D.C. Council Game 28: Wizards 106 at Pistons 99: John Wall & The Blue Moons Motor Past Detroit | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

D.C. Council Game 28: Wizards 106 at Pistons 99: John Wall & The Blue Moons Motor Past Detroit

Updated: December 31, 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. 28: Wizards at Pistons; contributors: Kyle Weidie, Rashad Mobley, and Sean Fagan from places other than Detroit.

Washington Wizards 106 vs Detroit Pistons 82
[box score]

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DC Council Key Legislature

The Wizards entered the fourth quarter down seven points in an inconsistent and sometimes sluggish game otherwise. They went out and took the final period, 28-12, thanks to nine points from an increasingly veteran John Wall.

The Wizards got down by a game-high 12 points late in the second quarter (finished the half down 53-63). After getting within four points of Detroit midway through the third, they found themselves back down 12 points with three minutes left in the period. Wall’s consistent free throw shooting and game management, a couple Nene buckets, and even much-needed offense from Kevin Seraphin, got the deficit to nine points to end the third quarter. That momentum spilled into the fourth quarter, thanks to Nene staying on the floor to hold down the offense while Wall got to rest. (Nene’s defense against Josh Smith early in the fourth wasn’t bad, either.)

  • An assist from Nene to Webster for a baseline layup that’s becoming routine…
  • Otto Porter stealing the ball and pushing it up the floor—he missed a tough attempt against Andre Drummond, but there Kevin Seraphin was, running the floor, cleaning up the mess, and dropping in a put-back…
  • A seven-pass possession featuring screens, pump fakes, cuts, and everyone touching the ball that ended with a Nene dime and a solid Serpahin move in the post….

Timeout Detroit, Wizards within three points, 84-87.

Randy Wittman rolled with the Garrett Temple, Martell Webster, Otto Porter, Kevin Seraphin, Nene lineup out of the timeout.

The Wizards would then get within one point thanks to a Seraphin assist to Porter, of all things (hockey assist courtesy of Nene, and seen in the Vine below). Twenty seconds later, the Wizards would take an 89-87 lead thanks to a Webster 3-pointer.

Things weren’t all roses from there. Seraphin made a couple thoughtless mistakes and Detroit tightened their screws. But Washington’s stars—Wall, Nene and Beal—confidently sealed the victory over the remainder of the fourth quarter. Wall’s dagger jumper with 27 seconds left to put Washington up six points was another sign of growth, but so was the play of Washington’s bench. Wittman isn’t merely surviving his second unit, he’s found a way to get incremental contributions from them (mostly thanks to Nene’s presence off the bench). And that is huge for this team.

Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


DC Council Chair

Saturday night against the Pistons, John Wall completely controlled the tempo of the game. He dished out 11 assists (two turnovers) and got his teammates involved, he drove to the basket, and hit the occasional jumper when he needed to—all while limiting Brandon Jennings to 13 points and seven turnovers. On Monday night, Wall’s shot wasn’t falling with ease (7-of-15), he turned the ball over five times, and Brandon Jennings, while still turning the ball over frequently (six times), made sure his Pistons’ teammates were involved with 15 assists. But on a night when he really didn’t have “it,” Wall did what great scorers—something Wall really has not been known as in his four-year career—tend to do, and he found a way to manufacture points.

Wall went to the line 15 times and missed just once with 16.4 seconds left in the game, when the outcome of the game was no longer in doubt. Wall rested the first four and a half minutes of the fourth quarter, and when he entered the game, it was tied at 89. That last 7:36 of the quarter, Wall had a steal, two assists (which came within a 30-second span to Beal and Nene respectively), and nine points. He also helped hold Jennings to three points, an assist and two steals in that final quarter. Said CSN Washington’s Steve Buckhantz about Wall: “That young man had ice water in his veins.”

