D.C. Council Game 41: Wizards 111 vs Celtics 113 (OT): WHERE’S WALLACE? Wiz Crash Down to .488 | Truth About It.net

D.C. Council Game 41: Wizards 111 vs Celtics 113 (OT): WHERE’S WALLACE? Wiz Crash Down to .488

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Updated: January 23, 2014

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. 41: Wizards vs Celtics; contributors: Kyle Weidie and Adam McGinnis from the Verizon Center, and Conor Dirks from the middle of an astral projection to the void.

Washington Wizards 111 vs Boston Celtics 113 (OT)
[box score]


Jump to Council Player Ratings

Here there be Pressey.


 

DC Council Key Legislature

With just under four minutes left in regulation and the game tied at 92, Trevor Ariza stole (as he is wont to do with hearts, minds, and balls) a pass from the demigod Phil Pressey, and slung the ball up the court to John Wall, who had his layup attempt summarily blocked by “Conference Finals veteran” Brandon Bass.

“No matter!” said the #YoungKing John Wall, and as the words escaped him, the Wizards in-house shaman, Nene, picked off a Pressey pass and pushed it ahead to Wall. Wall saw Pressey waiting for him near the basket, but did he really see him? Like, does he even know Phil Pressey’s name? It’s like he looks right through Phil Pressey. It’s like he doesn’t even know he exists!

(The sound of Phil Pressey’s locker, filled with pictures of Wall, slamming shut.)

Wall went up for another layup attempt, conveniently keeping the ball on the left side of his body, the side that Pressey was waiting on, instead of shielding the ball as he went up. Barely leaving his feet, Pressey shot his hands out like the tongue of a frog (via green) and grabbed the ball. All ball. All of the ball. Jump ball.

The result of that Wall/Pressey jump ball (Celtics possession) was one more entry in a series of intra-game underdog victories for the young, talented, over-matched and thereby over-motivated Celtics guard, who left a presumptive All-Star looking slow to react on many occasions en route to 20 points in a liberated and incredibly efficient 7-for-10 shooting night (and 5-for-6 from deep). Wall’s mea culpa after the game was a relief, but there is an inherent disadvantage in favoring contrition over readiness.

—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)


 

DC Council Chair

The Verizon Center roof was not leaking again, but it sure was a bizarre night inside the Phone Booth, especially for Washington’s franchise player. The evening contained all the good and bad of John Wall, and it was wrapped into a disappointing finish to a five-game home stand. Wall’s shot was off early and his defense on rookie Celtics guard Phil Pressey was lackluster. His forced decisions ended up in bad turnovers. The “Game Changer” turned it on in the second half by attacking the rim and earning more trips to the charity stripe. At times, it felt like Wall was one of the few Wizards hustling—captured perfectly by this play—and triple-doubles are earned in this league, not given. If Nene hits an open mid-range jumper in the final seconds, the narrative is about the Wizards being a winning team led by soon-to-be All-Star (but not Olympian) John Wall. Instead, Wall’s stat line is being picked apart, Jeff Green is the game’s star, and Wall’s snub from Team USA pours more salt into last night’s wounds.

—Adam McGinnis (@adammcginnis)


 

DC Council Vetoed Participation

Martell Webster. This was a hard one to pick because it feels like every single player, even those on the bench, could garnish this scarlet letter of disdain. The team came out flat, disinterested, and embarked on an embarrassing first half of basketball. Randy Wittman should have pulled a Flip Saunders and wholesale replaced the starting unit with five different players. Webster nailed a couple 3-balls in the fourth quarter, but he was sluggish throughout the contest and allowed Gerald Wallace to drive on him for the game-winning shot.

—Adam McGinnis (@adammcginnis)


 

DC Council Top Aide

Trevor Booker can’t cook for the whole team, but still serves as one of Washington’s best chances to interject energy and physicality into the game when there’s a lull.

After missing Monday’s contest against Philadelphia with a sprained ankle, Booker was dubbed a game-time decision by Randy Wittman before facing the Celtics on Wednesday. That Booker was going to give it a go could be easily seen as he later warmed up with Kevin Seraphin.

Booker getting his team five offensive rebounds (eight rebounds total) was a big help. If fact, four of his six shots and three of his four makes came on his very own offensive rebounds. Booker don’t need no recipe (or play book), he’s got the ingredients to create points without having plays run for him.

Booker is just about the only Wizard who didn’t settle for a jumper against Boston. His other two attempts came on a tough post miss against Jeff Green (Booker was sort of caught off guard because Trevor Ariza dumped the ball into him late in the shot clock), and when the smaller Chris Johnson was mismatched against him in the post. Booker’s teammates recognized it, he got deep position, and he didn’t waste any time with his drop-step lefty hook against which Johnson was powerless.

