mention health as a mitigating factor for Stoudemire’s lack of defensive presence, it would appear that the rest of the Knicks bigs have officially been puppified by the Polish Hammer. Gortat was dominant on the offensive and defensive glass and highly efficient scoring. He played angry, as his coach noted post-game, coming off two disappointing performances against mediocre opponents (TOR: 6 pts, 8 rebs; CLE: 8 pts, 6 rebs). As noted in the above quote, the anger seemed to grow and was properly channeled facing off against the always agitating Kenyon Martin or dealing with the indignity of being challenged in the paint by the likes of Andrea Bargnani. In a game where Nene struggled to convert offensively and bench scoring was non-existent, Gortat’s success was the most essential non-Wall contribution the Wizards had.

—Alex MacMullan (@AMacMull)


DC Council Session

That Session Was … Helpful.

Unlike on Friday night in Toronto, John Wall’s supporting cast stepped up to the plate. Bradley Beal was solid, Marcin Gortat bounced back from an off night, and, most importantly, Martell Webster watergate’d 5-of-10 3-pointers, including two within a 45-second span midway through the fourth quarter that put the game out of reach for New York.

It was nice to see the Wizards do a slightly better job of closing out a game on the second night of a Canada-to-the-District back-to-back. Being able to play the very next evening laying an egg against the Raptors helps, too.

Still, Wittman’s bench is hanging by a thread. Over the past four games (three wins), eight Wizards five-man units have played five or more minutes together. The starters—Wall, Beal, Webster, Nene, and Gortat—are an amazing plus-42 over 90 minutes. Only two of those eight lineups don’t feature John Wall. The best one—Maynor, Temple, Beal, Vesely, and Nene—is minus-10 in nine minutes. The other lineup—Maynor, Temple, Beal, Booker, and Vesely—is minus-14 in seven minutes. Wittman will keep having to bite the bullet and hope for the best until the Wizards get more healthy. You’ve got to both give the coach credit and feel for him for turning to three-guard lineups like Maynor-Temple-Beal in a desperate attempt to keep the ship afloat when Captain Wall needs to rest.

—Kyle Weidie  (@Truth_About_It)


DC Council Mayor

“Our bigs were asked to do some things tonight that they were not accustomed to doing. … I told them they have to play with physical contact. They have to stand people up.”

Wittman mentioned that Marcin Gortat played “angry” against the Knicks. That anger was at least partially motivated by Marcin getting his clock cleaned by Kenyon Martin (somehow not a flagrant foul), but it seems to have also been part of the game plan. While anger won’t solve every interior defensive problem (a half-dead Amare was 5-for-5), the Wizards bigs made the Knicks uncomfortable last night, setting traps (this is new!) and crashing the offensive glass.

“I gotta do what I gotta do. We gotta win games.”

This was Sir Randy Wittman’s impeccable prose as he cut off a question about his playoff rotation (deployed just 13 games into the season). And, sadly, he’s right. Between MRI-fueled nightmares, a position-less Trevor Booker, and abjectly awful play from Kevin Seraphin and Eric Maynor, Wittman’s hand has been forced. The bench problem is a problem without an answer, barring a trade involving Trevor Ariza that brings back multiple overpaid role players. But while Wittman may not be able to solve the problem, he has mitigated the disaster somewhat by leaking bench players into starter-dominated groups.

—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)


DC Council Players

John Wall

4 out of 5 stars

40 mins | plus-16 | 31 pts | 10-18 FGs | 1-2 3Ps | 10-11 FTs | 4 rebs | 7 asts | 7 TOs

Wall did a better job playing within the system, hitting a couple jumpers and not forcing others. He was still much more dangerous on the run and drawing fouls than he was from the outside. Wall went 2-for-6 from his right elbow “butter” spot, so as long as that happens, teams will continue to go under each and every screen set for him. The good news is that Wall is increasingly showing the aptitude to not let opposing defenses dictate what he wants to do when they play off of him. —K. Weidie

Bradley Beal

3 out of 5 stars

40 mins | plus-5 | 18 pts | 7-19 FGs | 1-7 3Ps | 5 rebs | 6 asts | 2 TO

The overall statistical picture for Beal wasn’t very impressive. He struggled to get anything going offensively in the first half and seemed particularly bothered by Iman Shumpert’s length and athleticism in the early going. (Both are listed at 6-foot-5, Shumpert looks a good two inches taller than Beal) But, whether it was merely a product of the demand for scoring created when your bench is only capable of putting up six points in 49 minutes, or evidence of Beal’s growing understanding that a star player’s role in closing out wins isn’t diminished on poor shooting nights, Beal was still firing in the game’s critical stretch. Fortunately for Beal and the Wiz, Beal’s closer mentality wasn’t merely a moral victory. He was able to put in eight of his 19 points in the fourth quarter. In that period he also accomplished a feat that no other Wiz player was able to match—providing a convertible scoring opportunity for AirWolf. —A. MacMullan

Martell Webster

4 out of 5 stars

40 mins | plus-14 | 19 pts | 6-11 FGs | 5-10 3Ps | 2-2 FTs | 3 rebs | 3 asts | 1 TO

Despite putting in heavy, heady, and at times successful work against Carmelo Anthony on the defensive end, Martell also provided the only reliable threat from the 3-point line on the night. With Bradley Beal cold (1-for-7 from 3-point range), and Trevor Ariza and Al Harrington out with “day-to-day” injuries, a poor night from Martell would have been hard to overcome. Fortunately, Webster was happy to bail out the canoe. His five made 3-pointers were three more than the rest of the team combined. That will change when a few of the #Day2Day crew (namely Trevor Ariza and Al Harrington) return, but for now, the Wizards have to hope performances like Webster’s keep them afloat.

