D.C. Council Game 23: Wizards 102 at Knicks 101: No Timeouts in the City that Never Sleeps | Truth About It.net

D.C. Council Game 23: Wizards 102 at Knicks 101: No Timeouts in the City that Never Sleeps

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Updated: December 17, 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. 23: Wizards at Knicks; contributors: Conor Dirks, Sean Fagan and Kyle Weidie from the excitement of their homes.

Washington Wizards 102 at New York Knicks 101
[box score]


Jump to Council Player Ratings


 

DC Council Key Legislature

Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. Or rather, sometimes it is nice to watch another team strap the Acme rocket to their backs and go full speed into the side of a canyon wall a la Wile E. Coyote. The New York Knickerbockers imploded on Monday in an epic fashion that went beyond #SoWizards and instead disappeared into another dimension of terrible basketball decisions that almost broke the space/time continuum.

To set the scene: With 24 seconds left in the game the Wizards trailed by one point, having frittered away a 15-point lead, and were inbounding the ball. The Knicks had a foul to give, three timeouts remaining, and about 10 million different ways to play out the situation.

Here is how the situation played out in real time: Wall handed the ball off to Bradley Beal near the top of the 3-point line, who then blew by Beno Udrih for an uncontested layup to put the Wizards ahead 102-101. The Knicks then ran pellmell down the court and Carmelo Anthony heaved a desperation 3-pointer off the glass to give the Wizards the game.

Notice two key facts from that previous paragraph?

  1. The Knicks had a foul to give. (The foul was not given.)
  2. The Knicks had three timeouts. (The Knicks did not call timeout.)

It was such a baffling set of errors that no one can believe that Knicks coach Mike Woodson did not wake up on Tuesday morning unemployed. Especially not after his star, Carmelo Anthony, threw him under the bus post-game: “If [Woodson] said it’s his fault, there’s no need for me to make excuses or talk about it.”

Good team spirit there, Melo. I especially like how you parked the bus right on Woodson’s head.

As for your plucky Wizards, who were NOT the story of the evening, there were encouraging signs. Bradley Beal made his return from injury, and though he looked hobbled, he took over the game for the Wizards in the fourth quarter after it appeared that the Wizards were going to perform a miracle and not only let the Knicks win but also piece back together the various bits and bobs that comprise J.R. Smith’s career.

After four consecutive losses, the train is finally back on the tracks, even though it looks like several of the cars have been in the station. The key for the Wizards will be getting all the key parts of the team producing consistently again in hopes of making it back to the promised land of .500 basketball. The stars for the most part are doing their part, it is now up to complimentary pieces like Marcin Gortat and a few members of the Wizards’ bench to show marked improvement in order for the team to remain competitive.

—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)


 

DC Council Chair

‘Man, the Wizards sure did miss Bradley Beal, didn’t they?’

That was the general #HotSportsTake after Beal’s magnificent performance down the stretch for Washington. It was part no-brainer and part no shit. Most teams, especially those which struggle to score, would greatly miss their leading scorer, even if he is just a 20-year-old pup, an NBA soph.

But Beal does not perform like an NBA sophomore; his poise was known coming into the league and it’s growing at a faster rate than expected. Beal’s bones might be very #SoWizards-like, but his demeanor and court sense is not. It also seems that his basketball IQ subtly mocks Beal’s ‘Boring !!’ Twitter persona in a way that only ardent Wizards trackers can understand, even if there is no sensible connection but rather just an inane observation.

