D.C. Council Game 48: Wizards 118 vs Spurs 125 (2 OT): Patty Makes Cake of the Wiz Kids
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. 48: Wizards vs Spurs; contributors: Rashad Mobley and Kyle Weidie from the Verizon Center, as well as the man in the stands, Adam Rubin.
Washington Wizards 118 vs San Antonio Spurs 125
We’ll always have this.
So that third quarter. It was one of the first things Randy Wittman mentioned after the game, and it easily stands out to most as the sore thumb of defeat, even if you could legitimately point to any number of thin-sliced moments. You always can.
But a 9-0 San Antonio run to start the third quarter, after the Wiz Kids supposedly consumed #WittmanJava by the bucketfull at half (OK, that’s speculation), is what it shall be. The run brought the Spurs within five points of the Wizards and changed momentum. Gregg Popovich probably didn’t even have to let his players know that they were facing their largest halftime deficit of the year at 48-62.
First shot: Maybe you can fault Marcin Gortat’s defense against Tim Duncan on other possessions but you can’t on this one. Holding his ground and moving his feet in a one-on-one matchup against a Hall of Famer, there wasn’t much Gortat could do against one of Duncan’s quick-fire, double-clutch compact hook shots that draws a foul even though Duncan’s forearm is in Gortat’s chest while Gortat is standing straight up. Timmy missed the free throw but got the bucket. 2-0 run.
Next shot: John Wall slips trying to run an offensive set in earnest and loses the ball, turnover. What can you do? Ariza slips trying to recover the ball and is slow to get up. Alrighty. San Antonio charges in the other direction. Gortat eventually enters the picture as the Spurs score on a 3-1 break where Wall chose not to foul Tim Duncan and Beal never bothered to run back (Nene, neither, but Beal was much closer). 4-0 run.
And then: Nene got absolutely hacked across the arm and away the Spurs went once again. Beal and Gortat were back on defense this time; Wall and Nene sort of tried; and then there was Ariza lagging far behind. Gortat committed a damned if you do, damned if you don’t foul against Duncan, who hit two free throws. 6-0 run, Timmy.
Here we go: The Wizards again tried to look inside to Nene–so they weren’t settling for jumpers–but he got blocked by HOF Dungeon Dragon (i.e., Timmy). The Spurs went the other way in repetitive transition, Trevor Ariza didn’t get up on a screen when guarding Danny Green (or he didn’t make enough of an effort to get through the screen), and Nene didn’t close the coverage gap on the shooter (because the screener was Duncan, and he wasn’t interested in rolling or popping). Green 3-ball, timeout.
And that was your 9-0 run. Half of it seems harmless in fault. Unavoidable. Spurs being Spurs.
If you want to point to one single possession that gets the game’s goat, it came with a minute left in regulation and the game tied at 99. Beal missed a baseline step-back jumper which wasn’t a wholly terrible shot, especially because he had the spacing. Gortat got the offensive rebound and gave Washington a second chance with 48 seconds on the clock.
Wall set the offense up, got bumped off his path by Green, didn’t execute well maneuvering around Gortat’s high screen, picked up his dribble, and then had to pass out and reset with eight seconds on the shot clock. One-on-one time. You know Wall has a lot of Allen Iverson desires in him, so he’s wont to hijack sometimes, but with no where near the refinement of Iverson. So, Danny Green poked the ball away from Wall’s dribble fest and Wall was forced the heave the rock up from 39 feet at the shot clock buzzer. Miss.
San Antonio got three chances on the other end but came up short at the buzzer. The Wizards were lucky to get into the first overtime, much less Wall’s six points in 10 seconds heroics that got them into the second overtime. It all adds up.
—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)
The lineup of Garrett Temple, Bradley Beal, Martell Webster, Trevor Booker, and Kevin Seraphin.
The starters, led by John Wall’s 14 first-quarter points, gave the Wizards an eight-point lead, 33-25. Then four Wizards bench players and Bradley Beal proceeded to extend the lead from eight to 15 points—and they accomplished this feat against Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Marco Belinelli, Danny Green, and Matt Bonner (the only Spurs non-starter). Temple made his contribution on defense with three steals, Booker scored (eight points) and hustled (four rebounds), Beal scored eight points and was the leader on the floor, and Webster and Seraphin scored five and four points respectively.
From the start of the second quarter, until the 4:35 mark, when Randy Wittman gradually began to incorporate the starters back into the game, that Wizards lineup outscored the Spurs, 18-11. More importantly, their yeoman efforts not only allowed Wall, Nene, Gortat and Ariza to rest more than half of the second quarter, but given that this game eventually went to double overtime, that extended rest may have very well be the difference in the game—despite the loss, of course.
Conversely, if Beal had not played nearly 11 minutes in that second quarter, perhaps he would have been available late in the fourth quarter and in at least one overtime, when the other Wizards’ starters were running out of gas and he was running up to his minutes restriction. Still, the effort that Beal, Temple, Webster, Booker, and Seraphin gave during that eight-minute stretch represented the best stretch of basketball the Wizards played in their 125-118 loss.
—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)
The Wizards’ 3rd Quarter Defense.
The Spurs trailed 62-48 at halftime and to make matters worse, Tony Parker did not return to the game due to a sore back. Gregg Popovich said afterward, “I told the team that if we didn’t get into it real quickly I was going to pull the plug,” and Tim Duncan echoed that sentiment as well, “I knew that Pop was going to pull the plug at some point if we didn’t make a run, especially since we have another game tomorrow (Thursday), so I just focused on that third quarter and tried to give as much effort as possible.”