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)


DC Council Vetoed Participation

Piston’s free-throw shooting (21-for-35). Well it looks like the shoe was on the other Dave Hopla. Or something like that. Let’s be honest for a moment, if the Pistons were anywhere near adequate at the FT line, the Wizards would not be looking at .500 once again. Instead, the Pistons clanged their freebies, missed a bunch of bunnies and let the Wizards hang around despite being ice cold in the early parts of the third quarter. In direct contrast, the Wizards scorched the Pistons at the line, led by John Wall who converted 14 of 15 attempts.

—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)


DC Council Top Aide
It was baffling to see Kyle Singler able to beat Trevor Ariza on so many occasions. Josh Smith also got too physical for Ariza to handle on a handful of possessions. These issues were partially due to the Wizards focusing on stopping a of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, but they were also dwarfed by Ariza’s positive contributions otherwise. He often finds himself in the right places and that’s no accident. Eleven rebounds and six steals is more than a coach could ask for from his utility starting 3. Fifteen points on 11 shots (3-for-7 from deep), even if a couple attempts were misguided, is called icing on the cake. Get this man another coal for his hookah.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


DC Council Session

That Session Was … A Continued Evolution.

A round of applause for the most expensive 6th man in the league: Saint Nene. With the Brazilian firmly ensconced in the secondary unit due to minutes limitation, the bench has been more than merely “decent,” it has been downright effective the past few games. Nene’s ability to handle the ball maximizes the abilities of two players in particular: Otto Porter and Kevin Seraphin. Porter has looked like a decent rotational player because the things he was supposed to bring to the Wizards (smart decisions, passing, and occasional jumpers) are facilitated by Nene’s presence of mind to never let the ball get stuck in the offense. Seraphin thrives because Nene is pulling other bigs out past the restricted area, leaving Seraphin with more chances for low post touches and less 10-foot sweeping hook shots. This was all highlighted in one possession in the third quarter when all five Wizards on the floor (Temple, Porter, Webster, Seraphin, Nene) rotated the ball to lead to an easy Kevin Seraphin post touch. Nene is some expensive glue to use off the bench, but right now that is exactly where he should stay.

—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)


DC Council Mayor

It seemed like just a month or so ago,when Randy Wittman had neither the patience nor the trust in his bench to give his starters a breather, let alone swing a major portion of the game in the Wizards’ favor. But Monday night against the Pistons, he had two former starters on his bench (Nene and Webster) combine for 21 points and 10 rebounds, a player slowly emerging from the doghouse (Kevin Seraphin) to hit some timely second-half shots, and a rookie gaining his “sea legs” as Wittman likes to say about Otto Porter. Wittman kept his second unit in for the first 4:24 of the fourth quarter, and they erased the Pistons’ seven point lead. No wonder Wittman singled out the bench as THE reason why the Wizards won.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)

DC Council Players 

John Wall

4.5 out of 5 stars

38 mins | minus-10 | 29 pts | 7-15 FGs | 1-4 3Ps | 14-15 FTs | 4 rebs | 7 asts | 5 TOs

Wall wasn’t flawless, but he controlled the game by getting to the free throw line for 15 attempts, making 14 of them. While, since entering the league, people have been ready to knock Wall’s game because of his poor jumper, which has improved, no one has really given him enough credit for his ability to hit free throws since the beginning. His percentage from the line has improved each season, from .766 to .789 to .804 to .847 this season. On Monday night, he took hold of the game, dominated Brandon Jennings, and scored nine points in each of the final two quarters. Like a max. —K. Weidie

Bradley Beal

2.5 out of 5 stars

29 mins | minus-6 | 13 pts | 6-13 FGs | 1-4 3Ps | 0-0 FTs | 2 asts | 1 stl | 4 rebs | 3 TO

In the first half, Beal was a non-factor on offense (two points on 1-of-5 shooting) and a spectator on defense, as the majority of rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s 17 points came at his expense. Beal’s jumpshot (nine points) and his defensive intensity (Caldwell-Pope was scoreless after halftime) came alive in the third quarter, and Beal’s only basket of the fourth quarter gave the Wizards a 99-96 lead. While he didn’t show it visibly (save for one hard foul when he seemed to fall on his knee), Beal’s second consecutive game without a trip to the free throw line leads one to believe that he’s still hurting a bit. —R. Mobley

