D.C. Council Game 45: Wizards 103 at Clippers 110: Lob City Security Breach: DC Hackers Can’t Connect from Long Distance
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. 45: Wizards at Clippers; contributors: Kyle Weidie and Conor Dirks from the District, and Sean Fagan from Brooklyn.
Washington Wizards 103 at Los Angeles Clippers 110
Turn on sound for Buckhantz.
Well, Sisyphus’ boulder rolled downhill for the seventh time this year. Or perhaps the better example would be Tantalus, who was punished for his crimes to spend eternity reaching for food and water he could never quite reach. Whichever myth you choose, the short answer is that the Wizards did not get above .500 and once again have to withstand a barrage of repetitive questions from AP Reporters around the world.
Randy Wittman would have you know that it would be hogwash to say that his young charges were tired, but based on the atrocious shooting figures from beyond the arc (3-22) and the monumental free throw disparity (17 trips to the line for the Wizards, 42 for the Clips) it could be surmised that exhaustion might play a part in not getting enough lift on one’s jumpers and committing fouls from mental fatigue rather than a lack of preparedness. Nor does it help that the Clippers are on a very short list of teams in the league that you absolutely do not want to face on a back-to-back. DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin took the Wizards big men to the woodshed and administered a serious paddling, with Jordan collecting 17 rebounds and Griffin scoring a game-high 29 points. Unlike the Wizards, the Clippers were efficient with the ball which was demonstrated by their paltry attempts from 3-point land (only 15 attempts) and their focus on working the ball inside and letting the Wizards play hack-a-Jordan.
This focus on the Clippers obscures the fact that the Wizards went down with their guns blazing and managed to make the game competitive after a first half that had “blowout” written all over it. L.A. John Wall is evidently not Utah John Wall (maybe because he had his coffee?) and he kept the Wizards in the game with heady play and even cut back on the absurd amount of jumpers he has taken as of late. However despite quick not being fair, one also can’t teach size (nor can you gameplan for DeAndre Jordan learning overnight to hit free throws) and on this night Hercules triumphed over Hermes.
—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)
On two occasions during the course of the game, Wall could be seen slamming the ball down in frustration after the whistle. Wall, who survived years of mistake-riddled basketball on those 2010-2012 Wizards teams, knows what it is like to be playing well on a team that isn’t otherwise performing. He must be terrified, he must be traumatized … he must never want to go back to that. This season has mostly been a different story, but against the Clippers, Wall’s artillery from behind the arc missed time and time again, and his big men could not defend L.A.’s predictably Griffin-based offense.
It speaks to Wall’s court-learnin’ that he didn’t let his frustration metastasize into something uglier. He shot 7-for-9 from inside the 3-point line (and 0-for-3 otherwise), and concentrated on making plays for his teammates (11 assists) rather than resigning himself to the isolation possessions that peppered the win against Golden State. But as Kyle Weidie pointed out on Twitter during the game, this one felt weird, and Wall’s excellent performance wasn’t nearly enough to overcome all of the historic strangeness going on around him.
—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)
With likely good reason, I don’t remember Otto Porter playing a minute, but the box score says he did, even if that numerical “1” is followed by 15 zeros (but a plus-2 in the plus/minus column!).
We pick on Otto, perhaps unfairly, perhaps fairly, and as basketball observers, we will likely pick on Otto some more (predicated on basketball action, of course). We know that Otto will get better, but how much better is the question. We rest assured at night knowing that Twitter otherwise will counter-balance by pointing out every positive pixel surrounding Otto—every deflection, every bench high five, every save of a loose-ball rebound from going out of bounds, and every mouth-agape moment where the young Otto man is astounded by the basketball-ing capabilities of his colleagues. We will: #Pray4Otto.
Also, Otto, like No. 1 overall draft pick Anthony Bennett, has essentially been vetoed from the NBA’s Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend in New Orleans. So there’s that.
Actually, let’s pick on Martell Webster: 40 percent from 3-point land in the month of January isn’t terrible, but he’s got to pick it up if he’s going to be such a liability on defense.