After the game, a grinning Martell seemed to take joy in the sadness his shooting birthed in the hearts of Knicks fans in attendance when he said: “It’s usually an away game at home. But we love it. We love that atmosphere, because it gives us a chance to shut up those fans.” —C. Dirks


2 out of 5 stars

35 mins | 8 pts | 4-10 FGs | 7 rebs | 3 asts | 1 blk | 1 TO

Nene’s first three offensive possessions were eerily similar: all 13-to-18 foot midrange jumpers (if you can call what Nene does “jumping”) from the same side of the floor. After making the first, and missing the second one, the third attempt in the first six minutes seemed forced. Compare and contrast that (maybe even make a Venn diagram and get a B+) with the first two minutes of the second quarter, where Nene again tried to establish himself: a make, a missed 7-foot jumper, and then the antithesis of smooth, a chunky, waddling, layup attempt in traffic, blocked by Metta World Peace. A tough game (and a tough time from the free throw line) was mitigated by Nene’s reincarnation as a passing big man. Nene’s prayers, it seems, were for his “cheam” and not for himself against the Knicks. —C. Dirks

Marcin Gortat

4 out of 5 stars

37 mins | plus-12 | 16 pts | 7-11 FGs | 17 rebs (7 off) | 2 asts | 2 blks

Much better game from Gortat this time around, taking advantage of Andrea Bargnani obviously being a better matchup than Jonas Valanciunas. Against the Tyson Chandler-less Knicks Gortat did a better job finishing around the rim, limited the times he settled from jumpers, and dominated the offensive glass. He even butted heads with Kenyon Martin a couple times. But the matchup against Pau Gasol on Tuesday won’t be so easy. The Spaniard is not a “puppy.” And the next three games after that—Milwaukee, Indiana and Atlanta—will pose other challenges where Gortat will have to show more consistency. —K. Weidie

Jan Vesely

3 out of 5 stars

23 mins | plus-7 | 2 pts | 1-2 FGs | 5 rebs | 0 TO

Big Poppa Wittman and Marcin Gortat both spoke at length in the postgame about how important it was for the Wiz bigs to be active and physical. Jan was determined to be both last night and, for the most part, was able to do so. His second quarter mano-a-mano Metta-stop probably best personified the positive aspects of his efforts. So while it’s rarely ideal to have a player log 23 minutes whose per game averages in personal fouls and scoring are in an eternal battle for superiority, Jan was far from a problem, and likely did exactly what his coach and team had asked him to do. Expectations for Jan may have finally diminished to a baseline that he is able to reach. —A. MacMullan

Garrett Temple

3 out of 5 stars

16 mins | minus-2 | 4 pts | 2-3 FGs | 0-1 3Ps | 2 rebs | 0 TO

If you had told me before the season that Garrett Temple would be one out of three Wizards bench players in an airlock-tight playoff rotation 13 games into the year, I would have assumed the worst had happened: that Otto Porter was a vampire who was slowly turning the Wizards into bats and Eric Maynor had come to roost in my uncle’s barn. The reality is perhaps more awful. There are only three healthy Wizards bench players that Wittman is willing to allow in the game. One is Garrett Temple. One is Jan Vesely. And the other… Let us not speak of the other. Temple’s sixteen minutes were unobjectionable, unassuming, and efficient. —C. Dirks

Eric Maynor

0 out of 5 stars

10 mins | minus-7 | 0 pts | 0-2 FGs | 2 rebs | 2 asts | 1 TO

Things in the arena last night that were more interesting than Eric Maynor’s 10 minutes of playing time:

  • Chris Singleton’s impeccably styled Oxblood blazer
  • The less than subtle fashion belt that Marcin Gortat sported during his postgame interview session
  • The Halloween-themed dub step music that blared from the PA during the timeout directly following Air Wolf’s big slam
  • Anything and everything involving GeNienne with a G
  • The Free Chick-fil-A Moment brought to you by J.R. Smith
  • The moment where the benevolent J.R. Smith tried to give the Wiz faithful another free sandwich, not realizing the offer was only valid for one sammy per game.
  • Boy Scouts Night coming November 30th, y’all

#MaynorTime4ever. —A. MacMullan


Wall turns on the jets…

More Metta vs Honza…

Wall to Gortat…





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Conor Dirks
Reporter / Writer / Co-Editor at TAI
Conor has been with TAI since 2012, and aids in the seamless editorial process that brings you the kind of high-octane blogging you have come to expect from this rad website. The Wizards have been an assiduous companion throughout his years on the cosmic waiver wire. He lives in D.C. and is day-to-day.