D.C. Council Game 26: Wizards 98 at Timberwolves 120: Wittman Sees Wolf Fangs, Hears a Wizard Moan | Truth About It.net

D.C. Council Game 26: Wizards 98 at Timberwolves 120: Wittman Sees Wolf Fangs, Hears a Wizard Moan

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Updated: December 28, 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. 26: Wizards at Timberwolves; contributors: John Converse Townsend, Conor Dirks, and Kyle Weidie from not in Minnesota.

[Yep, this is our lead image ... Kevin Seraphin must have had something funny to say to Trevor Ariza at this moment, too.]

[Yep, this is our lead image ... Kevin Seraphin must have had something funny to say to Trevor Ariza at this moment, too.]

Washington Wizards 98 at Timberwolves 120
[box score]


Jump to Council Player Ratings


 

DC Council Key Legislature

Where to start… Where to start…

Wall played well … in the first half, where he was red-hot and led all players with 22 points on 13 attempts. The problem is red-hot things tend to burn up and disappear into a cloud of ash. Wall finished with 26 and didn’t score at all in the third period.

The big story: The Wizards, hunting for their longest road winning streak in almost six years, had a one-point lead after the first quarter, but then gave up 39 points to the Timberwolves in the second—a defensive collapse that all but ended their shot at .500.

The Wizards got smoked in the paint like a Christmas ham, losing that battle 48-34. They were outmuscled on the glass, 44-35, which led to a 16-7 second-chance point margin in favor of Minnesota. The Wizards got punished when they turned it over, which was often (13), giving up 19 points the other way. And they were so content to settle for outside shots that they didn’t bother to put the rock on the floor and attack the rim. The T-Wolves made more than twice as many free throws (31) than the Wizards (14) and attempted 38 total.

J.J. Barea dropped 17 points off the bench, out-scoring every Wizard not named John Wall. Kevin Love had 25 points and 11 rebounds. Pekovic had 18 and 10.

In short: It was an absolute embarrassment for Wittman & Co.

Oh, let’s not forget Bradley Beal was carried off the court with a knee injury after running into Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. They bumped knees—it didn’t look like much—but Beal, prone to bumps, bruises and breaks, remained on the hardwood, in a heap, helpless.

—John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)


 

DC Council Chair

The bench…? “Blessed” with Nene and Martell Webster—two players who should be in the starting lineup for Washington—the bench, the worst in the league with a NetRtg of minus-14.1, wasn’t a complete shit show.

Still, the rest of the bench mob—Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton (!), Garrett Temple, Otto Porter, and Eric Maynor—did next to nothing.

Minny’s bench out-scored D.C.’s bench 44-30, out-rebounded them 13-10, and out-assisted them 7-5.

—John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)


 

DC Council Vetoed Participation

With all respect due to “hands,” which were not as quick or as active as one would expect in an NBA game, forcing all of four (4) turnovers, this goes to Marcin Gortat, who shied away from his matchup with Nikola Pekovic and allowed his hideous adversary to simply do more. Gortat wasn’t awful, he wasn’t ineffective when he shot (3-for-6 from the floor), he was just largely … I don’t even remember. Gortat waited to receive opportunities rather than demanding them, and that’s nice, and that’s polite on Christmas day, and that’s not what the team needs.

—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)


 

DC Council Top Aide
John Wall has evolved (charmander-to-charmeleon at least) enough so that we don’t have to note his decent box score sandwiched in between a few CVS egg salad wraps and praise him because he played well in the first half while his teammates lackadaisically deferred to the home team. No, no, no. The heir apparent to Derrick Rose’s All-Star spot deserves a drop of the opposite medicine after avoiding involvement, and therefore agency, in the second half. A losing team needs a star who knows losing—knows it well enough to recognize it when it flicks his ear, tells him to wake up and eat flavorless grits again for breakfast. Pull the whole fucking tablecloth off, man.

He’s the top aide by default, because he was the best player on the team and John Converse Townsend’s Council Chair was esoteric enough to allow these paragraphs to exist. He is the best player on this team, too, but let it not be just by default. A pattern of second-half slumping, a loss that gains 100 pounds and suffocates you when you’re trying to get out of its leghold … you expect more out of Wall, you expect him to rail against such tepid defeat.

