D.C. Council Game 20: Wizards 74 vs Nuggets 75: Golden Chances Up in Hookah Smoke
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. 20: Wizards vs Nuggets; contributors: Adam McGinnis and Kyle Weidie from the Verizon Center, and Sean Fagan from his second-favorite spot in Brooklyn.
Washington Wizards 74 vs Denver Nuggets 75
So many chances to win….
Up one point, 74-73, with 2:10 left and the ball:
- John Wall misses a tough, fading jumper from the right elbow on a no-pass possession with six seconds on the shot clock.
- Then with about a minute left in the game, taking the ball out from under from the baseline with five seconds on the shot clock, the Wizards settle for a Hail Mary 3-point miss by Wall, but…
- Chris Singleton gets the offensive board; Wall ends up getting blocked by Kenneth Faried at the rim. The Nuggets run the other way, confusion ensues on defense, Gortat loses Faried, and Nate Robinson finds Faried for the dunk.
Down 75-74, 22 seconds left:
- Blown roll by Marcin Gortat, turnover pass by Trevor Ariza (to be discussed).
- Wall foul, Denver side-out.
- Delightful steal by Glen Rice!
- John Wall tries to knife through the lane off the pass, takes zero dribbles, and ends up missing a tougher-than-it-needed-to-be shot at the rim.
- Garrett Temple somehow gets the offensive rebound at point-blank range but is swallowed whole by Wilson Chandler. Before that happened, Temple’s shot got blocked.
- Ariza, the inbounder from the left baseline with about 12 seconds left, barely gets the ball in to Wall in the left corner.
- Ariza immediately runs to the right corner and goes relatively unnoticed as…
- Wall drives baseline and finds Ariza, who missed.
From watching the play again, Ariza looked to be the first pass option, assuming Wall getting to the rim or to the free throw line was the first option. When asked about late-game execution, Wittman referred to that shot:
“It did work. I don’t know if you can get a better shot than Trev’s. It was wide-open in the right corner. It’s just that one didn’t go in.”
It was a good look, you can’t argue that. And the final chance (Wittman’s plan: “Wanted to get John the ball and let him attack Nate Robinson.”):
- After Kenneth Faried missed two free throws, Wall got the ball with four seconds left, drove right off a high ball screen, pulled up just past the right elbow, and got the ball knocked away/his arm grabbed/or had the ball slip out of his grasp.
Game over, Wizards lose, fall to 9-11.
—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)
On an ugly evening of offensive basketball, it was difficult to locate a prime performer. John Wall had a game-high 20 points and eight assists. He nailed two 3-pointers that picked up a stagnant second-quarter offense, and he successfully attacked Denver’s defense with his patented offensive fast breaks. However, Wall’s night will be remembered for him coming up short at the end by being stripped (or fouled) by Nate Robinson at the final buzzer.
—Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis)
After Eric Maynor calmly bricked his first 3-point attempt I received a flurry of emails from my family and friends. “Eric Maynor is the worst PG I have ever seen,” stated my father. “Can you believe this guys is still in the NBA?” queried another friend. A bit harsh but it seems that #MaynorTime has this space on permanent lock down. It is less about what Maynor is unable to do (which appear to be most things on a basketball court) and more worrying because with every misstep the minutes load just gets heavier for John Wall.
—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)
With Nene out, Trevor Booker was inserted into the starting lineup and took advantage of his opportunity. Cook Book finished with a double-double and benefited from Denver’s small frontcourt lineups. His normal, erratic jumper looked surprisingly fluid and he totally outplayed his power forward counterpart, Kenneth Faried. This impressive outing should earn Trevor additional playing time.
—Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis)
That Session Was … Offensive.