It has long been suspected by some that Beal would ultimately usurp John Wall as the star of the Wizards. And while that may ultimately be true vis a vis the innate manner in which the aesthetic of offensive prowess is boosted in our subconscious, causing us to discount all of the ‘non stat book’ actions that contribute to winning. But those in-the-know will possible understand that a true co-role does exist amongst the budding star guards: the set-up man and sometimes closer in Wall, and the ice-cold-blooded, get you that long range splash that your innards yearn for Bradley Beal…

Of course, neither player will ultimately do much without supporting cast members like Martell Webster and Nene. Please do come back soon, Nene.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


 

DC Council Vetoed Participation
Marcin Gortat. He is evincing a kind of tentative indecision, a momentary frustration, when he receives the ball anywhere but at the brink of the basket. It’s an instinctual look around even though Gortat is all alone near the top side of the key when he receives the pass with a clear, open look at the basket. Shooting 4-for-14 is the opposite of what you want from a big man, and regardless of where Gortat was oriented when he received the ball, he quickly lost his way. He forced interior action often against the “puppies” of New York’s frontcourt and, almost without fail, the “puppies” had teeth.

—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)


 

DC Council Top Aide
Even a sick, wounded New York Knicks team has the ability to bomb away from long range and hurt you. To counter that and snap a losing streak at the Garden that extended all the way back to the glory days of 2006, you need a guy who can go toe-to-toe with the Knicks in the mad bombing department. Enter Martell Webster and his busted up ankle who went 6-for-8 from downtown, scored 30 points, and looked a little bit shocked that the Knicks obligingly kept hanging off him because they assumed he must shoot like Jan Vesely. For all the televisions that have been screamed at for the Wizards inability to protect the perimeter, the Knicks allowing Webster to catch and shoot like he was practicing in the gym drove their fans apoplectic on social media and in the hallowed halls of MSG.

—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)


 

DC Council Session

That Session Was … Unexpected.

It seems quite odd in context, but fans of the 7-17 Knicks (7-16 prior to Monday) had raging hard-ons at the possibility of their lowly team taking it to the 10-13 Wizards (9-13 entering Monday) for a sorely-needed win that would have surely changed the fate of the entire Manhattan franchise. Raymond Felton suddenly would have gotten healthy, Carmelo was going to turn from a carriage to a pumpkin to a superstar who actually made teammates better, Mike Woodson’s goatee was going to pop off and endlessly donate itself to cancer patients, and Jimmy Dolan’s band was going to start rocking with its cock out and opening for Beyoncé on tour.

Instead, Pablo Prigioni broke his toe stumbling on air, Amar’e Stoudemire’s knee popped out of his stomach and sang “Hello! Ma Baby” like that alien at the end of Space Balls, and Carmelo Anthony continued to be the worst-best star the NBA has seen since Allen Iverson.

Meanwhile, the #Wizards got a reprieve from #SoWizards and took another inkling of a step toward actual relevancy and promise that’s been promised. Sure, that #SoWizards will probably push those inches a step back at some point, and the Sisyphus-like character that roams the catacombs of the Verizon Center (rumored to be Michael Ruffin) will keep pushing that boulder, suspiciously shaped like a basketball, up the hill until it bounces through the shine of the “promised land” that is the playoffs, surely promised by the basketball gods after all these years under the perceived, presumed, and nonexistent Curse O’ Les Boulez.

Unexpected, indeed.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


 

DC Council Mayor

Oh, we have much to discuss. This matchup of underachieving Eastern Conference “playoff” teams featured, at its outset, two coaches doubling as candidates for the annual “first one gone” award handed out on behalf of the “It’s a Business” division of the NBA Narrative Commission (NNC). Woodson’s seat was always hotter than Wittman’s, but it is now on fire comparatively.

But it could have gone the other way. And there would have been several questionable decisions on the front lines of the national and local media war efforts against Wittman. John Wall came out of the game with 1:43 remaining in the third quarter with the Wizards losing 72-67. Three minutes into the fourth, when the clock starts to really tick and Wall usually ambles to the scorer’s table, Coach Wittman made the decision to ride Garrett Temple for a few more minutes. What started as a “wise” move to rest an overworked starter soon became a point of frustration, and then became a source of unbridled nerd rage on the internet.

