D.C. Council Game 21: Wizards 99 at Hawks 101: Hangovers & Heartbreaks, ATL Still Unkind in Overtime | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

D.C. Council Game 21: Wizards 99 at Hawks 101: Hangovers & Heartbreaks, ATL Still Unkind in Overtime

Updated: December 14, 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. 21: Wizards at Hawks; contributors: Adam McGinnisConor Dirks and Arish Narayen from the D-M-V.

[Jan Vesely at the free throw line.]

[Jan Vesely at the free throw line.]

Washington Wizards 99 at Atlanta Hawks 101
[box score]

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DC Council Key Legislature

The game was a lesson in recency bias. People tend to fixate on the last few plays of a close game, analyzing every iota of what went wrong at the end. Yes, Al Horford crushed the Wizards’ dreams with a buzzer-beating turnaround 12-footer from the baseline. The sideline out-of-bounds lob pass to Horford with 1.8 seconds left may or may not have grazed Trevor Booker’s fingertips. Maybe the Wiz should have given extra attention to the guy who had already dropped 32 points on them. Or, perhaps, Washington should have drawn up a better play for John Wall at the end of the fourth quarter, when there was a chance to win the game with 5.5 seconds left and Randy Wittman’s team went with the always high percentage ISO WALL JUMPER. Like the previous two losses, there were many opportunities to win.

But this particular game was lost in the third quarter: the Wizards were outscored by eight, turned the ball over seven times, and shot 5-for-16 from the field. Wall airballed a pull up 3-pointer. Jan Vesely had to shoot free throws. Kevin Seraphin did Kevin Seraphin things. The bench, which may be the worst in the league, played a lot. Points in the third quarter count just as much as they do in the fourth, and the Wizards spent the rest of the game digging themselves out of a hole. To their credit, the team did overcome a 15-point deficit in the fourth, but it wasn’t enough. Otto Porter scored, though.

—Arish Narayen


DC Council Chair

It’s rare, in a loss so painful to watch, to have a clear and happily lauded player available for this distinguished award, but Trevor Booker played an incredible game. He was the only Wizards starter who exceeded his expected contribution, and he did so by a wide margin. Without Booker’s persistence on the glass, his timely midrange jumpers from the top of the key, and his activity around the basket, the Wizards don’t make it to overtime, and don’t have a chance to win the game once there.

Booker did seem to lose what would have likely been the game-clinching defensive rebound to air and adrenaline and hands, but it shouldn’t mar what was an otherwise outstanding performance. There are no moral victories in a loss for the team, but I hope that in a moment of quiet reflection, when the plane has been boarded and sweet Otto Porter is snoring peacefully beside him, Booker takes the time to smile privately and realize that if he keeps playing well there is opportunity for him on a Wizards team desperate for surprises.

—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)


DC Council Vetoed Participation

John Wall’s increased confidence in his jump shot has benefited his overall game, but in Atlanta on Friday night, he fell victim to over-reliance on it. Only seven of his 22 shot attempts came in the paint, and he had zero trips to the free throw line. When Wall finally started driving, good things happened. But he committed too many careless turnovers. For the third straight game, Wall was unable to make a game-winning play at the end of regulation. Of course it was an errant jumper.

—Adam McGinnis (@adammcginnis)


DC Council Top Aide

Martell Webster has been a revelation since coming to the District, providing valuable spacing and shooting efficiently from the corners (39.8% from 3-point this season). Versus the Hawks, Webster’s 3-point stroke was not there, but he made up for it by getting to the line and making all seven of his free throw attempts. This season, Webster has only averaged two free throw attempts per game. Given his shooting abilities from outside the arc, a pump-fake-dribble-drive game would be invaluable for him.

—Arish Narayen


DC Council Session

That Session Was … Unprofessional.

Yea, all [the NBATV interviews] shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded
Leave not a [moral victory] behind. We are such stuff
As [tattoo articles] are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with [another overtime loss]. 

