D.C. Council Game 25: Wizards 106 at Celtics 99: Wall and Ariza Overcome Steez, Carry Wiz in the Clutch | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

D.C. Council Game 25: Wizards 106 at Celtics 99: Wall and Ariza Overcome Steez, Carry Wiz in the Clutch

Updated: December 23, 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. 25: Wizards at Celtics; contributors: Adam McGinnis, Sean Fagan and John Converse Townsend from a seated (or standing) position in their homes.

Washington Wizards 106 at Boston Celtics 99
[box score]

Jump to Council Player Ratings


DC Council Key Legislature

Washington’s dreadful start in Boston suggested a loss on the road. All the built-in excuses were lining up. On the TV broadcast, the unusual Saturday afternoon 1 p.m. tipoff was referenced several times as a reason why the Wizards fell behind by 16 points after the first quarter. The Brazilian Diva, Nene, apparently had complained to CSN’s Chris Miller about the early tip messing up his routine and some players were upset about missing out on their naps!! Yeah, I know, let all of that sink in. (Oh no, not nappy time?!?!?!)

The Wizards battled back throughout the game due to an incredible effort by Trevor Ariza and eventually broke through in the final stretch of the game. Celtics guard Avery Bradley had been giving them fits. Sullinger was a load down low. Our old buddy, Jordan Crawford, was running the point in a highly efficient manner.

But then Washington clamped down the vice grips on D. Wall started picking J-Craw’s pocket. Avery Bradley and Sullinger began to misfire. The Wizards came up with stop after stop, holding the Celtics to two field goals in the final six minutes of the contest. Washington ended the game on a 22-to-7 run.

The common thread in many Wizards losses has been the inability to finish. For the third straight road victory, they flipped the script. Sometimes it is as simple as the cliche: “Close out games.”

—Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis)


DC Council Chair

Trevor Ariza. Every time that Trevor Ariza blows up, the words “contract year” come to mind. Yet the Wizards would not be where they are at the moment without Ariza going “full extension” for the duration of this short season. Last year’s version of Ariza would have completely folded up his tent and given up on a day where the Wizards where down 18 to the plucky Celtics with a relaxing Christmas break on the West Coast dancing in his head. Instead, Ariza put on his working boots and proceeded to bombard the Celtics from long range, capping his 27-point performance with a 3-pointer to put the Wizards up five late and stomp on the hopes of a Celtics comeback.

Now you need to ask yourself the question: Do you value the cap room at the end of the season or the player who has meshed with Wall? Does Ariza’s value plummet if paired with a less productive point guard? For a man who said it would be stupid to “leave money on the table,” the Wizards could find themselves in a tough place should they want to keep Ariza in D.C. after this season, particularly if he continues to play like a second scoring option rather than the glue guy he was supposed to be this year.

—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)


DC Council Vetoed Participation

Celtics broadcaster Tommy Heinsohn, who on at least three occasions mistook John Wall for Bradley Beal. Their games couldn’t be more different. But, hey, I guess to a Jersey City native and an adopted son of Boston, all Wizards players look the same.

Well, maybe Otto Porter. In 12 minutes, he showed off his slow feet, mini muscles, got gridlocked in traffic, and finished with one rebound and four points (tying his career-high).

—John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)


DC Council Top Aide
John Wall. In the NBA’s “catch and shoot” stats category (any jump shot outside of 10 feet where a player possessed the ball for two seconds or less and took no dribbles), the Wizards have three players in the top seven in terms of points generated per game. Bradley Beal (5th) Trevor Ariza (6th) and Martell Webster (7th) all directly benefit from the assist mastery of John Wall. Before injuries plagued these sharpshooters at various times this season, these Wall-to-sniper connections were the main ingredient the hot play that led the Wizards to briefly occupy a .500 record. Wall’s nine dimes versus Boston were instrumental in Washington’s 92-point output in the second through fourth quarters.

Recently, Wall has come up short in deciding moments and slowly, an un-clutch label is being thrown toward the max contract player. However, for the second straight game, Wall came up huge when it counted. Wall’s sick block on Deron Williams sealed the victory against Brooklyn. Late in the final quarter on Saturday, Boston and Washington were tied at 93. Wall splashed his patented right elbow jumper. After the Wizards stopped the Celtics, Wall found Ariza for a key 3 that put his team up five points with two minutes remaining. They never relinquished the lead from that point, and Wall was clutch on defense as well.

—Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis)


DC Council Session

That Session Was … A Lesson in Roles.