Randy “Bullshit Analytics” Wittman didn’t see it our way. Wall re-entered the game with 4:26 remaining in the fourth after sitting for the majority of the quarter due to Temple’s solid play. And he promptly made mistakes, forced the issue inside with a group of referees who were seemingly calling everything for the other guys, and mostly forced a legion of point-differential citing geeks to push back their glasses and mumble “Well, according to my calculations…”

Wittman didn’t call a particularly inspired play for the go-ahead basket, which resulted in an improvised Beal isolation layup, but he had the wherewithal to call a play for Beal, and all’s well that ends well.

—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)


DC Council Players

John Wall

3 out of 5 stars

33 min | minus-6 | 20 pts | 7-16 FGs | 5-6 FTs | 6 rebs | 8 asts | 2 stls | 7 TOs

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News tweeted out in the first half of the game that John Wall “could not be playing with any less intensity.” This is during the same half of basketball where John Wall finished with 19 points, five rebounds and four assists with the Wizards holding a nice lead. Wall tore the Knicks apart in the first 24 minutes and most scribes (including myself) took to Twitter to tear Frankie a new one. Isola looked more prescient in the fourth quarter when Wall almost passed the Wizards out of the ballgame, turning the ball over and playing a weirdly twisted version of hero ball, where the purpose of the game is to make sure the other team receives the ball as many times as possible. Still, Wall remains a force and Isola remains largely an idiot, so the universe did not realign itself overnight. —S. Fagan

Bradley Beal

4.5 out of 5 stars

30 mins | minus-6 | 21 pts | 9-16 FGs | 3-5 3Ps | 0-0 FTs | 7 rebs | 3 TOs

What more can I say? Jay Z ain’t stepping in to help the Knicks and since he abandoned the Nets to become an agent … well, you know. Beal was calm and cool in his return to the court after a nine-game absence due to bone stress. His minutes stayed monitored, he scored Washington’s last eight points to win the game, and he tied his season-high with seven rebounds. I’ll save critiquing the zero-for-zero effort from the free throw line for another time. —K. Weidie

Trevor Ariza

2.5 out of 5 stars

33 mins | plus-0 | 10 pts | 4-6 FGs | 1-2 3Ps | 1 -1 FTs | 5 rebs | 2 asts | 0 stls

Trevor was relatively quiet on the offensive front, wiggling in a few Jamison-esque contortion shots and knocking down a 3-pointer. His sluggish trigger finger is not surprising, however, when you consider he was attempting to guard the ever-prolific Carmelo Anthony, who took a game-high 20 shots, and hit 12 of them. —C. Dirks

Trevor Booker

2 out of 5 stars

32 mins | minus-14 | 6 pts | 3-3 FGs | 4 rebs | 1 ast | 1 blk

Booker didn’t really have a play that stood out on the evening and therein lies the problem. A team that is forced to go small like the Knicks presents a huge opportunity for Booker to have an impact on the game through his hustle and occasionally burly play. Instead, Trevor decided to fade into the woodwork of MSG and made barely a whisper during his 32 minutes on the floor. Booker’s output on the offensive end was nice during the past two losses but with the return of Beal and Webster, the ball, more often than not, is not going to find its way into his hands. Booker needs to make some noise on the boards and the defensive end if he wants to continue to receive decent PT when and if Nene decides that his is sick of wearing a suit. —S. Fagan

Marcin Gortat

2 out of 5 stars

39 mins | minus-1 | 4-14 FGs | 1-2 FTs | 7 rebs | 4 asts | 2 TOs | 4 PFs

Methinks the Knicks were well aware of Marcin Gortat’s recent decision-making issues. There were several times where the big man, who dominated the New York Puppies last time out, would receive the ball and Carmelo Anthony or another Knick relied upon athleticism to compensate for bad defense to quickly act with a deflection or a poke away. In fact, Comcast’s J. Michael relayed before the game that Knicks-driven pre-game coverage responded appropriately to Gortat’s recent “situation,” calling him the “Polish Pouter.”