On a night where John Wall fell in love with a jumper only John Wall’s mother could love, and a night after he hosted a nightclub event with one Toya Wright at Midtown Atlanta’s Vanquish Lounge, Wall’s shot was as flat as an opened and unfinished beer left overnight through the first three quarters. Marcin Gortat, meanwhile, looked like me at my first school dance in 6th grade: shy, no undershirt, avoiding human contact, and with no idea how to move.

Like any good fraternity, Wall and the Wizards were plenty glad to shake off the glitter for a boot-and-rally in the fourth (11 points for Wall in the final quarter), and then again in overtime (five assists for Wall in OT). The Hawks, true to their Eastern Conference accidental excellence, looked like they couldn’t quite hit the last beer pong cup. Until Al Horford did.

But perhaps the most Busch-league (see what I did there?) contribution of the night was from Randy Wittman, who pulled his starters with seven minutes left in the third quarter to (presumably) light a fire under Wall and Gortat’s respective bums. It’s increasingly clear that this is Randy’s primary tool for motivation. The team has come out flat in the first quarter during this stretch of games, each bookended with protracted rest—all the benching in the world won’t fix that. And another John Wall isolation jumper call out of a timeout to end regulation? Get that nonsense out of here.

P.S. Don’t host parties at a club the night before a game. It’s a Blatche move. Even if it doesn’t affect your play, people will assume it has. See above.

—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)


DC Council Mayor

Randy has been squeezing for some bench juice all season and finally got some refreshing relief. The second unit scored 17 first-half points in their best stretch of play in forever. When the starters struggled to begin the second half, Wittman went with an early hook and put in the bench again. It did not have similar positive results. The Wizards made a valiant comeback but ended up losing another tough one. Wittman better get the team ready for the Clippers tonight. Not having Gortat in for Horford’s game-winning shot proved costly. Oh, Coach should be credited for not playing Eric Maynor because all fans needed a break from #MaynorTime.

—Adam McGinnis (@adammcginnis)


DC Council Players

John Wall

3.5 out of 5 stars

37 mins | minus-1 | 13 pts | 6-22 FGs | 1-4 3Ps | 0-0 FTs | 4 rebs | 11 asts | 0 stls | 4 TOs

An obvious off shooting night for John Wall, who tried to find his jump shot early but was unable. He didn’t score until he made a layup with 2:32 left in the second quarter. The other 11 points came in the fourth quarter, during a furious rally in which Wall was the conductor. Wall missed a tough jumper to win the game with time expiring in the fourth quarter, but did find Booker with a nice pass to tie the game in OT.

HOWEVER, (/Stephen A. Smith voice) this is what bothers me: a player averaging 5.2 free throw attempts per game did not get to the free throw line once. A player with Wall’s handle, speed and skills needs to force the issue at the rim when his shot isn’t falling. I know teams tend to go under screens with Wall, the Wizards suffer from spacing issues, etc. It’s easier said than done, and it’s coming from a person who could eat an entire bag of kettle cooked chips while watching a game. But come on, man. The charity stripe is your friend. —A. Narayen

Martell Webster

2.5 out of 5 stars

39 mins | minus-5 | 15 pts | 4-12 FGs | 0-3 3Ps | 7-7 FTs | 8 rebs | 0 asts | 1 stl | 2 TOs

Webster gets half a star for several nice defensive plays, the most impressive of which was successfully thwarting a 2-on-1 fast break by the Hawks. He gets another half for getting to the line (four more free throws (7) than the rest of the team combined). Other than that, the shots just weren’t falling. And since hitting shots, especially 3-pointers (0-for-3), is Webster’s role on the court, the role went largely unfulfilled. —C. Dirks

Trevor Ariza

2 out of 5 stars

33 mins | plus-1 | 10 pts | 4-7 FGs | 1-2 3Ps | 6 rebs | 1 asts | 1 stls | 1 TO

Trevor was not bad Ariza … or the awesome one either. He was just kind of out there. Trevor did have a big steal at the end of regulation and a key 3 in overtime. —A. McGinnis