Right now, the 23rd overall pick from 2010 is looking like the one most likely to be back among the Wiz Kid quartet of Seraphin, Booker, Vesely, and Singleton. And if the Wizards can get a solid, several-year role player like Booker out of that draft value, then maybe we should give Ernie Grunfeld a little credit. What? I said a little.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


 

DC Council Session

That session was … an ambush.

Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” contains, among other things, a list of five essentials for victory. Like BuzzFeed, except before the Internet and about things that matter. I’d like to bring up the second item on this sagacious list, which reads:

“He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces.”

With every injury announcement for the Celtics leading up to the game on Wednesday night (Rondo, Bradley, Bayless), it seemed more likely that the Wizards would be able to outgun the short-handed and bad—even when they have all their hands—Boston Celtics. The anonymity of the Celtics roster paralyzed Washington’s limbic system, and the Wizards walked onto the court only to find a starless, but very talented, Boston team laying down cover fire for Jeff Green and Phil Pressey’s assault on D.C.’s hoop.

Quoth Bradley Beal after the game:

“Yes, you think you can just go one-on-one with everybody because you do not know who that person is, you do not think that person can play. It is the NBA, man, everybody can play ball, so we have to just stick to what was working. We have to go back to that, we have four tough games coming up, so we have to move on from this loss.”

But the pulse is weak. Perhaps it’s because Gerald Wallace, loathed in these parts due to his involvement in the destruction of Gilbert’s knee, took the game winner coast-to-coast on legs that have rarely propped up positive play this season. Perhaps it’s because this was the team’s last best chance at breaking the .500 barrier for the next few weeks. It is a loss among many past and future losses on a team that can’t, or won’t, get ahead. But it feels worse, somehow.

—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)


 

DC Council Mayor

 

Randy Wittman gently but authoritatively pounded his microphone on the table and surveyed the media vultures.

It didn’t matter what was asked or who asked the first question, Wittman was ready to answer. And he was ready to talk about his team’s selfish first-half basketball. The video above is worth more words than I can write.

But it’s not just a coach throwing a team under the bus. This has context. And it reminds me of an early game Tweet:

#SoTheWizards are down 6-13 as they keep taking the first offensive chance they get, neglecting running Boston ragged by going through set.

Basketball plays, basketball sets… They have many options. The first couple of options often aren’t the best looks—the more time passes, the more likely a defense is to break down. If the ball is moving and the full set is run crisply, that is.

But—always a but—even if a team like the Celtics were to provide a good look on that first option, and sometimes you gotta take what you can get, taking it each and every time signifies to teammates that, ‘Hey, I’m an early option on this play! We are playing the Celtics! I am going to get mine!’

And just a few fragile instances like that can tear apart the seams of Randy Wittman’s time continuum (and it makes his flux capacitor go absolutely bananas). What’s a coach to do? He’s got to give his grown men freedom to run through sets and make their own decisions. He’s not a dictator.

This is neither an endorsement or indictment of Wittman. Wizards fans can desire a coach with more experience who might have a greater psychological impact on the players all they want (mind-reader: you’re thinking of George Karl). But Wittman isn’t getting fired this season unless disaster strikes, and one game below .500 is not disaster.

Otherwise, I’m in full ‘this is the player’s fault’ boat. Granted, that boat might look like one of those ragged, defecting dinghies from Cuba… But sometimes that’s what you get with the Goodship #SoWizards.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


DC Council Players 

Sad-ley Beal.

Beal's soul is gone, bruh. (photo via Sarah Kogod)

Beal’s soul is gone, bruh. (photo via Sarah Kogod)

John Wall

3.5 out of 5 stars

44 mins | minus-1 | 28 pts | 9-29 FGs | 0-4 3Ps | 10-13 FTs | 11 rebs |10  asts | 3 stls | 6 TOs

The last Wizard to record a triple-double was Jordan Crawford, which was also picked up in a home overtime loss (12/18/12, Hawks). Wall shot a miserable 3-for-14 on shots outside the paint. In addition, he made very questionable decisions with the ball, but Wall, however, was one of the only Wizards who could beat their man off the dribble.

With the season’s theme being “No More Excuses,” Wall took ownership of the loss after the game:

“It starts with me. I took too many shots tonight and didn’t move the ball like we’re supposed to in the first half. I only had I think five assists at halftime and nine turnovers, so that’s not the way to lead your team.”

—A. McGinnis

Bradley Beal

3 out of 5 stars

30 mins | minus-5 | 14 pts | 7-16 FGs | 0-4 3Ps | 0-0 FTs | 3 rebs | 4 asts | 3 TOs

Bradley Beal actually drove to the hoop several times against Boston. Granted, the Celtics’ interior defense without Kris Humphries (and relying on Jared Sullinger and Brandon Bass) often didn’t put up much of a fight. Three of Beal’s 16 attempts came at the rim and he made two of them: progress! But also, he bumbled his way through some creation early in the game, did manage four assists, but his three turnovers were also costly. Beal did not make a 3-pointer or a free throw.