And speaking of that: it wasn’t a big deal in any way. The Wizards—Gortat, teammates, and Randy Wittman—are still trying to figure out how to use each other. With Bradley Beal healthy, and especially if Nene were healthy, concerns over relative spacing and room to operate (and where) are greatly diminished. Otherwise, there is something for Gortat and Wittman to figure out—the balance of defenses focusing on Gortat with Nene out and the need for room in the paint for John Wall—and the only mistake was saying such to the media first. Oh well, not the first time, and it won’t be the last. Personally, I would like to see Gortat involved in more ball screens and rolls/dives, and for him to also be used like Nene as a perimeter big man passer via cuts, hand-offs, and screens.

Guess what: I’m not the coach. But unlike JaVale McGee of ‘Can’t Say I Do’ fame, I’m sure Wittman and Gortat will figure it out sooner or later.” —K. Weidie

Jan Vesely

2.5 out of 5 stars

16 mins | plus-9 | 2 pts | 1-1 FGs | 0-1 FTs | 3 rebs | 1 ast | 1 stl

There is a Russian (I’m aware that Russia isn’t the Czech Republic) folk tale that now lives on the Internet about a “winged wolf.” In this tale that I read breathlessly, the Winged Wolf’s penultimate line is “Ay, you would have slept on for ever had I not come to awaken you.” And I might have, if not for Airwolf’s fluid jam on a spider’s silk pass from Garrett Temple, which gave the Wizards some fourth-quarter momentum after hiding under their desks while the Knicks bombed away. Decent impact for Vesely in limited minutes, but his and-1 dunk over Amar’e Stoudemire was foiled by his frustrating inability to hit free throws. —C. Dirks

Martell Webster

4 out of 5 stars

36 mins | plus-10 | 30 pts | 9-13 FGs | 6-8 3Ps | 6-7 FTs | 5 rebs | 3 asts

A lot of naysayers and junior league capologists paned the Martell Webster signing. Well, not the ‘signing’ but rather how much the contract was for (four-years, $22 million). Similar to how when a generalist attempts to capture the nuances of a local team and fails hard, outsiders simply did not understand what Martell brings to the Wizards off the court. They didn’t even want to consider any potential value. The reality is that “3 and D” players are trending in the NBA and thus their cost is escalating. And while Webster is much more ’3′ than ‘D’ (defense), he’s still much more well-rounded than most 3-point specialists out there (we’ve all seen Kyle Korver try to defend). Thus, Webster is worth the money and his numbers continue to prove so, particularly his 30 points on 13 shots in New York on Monday night. Rare is the bird who delivers like so, keeping production consistent after signing a new contract. Webster, in more ways than one, is indeed a rare bird. And for that, Wizards fans should be thankful.—K. Weidie

Otto Porter, Jr.

n/a out of 5 stars

Zero Everthing

Otto Porter spent another night under the “learning tree,” as the Wizards decided that the big, bad MSG crowd would be too much for their delicate flower. He spent the night watching the two small forwards he was supposed to supplant bury him even farther down the bench, scribbling furious notes in his dream journal. Hopefully he learned one important lesson from Monday night: must improve jump shot—S. Fagan

Kevin Seraphin

2.5 out of 5 stars

6 mins | plus-6 | 2 pts | 1-2 FGs | 3 rebs | 1 stl | 1 blk

There was a sequence early on in the game, before it got “interesting,” when Kevin Seraphin was almost unrecognizable on the floor. Unrecognizable in the sense that, remarkably (when you consider the amount of Washington basketball I consume), I couldn’t identify a Wizards player based on his gait. And, while I squinted, leant forward, doubted … Kevin Seraphin (or so he claims!) moved with sudden, unexpected alacrity, got his defender tilting like a certain tower in Pisa, and then snaked around him for an easy basket. —C. Dirks

 


 

The Unseen.

 


  • Rob

    Thank god Wittman took the ball out of Wall’s hands down the stretch. If it didn’t have the potential to cause controversey, I would have been in favor of just sitting Wall the entire fourth quarter. The offensive flow looked much better with Temple running the show.

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