So the Revenge of the Crawfish didn’t go quite as anticipated. Jordan Crawford, despite the plaudits coming his way for the past two weeks, looked a lot like the Jordan Crawford who wore a Wizards uniform. There were long bombs from six feet beyond the arc, overly complicated passes, and a looseness with the ball (5 TOs) that explains the “basketball reasons” the Wizards had for trading him beyond the pouting and general grumpiness. Contrast that with the Wizards bench, which is finally looking like something that you can put on an NBA court without being embarrassed. Kevin Seraphin seems to have learned how get proper position overnight and chipped in with 13 points and six rebounds. Nene came off the bench without complaint and sealed the game with clutch free throws. Even Otto Porter looked somewhat competent, which is a minor miracle in and of itself. No bitching, no “hero ball,” and no me-first on a Saturday where it took a team effort to overcome a horrendous start. I kinda doubt that Jordan would have come along for that ride last season.

—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)


DC Council Mayor

Witt’s most recent DNP-CD crew—Chris Singleton, Jan Vesely and Eric Maynor—had a front-row seat for another Wizards win, their third straight. (I would actually like to see Vesely get about 10 minutes per game, but since the rotation ain’t broke….)

How much credit does Wittman really deserve for the Wizards’ late-game comeback? Probably not that much.

But after a Celtics timeout with 6:16 left in the fourth, the Wiz down four, Wittman made a critical move: he benched Otto Porter for Trevor Ariza. The Wiz Kids went on a 14-3 run over the next four minutes—Hookah produced half Washington’s points in that span.

The Wizards grabbed their first lead of the game with fewer than three minutes to go and the team out-scored the Celtics 22-9 in the second half of the fourth quarter.

Wittman’s top talent got the job done. Chalk it up to the right run at the right time.

—John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)

DC Council Players

John Wall

4 out of 5 stars

36 mins | plus-16 | 20 pts | 8-18 FGs | 1-5 3Ps | 3-4 FTs | 9 asts | 6 stls | 3 rebs | 1 TO

Six steals and only one turnover are the two stats that pop out from John Wall’s line. He has been extra careless with the ball lately, and it’s promising to see him clean that up some in Boston. A few of Wall’s steals led to easy buckets, which helped the Wizards dig out of their early hole. In the battle of former teammates (and “New Big 3” members), Wall turned up his play and got the best of Jordan Crawford. Quick Ain’t Fair >>> Steez. —A. McGinnis

Bradley Beal

1.5 out of 5 stars

28 mins | plus-11 | 9 pts | 3-12 FGs | 1-4 3Ps | 2-2 FGs | 3 rebs | 3 asts | 1 TO

Beal played fine for a disinterested second-year shooting guard. Disinterested? Huh? Yea… Shot chart time!


This isn’t cheap analysis. Boston’s defensive stalwarts (#sarcasmFont alert) Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk and Brandon Bass allow opponents to take 12.4 shot attempts in the paint per game (tied for 10th most in the NBA) and 28 field goal attempts in the restricted area per game (tied for 7th most). The Celtics allow opponents to shoot 58.2 percent inside five feet. There was plenty of room to operate behind enemy lines. And yet Beal—besides one hard take in transition—settled for long jump shots instead of taking another dribble (or two, or three) and turning TD Garden into the his very own highlight factory.

Beal is a talented enough shooter to get away with lazy performances like this (he’s probably the only one on the team), and they’re often forgotten in comeback victories. But this type of showing is something Wizards fans—those really watching—see far too often.

By The Numbers

Beal shoots 61.4 percent inside five feet. But he’s only taken 44 attempts there this season, while attempting 89 from 15-19 feet (31.5%), 91 from 20-24 (42.9%, too often shots a step in from 3), and 42 from 25-29 (40.5 percent).

Let’s compare that to perhaps the most dangerous 2 guard in the NBA, James Harden. Harden rarely settles for the midrange J (39.5% on 43 attempts) instead opting for 3-pointers (32.4% on 74 attempts from 20-24 feet and 30.6% on 85 attempts beyond 25 feet).

And, most importantly, The Beard has attempted a whopping 134 shots inside five feet (61.2%). Put differently, Harden has made nearly twice as many shots inside five feet as Beal has attempted. Harden’s Free Throw Rate (the number of free throw attempts per field goal attempt), .520, puts Beal’s (.150) to shame. And that’s why Harden has averaged 7.2 free throw attempts per game over his career, while Beal has managed just 3.1. Beal has only made more than five free throws in game three times in 72 appearances.

Beal is a good player, and he has the potential to be a better two-way player than Harden. But if Beal wants to take the next step and transform himself from a fun, young gunner to a perennial All-Star, he needs to get dirty. —J.C. Townsend

Trevor Ariza

4 out of 5 stars

35 mins | plus-10 | 27 pts | 9-18 FGs | 5-8 3Ps | 4-4 FTs | 8 rebs | 2 asts | 1 stl | 2 TOs

Trevor Ariza stepped onto the parquet floor at TD Garden with the intention to do harm. His game plan, based off his first-quarter contributions, was to attack the rack. But every time Ariza began to pound the rock, his team suffered: he turned the ball over, he was blocked at the rim, he missed runners.