—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)
By default this would have to go to Bradley Beal, as guard play is what kept the Wizards alive and breathing in the game. Yet, it is hard to forgive Beal and the other guards for forgetting that J.J. Reddick is still one of the best shooters in the league and that if you give him a foot of space to take his shot then you will mostly like find yourself trotting upcourt in the opposite direction. So to completely switch directions the choice will be Kevin Seraphin, which is a baffling choice upon first glance but not if you take the sum of his play into account. After entering the game and shooting a 17 footer and attempting a ridiculous drive to the hoop, Seraphin settled in the game nicely and went 5-for-8 from the field and collected seven boards. He also brought the Wizards within striking range with a clutch shot, which is a sentence that will probably never be written again this year. For the Wizards to thrive during the dog days of February they will need many more performances like this from #KSLife.
—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)
That session … an impotent witch hunt in the wrong province.
The internet hates Blake Griffin. A timely article arrived yesterday morning from Zach Lowe, noting Griffin’s improvement in the post, as well as his propensity to fuel contempt and futile rage among some fans and writers. Griffin even appeared earlier this month on Shaqtin’ a Fool, TNT’s blooper program that was more or less inspired by former Wizard Javale McGee.
At times, it doesn’t make sense. Griffin is an All-Star who is also marketed well, is featured in creative (if also annoying) car commercials, and throws down highlight reel dunks all the time. Why is he so despised?
My guess? Some combination of an apparent lack of joy after dunks that resembles vacuity more than mean-mugging, shameless flopping combined with the occasional referee-imposed safety bubble, the shared spotlight with the traditionally popular Lakers, and his team’s failure to make the Western Conference Finals despite being “in the mix” every year.
The Wizards don’t like him either. So they took up their pitchforks, stormed the compound, and then couldn’t figure out a way to open the gate. Both Nene and Gortat got in foul trouble early, leaving an eager but hopelessly overmatched Trevor Booker to contend with Griffin on the block and in the air. Should Nene have known not to try to draw a charge on Griffin? Should the Wizards have been less physical? No, and no. Griffin is the best player on the team with Paul out, and he is going to play his mysteriously infuriating game, and he is going to get his. Whether you believe it is in collusion with the officiating crew (and at times you most likely did) is irrelevant. Why?
The Wizards could and probably should have won their way. Washington shot 3-for-22 on 3-pointers (the starters were 0-for-13). Had Washington knocked them down at their average clip, they would most likely have held the lead in the final minutes, rather than chasing down glory on the back of a poorly-implemented Hack-a-Human gimmick.
—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)
No, he’s not your precious George Karl.
Yep, the Wizards could probably, maybe (but with uncertainty) have a better coach.
But, shit … the goddamn current coach is shouldering too much blame for a team that was essentially built to play .500 basketball, which they are doing. John Wall has blossomed under Randy Wittman (and his staff, including Sam Cassell). Go ask how Kyrie Irving is doing.
Otherwise, Wittman isn’t getting fired this season. It would probably be a stupid move to fire a coach who has the endorsement of players midseason, anyway. BUT, something in Wizards Nation has to be complained about … so be it.
In the game against the Clippers, a back-to-back, Wittman continued to deal with minutes limit issues, and thus his starters only spent 10 minutes on the floor together. What’s a coach to do?
Get rejected by a referee, apparently.