Trevor Booker

5 out of 5 stars

44 mins | plus-2 | 24 pts | 12-19 FGs | 0-1 FTs | 14 rebs | 2 asts | 1 blk | 1 TO

Given another start due to Nene’s injury, Trevor Booker did not disappoint. The normally inconsistent jump shot was on point, and his career night was capped by a ridiculously athletic reverse layup that should have sent the game to a second overtime. Alas, the Wizards frontcourt had no answer for Al Horford defensively, and Booker most certainly spent the night thinking about the last second pass to Horford that he nearly intercepted. Still, Cook Book was the best player on the floor for the Wiz, and needs to continue playing at a high level with Nene’s chronic injuries and the team’s thin bench. —A. Narayen

Marcin Gortat

2 out of 5 stars

37 mins | plus-2 | 12 pts | 6-10 FGs | 10 rebs | 6 asts | 4 TOs

The stat line looks fine, but it looks far more fine for Atlanta’s Al Horford, who went 15-for-23 (for 34 points), grabbed 15 rebounds, and made Gortat look like one of those people who grimace and plug their ears in tasteless discomfort as an ambulance screams by early in the game. Where is the guy who set double-screens and forced Wall to run the pick-and-roll? The assists were fun to see from the big man, but sometimes the Wizards need a dictator in the paint, not a parliamentarian. —C. Dirks

Jan Vesely

3 out of 5 stars

18 mins | plus-3 | 8 pts | 4-9 FGs | 0-2 FTs | 5 rebs | 1 ast | 1 blk

Jan made not one but two sweet post moves. Vesely still missed a few point-blank shots and gets pushed around too much in the paint. Phil Chenier pointed out that Vesely locks his knees when he shoots free throws, which forces him to shoot them all with his upper body. However, he is making himself valuable with tip-outs, hustle plays, and solid screens. If he can continue to show confidence in his offensive game, Jan might be a solution (crazy, huh?) to the bench woes.  —A. McGinnis

Glen Rice, Jr.

2.5 out of 5 stars

19 mins | minus-3 | 8 pts | 2-8 FGs | 2-4 3Ps | 5 reb | 1 ast | 2 TO

Rice Rice Baby came out firing in his Atlanta homecoming and helped spark the bench on their impressive second quarter run. Rice still has a tendency to play out of control at times, but he is fearless and possesses some play making ability. His active defense has been a pleasant surprise. —A. McGinnis

Kevin Seraphin

6 mins | minus-3 | 2 pts | 1-3 FGs | 0-0 FT | 3 rebs | 1 blk | 3 fouls | 2 TOs

Obligatory #morefoulsthanpoints reference. Needless to say, Seraphin did not acquit himself well as Booker’s backup, scoring on a putback alone. I’m just going to assume that the search for Snakey is affecting his game. —A. Narayen

Otto Porter, Jr.

INFINITY (or 2.25) out of 5

16 mins | plus-3 | 4 pts | 2-6 FGs | 0-1 3Ps | 4 rebs

Otto Porter is a magnificent human who never misses basketnets and only gives the smilethings and worries about his aggressionparts but they’re all just hiding underneath the crystallized superlatives about his intangibles from sportswriters which line his skin and protect him from meanness.

Porter hit the first shot of his career late in the first quarter of this one (Porter’s third game played), meaning his career will be more successful than first overall pick Anthony Bennett’s, since Bennett didn’t hit his first shot until five games in. One transferrable positive that I witnessed here was Porter’s pointed effort to put himself in a position to rebound the ball. It will earn him minutes, even while he’s figuring out how to assert himself elsewhere. —C. Dirks



Jan Vesely Time?


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Conor Dirks
Reporter / Writer / Co-Editor at TAI
Conor has been with TAI since 2012, and aids in the seamless editorial process that brings you the kind of high-octane blogging you have come to expect from this rad website. The Wizards have been an assiduous companion throughout his years on the cosmic waiver wire. He lives in D.C. and is day-to-day.