Ariza managed to totally redeem himself, scoring 19 of his season-high 27 points in the second half (he had 14 in the third quarter alone). When Wall ripped the ball away from the Celtics, it was Ariza who was running with the Game Changer in transition to help power an 18-1 run.

I wonder if Coach Wittman reminded Ariza at halftime that he’s a much more effective offensive player when he’s spotting up on the perimeter, and that he should always—always—avoid trying to play the role of “hero.” —J.C. Townsend

Trevor Booker

1 out of 5 stars

14 mins | minus-6 | 0 pts | 0-2 FGs | 3 rebs | 1 asts | 2 PFs

Trevor Booker has cooled off from recent stellar performances, but he is contributing with his typical hustle and grit. Nene and Seraphin have cut into his minutes, and it will be interesting to see if Nene replaces Booker in the starting lineup. But Coach Wittman might not want to mess up the current winning chemistry just yet. —A. McGinnis

Marcin Gortat

3 out of 5 stars

35 mins | plus-19 | 13 pts | 6-9 FGs | 1-2 FTs | 11 rebs | 2 asts | 4 blks

After two straight downward trajectory games following Marcin Gortat’s outburts of not being allowed to play in the paint, the Gortat of Saturday afternoon is the Gortat that most want to see for the rest of the season. He pulled down 11 boards and went 6-for-9 from the field without missing any obvious bunnies. The interesting part is that Gortat’s performance seems directly linked to whether Nene has been faith-healed enough to be on the floor. With Nene on the floor to provide spacing and draw away opposing power forwards or centers, Gortat brings the hammer down with scoring and rebounding. Without Nene, Gortat tries to do everything on his own, which results in a tick downwards in all categories. —S. Fagan

Kevin Seraphin

4 out of 5 stars

25 mins | plus-6 | 13 pts | 6-9 FGs | 1-2 FTs | 6 rebs | 1 ast | 3 TOs | 3 PFs

Kevin Seraphin again made his presence felt with a touch on offense as soft as his pick-and-roll defense (he was OK one-on-one). Many of his scoring plays at the hoop were a result of smart positioning and enough athleticism to grab offensive rebounds over Celtics players in traffic. So, despite deductions from mishaps like traveling in the post, Seraphin scored highly in my book for the second consecutive game. —J.C. Townsend

Martell Webster

1 out of 5 stars

21 mins | minus-8 | 5 pts | 2-4 FGs | 1-2 3Ps | 0-2 FTs | 1 reb | 1 TO | 2 PFs

The star rating isn’t fair to Martell, but when Ariza has one of his hot nights, Martell’s production is going to slip. Webster was incredibly quiet in his 21 minutes of play with the only highlight being one made 3-pointer. The good thing about this is that Webster is smart enough to know when he is having an off night and get the ball to the man who’s “feeling it.” It’s a lesson that some former Wizards never seem to have learned. —S. Fagan


4 out of 5 stars

23 mins | minus-3 | 13 pts | 4-6 FGs | 5-6 FTs | 8 rebs | 5 asts | 2 stls | 0 TOs

No, 13 points isn’t a lot to brag about when comparing Nene’s efforts to those of John Wall or Trevor Ariza. Yet it was Nene who hit the clutch free throws down the stretch that effectively sealed the game for the Wizards as the Celtics played hack-a-Brazilian in the hopes that his yips would once again act up at the line. Christ compels, or at least it did from the free throw line, as Nene went 5-for-6 and iced the game. —S. Fagan

Otto Porter

1.5 out of 5 stars

12 mins | minus-1 | 4 pts | 2-4 FGs | 0-1 3Ps | 1 reb

Young Simba is slowly shedding his frightened cub ways and becoming more of an adult lion on the court. He nailed a smooth jumper and finished after a nice cut to the hoop. Obviously, Otto still has plenty to prove, but he finally looks like he actually belongs in the game. Positive baby lion steps…. —A. McGinnis


Steez Vines.


Adam McGinnis on EmailAdam McGinnis on FacebookAdam McGinnis on FlickrAdam McGinnis on GoogleAdam McGinnis on TwitterAdam McGinnis on Youtube
Adam McGinnis
Reporter / Writer / Media at TAI
Adam is a bro from the Midwest who's been bopping around the District of Columbia for years. He's down with a range of sports, etc. and has covered the Washington Wizards for TAI since 2010.