Sad Brad (via the above image): His crunch time play was halted by a minutes limit, to which after the game both Wittman and Beal said that their “hands were tied.” But the ball in Beal’s hands late would have been nice.

Happy Brad: He made the Team USA “talent pool” for consideration to play in the 2014 FIBA Worlds and in the 2016 Olympics. (John Wall didn’t.) —K. Weidie

Trevor Ariza

3 out of 5 stars

35 mins | plus-6 | 14 pts | 5-8 FGs | 4-6 3Ps | 0-0 FTs | 2 rebs | 2 asts | 3 stls| 2 TOs

Wherefore art thou, o Hookahman / on the floor, where Pressey lay / on the Jeff Green 3-pointer / where legs splay / in viridescent symmetry?

When Hookahman stood / above Pressey writhing on the floor / did Wittman cry out / .500! .500! / the night swallowed us all

And Lord Threeza forsook his flock. —C. Dirks

Nene

2.5 out of 5 stars

34 mins | minus-2 | 17 pts | 7-14 FGs | 3-5 FTs | 9 rebs | 3 asts | 1 stl | 1 blks | 2 TOs

A few weeks ago, Nene complained to me in the locker room about how he is treated like a rookie by NBA referees and not like a veteran. Respect should be a two-way street, and Nene gives little to the officials. This was apparent on Wednesday night when Nene was T’d up after barking at the refs for not getting a foul call. He was on the short end of two more calls that should have gone his way on merits. His poor approach is not getting him the benefit of the doubt on these decisions, and it is hurting his team. Nene’s strong third quarter helped Washington make a comeback, but this loss will be remembered for him missing two chances to hit the game-winning jumper. —A. McGinnis

Marcin Gortat

3 out of 5 stars

44 mins | plus-4 | 11 pts | 4-8 FGs | 3-5 FTs | 13 rebs | 2 asts | 3 stls

Marcin Gortat is emotional about this game of basketball. He celebrates the points of teammates with the exuberance of a Polish guy into Miami club music. After the game, he once again spoke of getting punked (which he was part of on a possession or two versus Kris Humphries). But Gortat also rebounded well, displayed bouts of decent perimeter defense, and missed a big free throw that would’ve put the Wizards up 112-111 with 13 seconds left. Guess that didn’t matter so much when Marcin got pinned by Jared Sullinger on the other end, providing a lane for Gerald Wallace to drive past Martell Webster and score the game-winning hoop. —K. Weidie

Martell Webster

1 out of 5 stars

33 mins | minus-5 | 10 pts | 3-9 FGs | 3-8 3Ps | 1-1 FTs | 2 rebs | 0 asts

This was a vintage Nick Young game from Martell Webster. There were none of the cuts to the basket displayed in weeks prior, none of the underrated and improving passing that gets open shots for his teammates. Maybe it is part of playing with a second unit that lacks playmakers now that Nene is back in the starting lineup, but even when Martell’s play overlapped with the starters, he was underwhelming. Being beat down the court, and to the hoop, by a broken, nigh-geriatric Gerald Wallace for the game-winner was shameful.  —C. Dirks

Trevor Booker

3 out of 5 stars

20 mins | minus-4 | 9 pts | 4-6 FGs | 1-1 FTs | 8 rebs | 2 asts | 0 stl | 0 blks | 1 TOs

In Booker’s first game back from a sprained ankle, his presence was immediately felt with an early put-back. The Wizards definitely missed his toughness. He set some nice screens to free his teammates for open looks. Moving forward, this is the type of solid effort to expect from Booker off the bench. —A. McGinnis

Garrett Temple

2.5 out of 5 stars

9 mins | minus-1 | 4 pts | 1-1 FG | 2-2 FTs | 1 reb | 0 asts | 2 TOs

Brad Stevens randomly mentioned Garrett Temple before the game, calling the 6-foot-5 player a “big” point guard who spells John Wall. I guess so, Brad. But it’s not like that size helps Temple on offense, and he’s a good defender, but also wiry. Otherwise, Temple spelled Wall for nine minutes, hit his only shot attempt, made both of his free throws, and finished minus-1. Sounds about right. —K. Weidie

Kevin Seraphin

3 out of 5 stars

7 mins | minus-2 | 4 pts | 2-3 FGs | 0-0 FTs | 1 rebs

Kevin Seraphin played fairly well in seven minutes. He has assumed/inherited Jan Vesely’s minutes for reasons unknown, and has yet to be dragged offstage by way of an extra-visible goof. —C. Dirks

 


 

Vines for the Road.


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