As in there wasn’t much from either team that was pleasant to watch from an aesthetic point of view. With two of the Wizards’ primary playmakers on the shelf the ball movement was less than ideal, and without Beal and Webster, the Wizards are a pretty poor jump-shooting team. Yet shoot jumpers they did and that was what eventually cost the team their 12-point lead—and the game. Special mention should once again go the the bench who managed to contribute a grand total of five points, showing that the Wizards boast one of the league’s shallowest (if injury-depleted) units.
—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)
Randy Wittman handled his post-game press conference like he’d been there before. No panic, no desperation, but rather resigned to his fate and willing to try his hardest. He’s in the last year of his contract, and it’s playoffs or bust for him. Start second-round draft pick Glen Rice after giving him 43 total minutes over the 19 games prior (eight appearances)? Why not. The move paid off. (The coach, per his post-game comments, indicated that he had to start either Rice or Otto Porter because he didn’t want both rookies playing at the same time, and Otto is far from being ready.)
In fact, the Wizards should send Otto Porter to the D-League when the team is fully healthy (if the team ever gets fully healthy). It worked for Glen Rice. The rookie Rice only looked nervous in field goal percentage, otherwise he dribbled with a purpose, played hard-nosed defense, and seemed comfortable on the court.
Otherwise, #Pray4Randy. He’s trying to survive so many things, and damn if his bench isn’t the major, sore thumb, glaring concern. How can he rest his starters when his bench can’t even sustain a 12-point lead? The quote:
“End of the third, beginning of the fourth, I think we got up 12… Again, trying to get some rest for some guys, they next you know [the lead is down to] four, two. So we got to do a better job of sustaining leads than we have.”
—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)
5 out of 5 stars
38 mins | even plus/minus | 20 pts | 8-20 FGs | 2-5 3Ps | 2-4 FTs | 5 rebs | 8 asts | 3 stls | 4 TOs
Kyle tweeted this out as the game came down the stretch:
Getting surreptitiously dicey here in the Phone Booth. Is Max John Wall going to finish this? Or rookie contract John Wall?
— Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) December 10, 2013
Wall then clanked a bad fadeaway jumper with two guys in his face, got a game-winning shot rejected by Faried, and lost the ball when it mattered the most. This marks the second straight home loss where Wall ended the game in extremely disappointing fashion. #NoMoreExcuses, right? It is unfortunate because Wall’s spectacular talents continue to keep these rag tag lineups afloat and, without him, this team would struggle to be competitive.
Wall post-game tweet:
I gotta do better at end of games and make big plays….#wizplayoffs !!
— John Wall (@John_Wall) December 10, 2013
3 out of 5 stars
29 mins | minus-1 | 7 pts | 3-9 FGs | 1-5 3Ps | 3 rebs | 1 ast | 3 stls | 2 TOs
The offense was supposed to make Rice a viable player, but it was his defense that stood out in his first extended minutes in a Wizards uniform. Rice clanked his first two jumpers but showed defensive intensity by grabbing rebounds and picking the pocket of Professor Andre Miller, a feat in its own right. If Rice continues to get time, the shots will begin to fall because of how good his stroke is naturally. But it will be his defensive intensity that keeps him on the floor. —S Fagan
2.5 out of 5 stars
38 mins | plus-11 | 14 pts | 6-19 FGs | 2-9 3Ps | 7 rebs | 4 asts | 2 stls | 1 TO
Ariza is not a volume shooter. Nor should Trevor Ariza be asked to take on the burden of a secondary scoring threat on a a team with playoff aspirations. Yet here we are with Trevor Ariza taking 19 shots and connecting on only six. He is simply being asked to do much to make up for other players’ mistakes and that additional responsibility is leading to his shot selection to become wildly divergent. —S. Fagan
3.5 out of 5 stars
33 mins | plus-8 | 12 pts | 5-11 FGs | 2-2 FTs | 12 rebs (5 off) | 1 ast | 2 blks | 2 TOs
The Cook Book was serving more than scrambled eggs on a platter. Given a chance against the Nuggets, and Kenneth Faried, Trevor Booker brought the beef. He had an amazing tip-out, made a nice jumper, and blocked a shot with his stomach. Afterward, Booker was asked if he felt that the Wizards should have won after holding the Nuggets to 75 points.