—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)


 

DC Council Session

That Session Was … A Bitch of a Bench Rearing Its Ugly Head.

Maybe it was about the Wizards, despite possessing the ability to check Kevin Love, not having a single player capable of grinding their teeth and getting down on defense—Nene’s too old, Jan Vesely’s still a weak puppy, and Trevor Booker doesn’t have the wingspan. (Oh yea, Marcin Gortat tried checking Love, too … it was mostly a disaster.)

Maybe it was about Minnesota’s girth down low … in the paint I’m talking about. So many offensive rebounds (14-9, Minny), so many second chance points (16-7, Minny), so many points in the paint (48-34, Minny).

Maybe it was all about Washington’s bench and their second-quarter “prime time.” No matter how much, in theory, Nene and Martell Webster not starting boosts the second unit, their talents can still be negated when paired with incapable teammates in a sport that requires five players to interact cohesively.

Otto Porter, Jan Vesely, and Garrett Temple, to be specific, were and continue to play terrible … barely NBA players. Barely D-League All-Stars. On the evening, Vesely and Porter combined for 21 minutes and one single rebound (Vesely’s).

I rewatched the second quarter and rediscovered a delightful collection of observations, such as Vesely becoming an unaware kitten at the ball of string that was J.J. Barea; Otto Porter closing out like a third-grader on a shooter who clearly wanted to drive; and Temple trying to force telegraphed passes in lanes that were not there.

Nene, at one point, tipped a ball in Washington’s own basket early in the second quarter, capping a 13-1 Minnesota run. It was just about as unfortunate as the flat jumper he jacked on the other end of the court that clanged off the back of the rim. By the time the starters returned in the second quarter, Minnesota’s game plan was already on too much of a roll—penetrate and shoot, offensive rebound if that doesn’t work, pat the helpless Wizards on the very top of their lil’ Wizard heads.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


 

DC Council Mayor

People are mad that Randy Wittman didn’t have Bradley Beal riding the bench in a blowout instead of getting hurt. I get that.

Around the time of Beal’s injury, the Wizards were down 21 points on the road with just over four and a half minutes to go. Seems insurmountable and, at that point, inconsequential when you’re about to play the Detroit Pistons twice in three days immediately upon leaving the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Crazier things have happened, but terrible things could happen.

What is also worth noting is that Beal was at minute 26 of what is presumed to be a soft 30-minute maximum. Wittman had planned to have him in at the end of the game and he was going to do it anyway. If you would’ve asked Beal, he wouldn’t want to come out of the game. In just his fourth back after missing nine, the player was still trying, wanting to get his wind.

Maybe I’m trying to talk myself away from the ‘Blame Wittman’ camp. Maybe I’ve come to cope with injuries as an occurrence of chance separate from basketball strategy and plans. Maybe Beal’s injury won’t be that bad. But if I were coach, I wouldn’t have thrown in the white flag.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


DC Council Players

There has to be one good play…

John Wall

3 out of 5 stars

36 mins | minus-16 | 26 pts | 11-20 FGs | 1-4 3Ps | 3-3 FTs | 7 asts | 0 stls | 4 rebs | 1 TO

Decent shooting, low turnovers, cumulative heat-check (as in thermal-imaging a house for growing operations from the cold street, not taking a sip from a cup of tea you know damn well is too hot) 3-pointers, unsurely progressing through a game won in fine fashion just weeks earlier. The Wizards simply must hire an overweight ponytailed individual to stand outside the locker room in a fuschia windbreaker and tell John that he’ll never be the best point guard in the NBA after each halftime. Whatever it takes to motivate him. WHATEVER IT TAKES. —C. Dirks

Bradley Beal

2 out of 5 stars

26 mins | minus-19 | 14 pts | 5-12 FGs | 2-3 3Ps | 2-2 FTs | 1 ast | 0 stls | 3 rebs | 2 TOs

I hear a moan. Injury is certain. All you really care about is that Bradley Beal was carried off the floor following a banging of the kneecaps and that while his x-ray was “negative,” his MRI has yet to occur, or the results have yet to be disclosed. Hope for the best/couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy/take your time healing again/we caught it early/well actually it was just an injury that happened. What you don’t rightly care about or even want to hear about is that he continued to use possessions to fire up foul midrange attempts, missing six such shots on the evening. While Beal’s jumper is “as smooth as eggs,” he still needs to iron out a few wrinkles.—C. Dirks