—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)
5 out of 5 stars
36 mins | minus-3 | 19 pts | 7-12 FGs | 0-3 3Ps | 5-6 FTs | 4 rebs | 11 asts | 3 TOs
John Wall would have eclipsed 20 assists easily if his teammates had been able to overcome their exhaustion and put the ball through the hoop. Wall especially impressed with his decision making such as holding the ball after a steal (twice in the second quarter) instead of frantically driving towards the basket. Game Manager John Wall is not as exciting as Reckless John Wall, but the Wizards are going to win more games with the former rather than the latter. —S. Fagan
3.5 out of 5 stars
31 mins | minus-10 | 20 pts | 8-15 FGs | 0-3 3Ps | 4-6 FTs | 0 rebs | 3 asts | 2 stls
Even though his missed all three of his 3-point attempts and didn’t get a single rebound, it was another mostly encouraging performance from Beal. He seems to be driving to the basket more, and his jump shot eggs are getting smoother.—K. Weidie
2 out of 5 stars
37 mins | minus-1 | 13 pts | 6-16 FGs | 0-6 3Ps | 1-1 FTs | 3 rebs | 6 asts | 1 stl | 3 TOs
The game was even worse for Ariza than the stats suggests, as his final field goal was a garbage time dunk. Ariza missed all six of his 3-point attempts, four of which were from above-the-break, a far less potent launching pad for your average apple-cherry hookah bomb. His typically good Trevor Ariza “arms” defense on Jamal Crawford in the fourth quarter game earns him one more star than he would otherwise deserve. —C. Dirks
2 out of 5 stars
26 mins | minus-12 | 14 pts | 7-15 FGs | 0-1 3Ps | 0-1 FTs | 8 rebs | 6 asts | 2 stls | 4 TOs
This was Nene’s nightmare manifested in the waking world. His attempts around the basket (where he shot 50 percent) were hampered by the hands of many a Clipper, but the referees were impishly reluctant to make the contact official by blowing the whistle. And when Nene was defending Blake Griffin … well, you know. All of a sudden Monty McCutchen wanted to be a drill sergeant.
The looks of incredulity on Nene’s face were priceless if you value looks of incredulity. Despite the foul trouble and the trouble otherwise on defense, Nene was the largo al factotum facilitator that the Wizards have come to expect and understand. —C. Dirks
1.5 out of 5 stars
24 mins | minus-2 | 8 pts | 4-4 FGs | 5 rebs | 1 asts | 1 stl | 3 blks | 3 PFs
How else can you put it? Marcin Gortat played like a puppy. Yea, he made all four of his shot attempts (got one pretty set-up by Wall, seen below, and found himself with a very #SoWizards manufactured baseline jumper, seen at the top), but otherwise what’s left to remember after five rebounds in 24 minutes while DeAndre Jordan collected 17 rebounds in 42 minutes? I guess Gortat could have gotten more run, but there are plenty of reasons why he did not.—K. Weidie
1 out of 5 stars
18 mins | plus-6 | 6 pts | 3-6 FGs | 0-2 FTs | 5 rebs | 2 TOs | 2 PFs
Trevor Booker gave DeAndre Jordan a clear path to the basket foul. He also spent most of his evening getting dunked on and shot over by his arch-nemesis, Blake Griffin. I think Trevor would probably like to have this game back as a mulligan. —S. Fagan
1.5 out of 5 stars
27 mins | minus-5 | 9 pts | 3-8 FGs | 3-7 3Ps | 0-0 FTs | 2 rebs | 1 ast | 1 TO
This season hasn’t had enough Martell Webster … evidently Jamal Crawford could use some more. —K. Weidie
0 out of 5 stars
13 mins | plus-4 | 4 pts | 2-4 FGs | 0-1 3Ps | 0-1 FTs | 2 rebs | 2 asts | 2 stls | 0 TOs | 5 PFs
Garrett Temple spent Tuesday night watching Al Thornton mixtapes. It is the only reason to explain why he decided the foul Jamal Crawford from behind the arc and then keep fouling him as if in denial that Crawford is one of the game’s best free throw shooters. —S. Fagan
3 out of 5 stars
29 mins | minus-6 | 13 pts | 5-8 FGs | 0-6 3Ps | 1-1 FTs | 7 rebs | 1 ast | 1 blk | 2 TOs
Seraphin played the entirety of the fourth quarter, and held up better than expected. DeAndre Jordan, who also spent the entire fourth quarter on the floor, did not hit (or slam home) a field goal during the final stanza. Most surprisingly, when the Clippers (having read the scouting report) swarmed Seraphin on the post, he successfully passed out of it, which jumpstarted the ball around the horn and ended in a Washington basket. —C. Dirks
The Nene Report.