“I mean, they held us to 74, so…” And on Washington’s defense: “We did a good defensive job, but they still scored one more point than us.”
2.5 out of 5 stars
38 mins | minus-2 | 16 pts | 8-17 FGs | 0-0 FTs | 8 rebs | 2 asts | 3 blks | 1 TO
The Polish Machine was humming early with twelve first-quarter points on 6-for-8 shooting. Inexplicably, there were long stretches of the game where the Wizards went away from running their offense through Gortat. His overall defense was outstanding and, as always, was an excellent screener on pick-and-rolls. He came up with a big fourth-quarter bucket to stop Denver’s momentum. My one quibble is that the team’s starting center, with a strong nickname, took 17 shots and did not earn one trip to the free throw line. —A. McGinnis
0.5 out of 5 stars
20 mins | minus-6 | 2 pts | 1-2 FGs | 0-2 FTs | 3 rebs | 1 ast | 2 stls | 1 TO
Jan Vesely almost had a career-making dunk. The Wizards were on the break, John Wall was measuring the pace, Vesely was running on his right, and Kenneth Faried stood between them. The lob from Wall seemed well-timed if a tad low … then again, maybe it was premature. The result was a hard foul and two missed free throws. Vesely played OK defense against Denver, but right now he does more harm via his lack of muscle and offensive ineptness. —K. Weidie
2 out of 5 stars
5 mins | minus-2 | 0 pts | 0-3 FGs | 1 reb | 1 ast | 1 TO
I volunteered to conduct the Eric Maynor autopsy since my TAI colleagues could use a night off from negative puns and metaphors. With #MaynorTime, it is short but never sweet. Nate Robinson drove by Maynor at will and Maynor’s leadership at the point was as ineffective as usual. Maynor heaved up a shot that could be one of the worst chucks that you will ever see in a game at any level. It missed left of the backboard by a good 10 feet. The home crowd gasped in horror before releasing a chorus of resounding boos. He was replaced by Temple in the second half. I shouldn’t be but he is so terrible right now that I just feel bad for the guy. —A. McGinnis
0.5 out of 5 stars
22 mins | minus-11 | 3 pts | 1-5 FGs | 0-1 3Ps | 1-1 FTs | 4 rebs | 1 blk | 1 TO
If you are being developed as a 3 and D guy it helps to be accomplished in at least one of those two areas. Singleton came in and bricked his first 3 and seemingly forgot the D part of his game as he lost the Nuggets frontcourt players on multiple occasions. —S. Fagan
Otto Porter, Jr.
0 out of 5
7:15 | minus-1 | 0 points | 0-0 FGs | 0-0 FTs | 1 reb | 0 asts | 0 stls | 0 blks | 0 PFs | 0 TOs
Don’t get up to go to the bathroom … because, ‘POOF! Be gone,’ might be the third overall pick in the 2013. Martell Webster sympathizes with the plight of Otto in the media. And that’s OK, that’s his teammate. But the excuses and adjustment period will last only so long. There’s not a ‘right’ time for Otto Porter to get on the court. Anytime is the right time. Now is the right time. Against the Nuggets, Otto didn’t look so much lost as invisible. And I suppose that’s improvement. We all want to be invisible, sometimes. —K. Weidie
Nate Robinson on… The Last Shot:
And the Last Shot:
- 3-on-3: Wall and Beal Cut from Team USA, Cassell’s Depature, and Continued #KSlife
- Drew Gooden for Team Finland at the FIBA World Cup? Plus Other Wizards and Ex-Wizards
- Sam Cassell Leaves Washington for LA Clippers, Will Be Missed by Wizards
- Marcin Gortat on Love, Loneliness, and the Polish Struggle