Trevor Ariza

1 out of 5 stars

24 pts | minus-2 | 10 pts | 3-9 FGs | 2-5 3Ps | 2 rebs | 2 asts | 1 TO

Ariza looked to have a Holiday Hookah Hangover. He did toss in a 3-pointer or so when Washington was trying to come back and, on a rare occasion, Ariza was able to find pockets of creation for Washington’s offense, but his efforts were otherwise ghosted into smoke. With the Wizards getting beat on the boards so bad, they could have used more from Ariza in the 50/50 ball department. —K. Weidie

Trevor Booker

3 out of 5 stars

27 mins | minus-14 | 10 pts | 5-7 FGs | 9 rebs (4 offensive) | 1 blk | 2 TO

Booker, despite a horrendous team performance, is still ballin’. He is doing his best to make the game of basketball as rudimentary as possible: running the floor, occupying space, using his athleticism to take advantage of (even) smaller, weaker players.

The issue on Friday night was that he was matched up against Kevin Love, the league’s most dangerous power forward. Before the game, Wittman said, “I don’t know if you’re going to stop [Love] … just try to make it as difficult as you can.”

Booker did his best to get physical. He threw his weight at Love, crowding him like a punk in a mosh pit, but Love was simply far too talented to be fazed. In the end, it wasn’t much of a contest.  —J.C. Townsend

Marcin Gortat

1 out of 5 stars

24 mins | minus-2 | 8 pts | 3-6 FGs | 2-2 FTs | 7 rebs | 3 ast | 1 TO

Gortat’s first points came with 9:25 left in the third quarter. His make brought the Wizards within 15 points of the Timberwolves, 51-66.

Yeah… He played like he was scared of Pekovic, and, as usual, he just wasn’t the rim-protector his team needed. —J.C. Townsend

Jan Vesely

0.5 out of 5 stars

9 mins | minus-9 | 2 pts | 1-1 FGs | 1 reb | 1 stl | 1 ast | 1 PF

As much as any Wizard, Jan Vesely was a sleepwalker through his nine minutes on the court. He got a close-up look at J.J. Barea making a layup in his face, he got lost on a couple defensive rotations, and he let Dante Cunningham, a capable shooter, knock down a J in his face. Vesely did have a couple of cute rebound tip-outs, which would be nice if the NBA was about dedicating an entire position on the court to a single player doing just that. —K. Weidie

Martell Webster

1 out of 5 stars

30 mins | minus-11 | 11 pts | 4-11 FGs | 3-7 3Ps | 3 rebs | 1 ast | 4 PFs

Per the Comcast report, Martell Webster hung around D.C. during the holidays to stay sharp. Didn’t help in the cold of Minnesota. Against his former team—although the GM presumed to have wronged Webster, David Kahn, is long gone—Webster put up a stinker. Going back and watching some of his shot attempts, it’s not like Minnesota was going out of their way to lock Webster down, he just could not find a rhythm.  —K. Weidie

Nene

3 out of 5 stars

22 mins | minus-9 | 13 pts | 4-10 FGs | 5-8 FTs | 5 rebs | 2 TOs

Nene checked in with about five minutes left in the first quarter and, unlike Booker or Gortat, attacked Kevin Love right away. Nene missed his layup attempt, though. Not to sell him too short: Nene did make a nice turnaround J and even flashed his dynamic talent with a beautiful up-and-under move.

His line doesn’t look bad, but, given his role as the team’s most important and expensive player, he disappointed. Little Ricky Rubio, the face of the T-Wolves franchise, countered Nene’s contributions with 11 points (7-for-8 from the line), eight rebounds, nine assists, three steals, and no turnovers. —J.C. Townsend

Otto Porter

0.5 out of 5 stars

12 mins | minus-11 | 2 pts | 1-2 FGs | 0-1 3Ps | 1 ast | 1 stl

You’re more than just a pretty face, Sir Porter. You’re more than a ghost on the perimeter. You’re a third overall pick, and no one remembers.—C. Dirks

 


 

Other Stuff.

Minnesota was evidently taking it into the paint like a Tom Gugliotta bicep tattoo:

Hopelessly positive, perhaps?

Unfortunate predicting, completely.

John Wall 360 defense.

 


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