D.C. Council Game 34: Wizards 66 at Pacers 93: Middling Effort in Front of #WittmanFace Fam | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

D.C. Council Game 34: Wizards 66 at Pacers 93: Middling Effort in Front of #WittmanFace Fam

Updated: January 11, 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. 34: Wizards at Pacers; contributors: Kyle Weidie, Rashad Mobley, and Adam Rubin from a rainy and hazy night in the District.

Washington Wizards 66 at Indiana Pacers 96
[box score]

Jump to Council Player Ratings

Lance Being Lance.



DC Council Key Legislature

If you had plans Friday night and missed this game, congratulations. I wish I did, too. Want a recap? Just close your eyes and imagine what would have to happen for an NBA team to only score 66 points. That five-second exercise was a lot better than the two hours I wasted watching what actually happened.

Here is all you need to know: John Wall, Bradley Beal and Nene combined for 48 field goal attempts and only made 16 (33%). But wait, there’s more: The other nine players on the team managed to shoot an even worse percentage (30.3%) on their 33 shots. While the Pacers’ league-leading defense certainly played a role in the poor shooting, it does not explain Washington’s historically bad shooting from the free throw line (9-for-23).

The only bright spot was a short-lived 6-0 run in the beginning of the fourth quarter, sparked by Jan Vesely, that cut Indiana’s lead to 67-57 with 10:04 left to play. For one fleeting moment it appeared that the last two hours of my life were not for naught. But it was not to be. Frank Vogel called a timeout and the Pacers finished the game on a 26-6 run.

In hindsight, the most important moment in the game came with 5:26 left in the first quarter when Steve Buckhantz introduced the world to the original #WittmanFace. Mom and Pop look like they share their son’s distaste for selfish and lackadaisical play.

—Adam Rubin (@LedellsPlace)



DC Council Chair
Normally after games like this, the good folks here at TAI use the Council Chair slot on a player who wasn’t great, but didn’t suck as much as the others did. If I had to choose, Bradley Beal fits that bill after Friday night’s loss to the Pacers, only because he led the team with 17 points. But, much like Dan LeBatard who discarded his Baseball Hall of Fame vote, rather than vote under circumstances he deemed unfair, I am refusing to pick an M.V.P.

The Wizards did not shoot well, they were out-rebounded 61-41, they could not take advantage of an off-shooting night by Paul George (eight points on 2-for-14 FGs), an off-shooting night by Roy Hibbert (12 points on 4-for-10 FGs), and they had more turnovers (14) than assists (13). There’s nothing valuable about any of that from the Wizards’ perspective.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)


DC Council Vetoed Participation
It is not fair to single out one player when the entire team was so badly outmatched. So, the anti-game ball goes to Ernie Grunfeld for selling fans a flawed roster for so long. The problem with playing disciplined defensive teams like Indiana, San Antonio and Miami is that they expose Washington as a one-man team. The Wizards rely on Wall to create everyone’s shot—except Nene. Now that all Beal does is shoot long 2-pointers (I can’t remember the last time he drove [Ed. Note: save for the missed Vine layup below.]), Wall has to facilitate the entire offense for 40-to-42 minutes each game and save enough energy to overcome the deficit that builds during the 6-to-8 minutes he sits.

This might work against below-average teams (read: anyone other than Indiana and Miami in the East), but it is not a recipe for a generationally great team. The good teams trap Wall and slow him down, and when that happens Washington does not seem to have a Plan B.

—Adam Rubin (@LedellsPlace)


DC Council Top Aide

Eric Maynor. He was the only Wizard to receive a DNP-CD in a 27-point blowout. It was his seventh in a row, and Maynor has yet to see the basketball court in 2014. Over Washington’s last 14 games, Maynor has racked up 11 DNP-CDs, playing only 11 total minutes in three different games during that span (garbage time). But lately, Maynor hasn’t even been deemed fit for garbage time. Thus, one can only assume that Maynor is offering moral support to teammates (or likely bitching under his breath), while he allows their muscles to receive more of a workout due to basketball action. Helpful.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


DC Council Session

That session was … exactly what Randy Wittman does not want to see.

During the Wizards’ three-game home losing streak just one week ago, Randy Wittman mentioned that his players had to figure out ways to score and stay in the game even when their shots weren’t falling—mainly by either getting to the free throw line or by working the ball into the post for easy baskets. Washington’s shot was nowhere close to falling from the field in Indiana (32.1%), and they were only able to connect on 9-of-23 shots from the free throw line (39.1%). When you throw in a 5-for-14 effort from the 3-point line (35.7%), it makes sense that they only scored 66 points. The Wizards post players (Gortat, Nene and Booker) shot just 9-for-27 (33%) and combined for 19 points. Conversely, the Pacers frontcourt players (West, Hibbert, Scola, and Mahinmi) shot 19-for-40 (47%) and scored 47 points.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)


DC Council Mayor

I’m not sure how, and I’m not the coach (thus making it easy for me to say this), but it’s past due time for Wittman to get a little more creative, to change things up.

And I write this knowing the caveat that Wittman is a lot more willing to make adjustments that he is given credit for. Plus, let’s all remember: he’s not totally responsible for the glaring inefficiencies (bumbling draft picks and Eric Maynor). But it’s on the coach to motivate players who are seemingly content with “coolin’,” with losing and backing into the playoffs in a (L)Eastern Conference. The Wizards are on a track to get swept 4-0 in the first round and then pat themselves on the back. They’d consider that a job well done.