Trevor Ariza

3 out of 5 stars

36 mins | minus-8 | 15 pts | 5-11 FGs | 3-7 3Ps | 11 rebs | 4 asts | 6 stls | 1 TO

The better of the two Trevors, Ariza, did most of his damage on the defensive end. Ariza feasted on the sloppy ball-handling of the Pistons on his way to six steals, exploiting the errant passing of Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith. Ariza also led the team in rebounding, which is either a comment on his effort or the lack thereof from Gortat and other Wizards bigs. —S. Fagan

Trevor Booker

1 out of 5 stars

22 mins | minus -8 | 6 pts | 2-6 FGs | 2-3 FTs | 5 rebs

Nothing stood out about Booker’s game and that is perhaps a good thing. Booker was dominated on the evening by the Pistons rugged frontcourt and was failed by a peculiarly passive Marcin Gortat defensive effort. Booker’s will was still evident, but the way was lost as the Pistons grabbed every ball that did not go through the hoop. But hey, he keeps Nene’s minutes limited and isn’t killing the starting unit, so in that Booker does his job. —S. Fagan

Marcin Gortat

1.5 out of 5 stars

28 mins | minus-11 | 8 pts | 4-8 FGs | 3 rebs | 1 ast | 1 stls | 2 blks | 4 PFs

The Wizards won in spite of Gortat’s poor post play, definitely not because of it. Gortat seemingly spent the entire game watching the front line Greg Monroe, Josh Smith and Andre Drummond combine for 35 rebounds—15 of which were offensive (pun intended), second-chance scores. On seemingly every possession, Gortat was lingering somewhere in the high post, while the Pistons did their dirty work under the basket where the ball actually was. Gortat was scoreless in the second half, and he pulled a Bradley Beal by not attempting a single free throw. But he gets 1.5 stars for that lovely stuff of Josh Smith. —R. Mobley

Martell Webster

3.5 out of 5 stars

22 mins | plus-17 | 10 pts | 4-7 FGs | 2-4 3Ps | 4 rebs | 1 asts | 0 TOs

Webster’s plus-17 tied Garrett Temple for the team-high. His scoring numbers in Detroit don’t exactly make his contract dollar signs spin in your eyes, but Webster is paid to do much more. Some of his actions were definitely intent on not letting Kyle Singler be the one to beat the Wizards. But Webster’s leadership in a) being able to come off the bench, and b) being trusted to lead some of the offense off the bench are signs on how much Randy Wittman trusts Webster and why the organization paid him so much. Once again Webster is averaging more than two assists per 36 minutes (this year and last year, the only times in his career), and his turnovers per 36 minutes this season is down to a career-low 0.8. —K. Weidie


5 out of 5 stars

28 min | plus -13 | 11 pts | 5-9 FGs | 6 rebs | 5 asts

The straw that stirs the drink. It might be a bit much to give Nene all the snowflakes, but he basically plays quarterback on the second unit and that was the group that erased the Pistons 12-point advantage in the third quarter. It’s the perfect storm of opportunity for Nene. Let Seraphin and Booker do the banging, fling passes to your jump shooters, and make sure that Garrett Temple doesn’t hold onto the ball for more than three seconds. —S. Fagan

Otto Porter

2 out of 5 stars

9 mins | plus-14 | 7 pts | 3-4 FGs | 1 stl | 2 ast | 0 rebs

The slender one has put together two productive games for the first time in his brief NBA career. His jump shot looked more confident, as did his drives to the lane, which explains his first two trips to the free-throw line as an NBA player (he went 1-for-3). Porter was also active on the defensive end of the floor, as Bullets Forever’s Mike Prada noticed:

I’d rather be discussing how Porter scored 17 points in a half and then disappeared like Pistons’ rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (he did beat Porter’s season point total before Monday night in 17 minutes), but I can certainly settle for the encouraging, burgeoning sea legs of young Otto Porter. —R. Mobley



It’s all about Nene…

And please be careful, Bradley Beal…


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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.