In Indiana, the starting unit of Wall, Beal, Ariza, Booker, and Gortat played 16 minutes and finished minus-12 in plus/minus. A five-man unit of Wall, Webster, Ariza, Nene, and Gortat played the second-most minutes (11) and finished plus-6. This is more than a one-game pattern. I’ve more to write about this, but the Wizards might be screwed either way. If they want to win, they’ll have to put one of their two best players, and their highest-paid player, Nene, in the starting lineup. But that act will likely shift a focus back to one of the NBA’s worst bench units. So what will it be, Randy?

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

DC Council Players 

Positive Pixels…

John Wall

2 out of 5 stars

39 mins | minus-13 | 13 pts | 4-15 FGs | 1-2 3Ps | 4-6 FTs | 7 rebs | 3 asts | 2 TO | 1 stl

Washington could not get its offense going all night. As the point guard, Wall deserves a lot of the blame and he certainly forced too many jumpers. But it’s hard to imagine what Wall could have done to overcome his teammates’ shooting woes. Chalk this one up to being outplayed by a better team. —A. Rubin

Bradley Beal

1.5 out of 5 stars

28 mins | minus-21 | 17 pts | 6-18 FGs | 3-4 3Ps | 2-4 FTs | 2 rebs | 0 asts | 2 stls | 2 blks

It was encouraging to see Beal’s body language remain positive despite shooting 33 percent from the field, and it was even more encouraging to see him slightly step up in the fourth quarter to help the Wizards cut the lead to 10 points. But Lance Stephenson put up 11 points, 10 rebounds and five assists on him, and even got inside Beal’s head a bit. That was not encouraging. —R. Mobley

Trevor Ariza

2 out of 5 stars

33 mins | minus-16 | 7 pts | 3-10 FGs | 1-5 3Ps | 0-4 FTs | 6 rebs | 5 asts | 2 TO | 1 stl

Ariza seemed to be hustling last night. That is always a good sign. And his five assists are doubly impressive given the team only made 26 field goals on 32.1 percent shooting. He also deserves credit for holding Paul George to 2-for-14 shooting, although several of George’s misses were open jumpers. Of all the disappointing performances on the Wizards, Ariza’s was one of the least disappointing … but disappointing nonetheless.  —A. Rubin

Trevor Booker

0.5 out of 5 stars

18 mins | minus-18 | 3 pts | 1-4 FGs | 1-4 FTs | 5 rebs | 1 stl | 3 TOs | 3 PFs

“Too high to get over, to low to get under, you’re stuck in the middle, the pain is thunder.” —Michael Jackson

Trevor Booker was too short to guard or get around Roy Hibbert, not strong enough to stop or post-up David West, and not quick enough to guard or get around Paul George. The Pelicans’ Anthony Davis neutralized Booker the exact same way on Wednesday, and that wasn’t any easier to watch in Indiana. —R. Mobley

Marcin Gortat

1 out of 5 stars

30 mins | minus-6 | 4 pts | 2-8 FGs | 0-0 FTs | 9 rebs | 1 ast | 2 blks

Out of all the starters, Gortat seemed to get off to the best start… I think. He had some very nice defensive possessions against Hibbert early, and picked up three of his rebounds and both blocks in the first quarter. But after that, Gortat was swallowed whole by both the python defense of the Pacers and the thirsty stroking of his teammates from the perimeter. —K.  Weidie

Martell Webster

3 out of 5 stars

25 mins | even-0 | 4 pts | 1-2 FGs | 0-1 3Ps | 2-2 FTs | 2 rebs | 0 asts | 2 TOs | 1 stl

Did Webster even play in this game? I don’t know. I can’t remember a single thing he did. Even his plus/minus was 0. Actually, that’s pretty impressive. Washington played Indiana even during the 25 minutes Webster was on the floor and got outscored by 27 during the 23 minutes he sat. He must have been doing something right. I’m bumping him up to three stars based on that stat alone. —A. Rubin


2.5 out of 5 stars

29 mins | minus-7 | 12 pts | 6-15 FGs | 0-3 FTs | 5 rebs | 4 asts | 1 stl | 1 blk | 1 TO

Nene seemed to make a concerted effort to put things in his own hands and earn more of his paycheck on offense. He avoided the usual dribble turnovers as much as he could while still attacking the basket. The problem is, no matter how much his weaving Brazilian soccer athleticism tries, he doesn’t have enough verticality to finish in close against teams like Indiana. Plus, the way that Nene maneuvers, coupled with his constant bitching toward the refs, doesn’t exactly help him to draw fouls. He missed all three of his attempts from the line anyway. That said, Nene does have the highest Free Throw Attempt Rate (.509) on the Wizards, by far. Vesely is second (.329) and Wall comes in third (.323).—K. Weidie

Otto Porter

0.5 out of 5 stars

8 mins | minus-12 | 2 pts | 1-3 FGs | 0-1 3Ps | 1 reb

Otto Porter did hit a baseline jumper, you know. He sure did. He also got himself an entire rebound; I think they let him keep that game ball. His non-NBA caliber athleticism was on full display when Nene, in the high post, found Porter cutting wide-open toward the basket from the right corner, the defense adjusted, and by the time Porter got to the other side of the rim, all he could do was boof a layup.—K. Weidie

Jan Vesely

0.5 out of 5 stars

15 mins | minus-15 | 0 pts | 0-0 FGs | 3 rebs | 1 stl | 2 PFs

In a perfect world, we’d have seen extended stretches of Paul George and Jan Vesely guarding each other, and Jan—just one game after his best performance of the season against the Pelicans—would demonstrate that he could be a consistent, impact player. And while he may very well demonstrate that ability later on in the season, he did no such thing against the Pacers. No shots, no points, no impact, and definitely not a third Council Chair award.  —R. Mobley


End Note: Takeaway Vines


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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.