The 37-year old Duncan gave 14 points worth of effort in that third quarter, and he thoroughly dominated the Wizards’ front line with hook and jump shots all within 10 feet of the basket. Nando De Colo, mostly guarded by John Wall, did his best Parker impression by scoring eight points to go along with two assists and three rebounds. The Wizards allowed the Spurs to shoot 56 percent from the field in the third, and most importantly, they did not force a single turnover (after San Antonio committed 13 turnovers in the first half). Just five minutes of sustained Wizards’ defense against a severely depleted Spurs’ team would have forced Coach Popovich to wave the white flag; instead, the Wizards opted to wave the red matador cloth and played poor defense, which eventually cost them the game.
Marcin Gortat on Tim Duncan’s third quarter:
“I put myself in a bit of foul trouble; two easy fouls in the third quarter and I lost my aggressiveness. It was hard. I had a feeling that if I hit him, he’s going to start getting easy calls and I slipped away, defensively. That’s why he destroyed me. He was rolling, he scored too many easy buckets, a few put-backs and that’s how you come back into the game. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stop him.”
—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)
John Wall in 15 seconds at the end of overtime. You can watch the video or read about it here.
15 seconds – Trevor Ariza lined up to inbound the ball under the Wizards’ basket with 15 seconds left in overtime, down four points, with a dejected and mostly silent fan-base resigned to a 16th straight loss to the San Antonio Spurs. John Wall catches the inbounds pass in the corner and drives baseline on Corey Joseph for an easy layup with 10.2 seconds remaining, 113-111 Spurs.
8.7 seconds – After Marco Bellinelli is fouled and hits two free throws, Martell Webster inbounds to Wall on the baseline. Wall drives for a reverse layup past Tim Duncan, 115-113 Spurs.
6.1 seconds – Duncan calls San Antonio’s final timeout to advance the ball, leading by two. On the ensuing inbounds play, Ariza cuts off Bellinelli perfectly, leaving Duncan to float a pass to Patty Mills at the top of the key. Wall pounces like a cat, snatches the ball and races down court for an uncontested layup. Game tied. Double overtime.
—Adam Rubin (@LedellsPlace)
That session was … something for everyone.
The NBA’s hottest arena on Wednesday was the Verizon Center. The game had something for everyone…
- A dominating first half performance by the home team.
- An efficient and surgical third quarter comeback to bring the black-and-white clad visiting fans back from the dead.
- A time-traveling 37 year-old legend playing 40 minutes and dropping old school post moves all night.
- A bird sitting on a backboard.
- Patty Mills wearing a Tony Parker costume.
- A man dressed as a furry blue anteater.
- John Wall pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
- A 25-foot buzzer beater that did not beat the buzzer.
- A phantom sixth foul on the greatest power forward of all-time.
When Gregg Popovich calls an early-February regular season victory over the Washington Wizards—a team he had beaten 15 straight times—“one of the finest wins I’ve ever been associated with,” you know something special just happened.
—Adam Rubin (@LedellsPlace)
To switch or not to switch? That is the question…
That loss hurt Randy Wittman, it really did. He’ll get over it, but out of any opposing coach in the NBA, he really probably wanted to impress, and beat, Gregg Popovich. Randy got one part right: Pops was impressed after the game, per comments, but going home with a loss don’t mean “shit from Shinola” for the old schooler Randy.
Wittman was particularly hurt by defensive switching that his team apparently was not supposed to do. So let’s check his comments on that and then see what Trevor Ariza, Marcin Gortat, and John Wall had to say when asked about it.
Wittman on the problem:
“Defensively, we’re not a switching team, and that’s all we were doing. I don’t know where it came from. When you’re not a switching team, when the guy you’re switching with doesn’t expect to be switching, that’s where these guys came off screens wide open. You know, we took some shortcuts and it bites us every time. We got to stay disciplined. We didn’t in the second half. That was disappointing.”
Ariza on the cause:
“Just mental lapses, just not locked in to what we’re supposed to do, and trying to take the easy way out. I think I said this a couple days ago, that if you want to be a good team, when it hurts or when you’re tired, that’s when you got to dig in the most, and we didn’t do that tonight.”
Gortat on the why:
“Well, I think we just came up with our own ideas in the middle of the game. Coach gave us a lot of freedom defensively. Obviously we have our schemes, but at some point when everything is going fast and you’ve got to improvise and just got to talk to each other — you know, we talk to each other during the game — and all of a sudden we just start switching. I think in both overtimes we were kind of a step behind every single time in everything they were doing. Maybe it was a little fatigue and that’s why we came up with all these switches and all the different rotations, and they just punished us. They are too good. They just punished us and they know how to play.”
Wall on the ‘Huh?':
“I don’t think we’re not a switching team. It’s just an opportunity where you feel like you think you’re going to be late or you’re going to run into a screen, I think it’s a great opportunity when they guys up there are there to kind of switch it. I really don’t think that it hurt us too much, I just think they got a great opportunity of just getting good looks, period. Any play they ran, or even if we switched or didn’t switch, we didn’t stay with our concepts of, if they ran the split action, we didn’t pull it… we pull the trailer and shoot the gap late. We didn’t do it. We shot the gap early and they popped back.”
—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)
Patty Mills was given the space…
…for a big 3-pointer out of a Spurs timeout that brought them within two points of the Wizards, 97-99, with 1:03 left in regulation. Mills had 23 points in 20 minutes and 23 seconds off the bench; 11 of his points came in the two overtime periods.
From Raleigh to Poland.
4 out of 5 stars
44 mins | minus-17 | 29 pts | 12-29 FGs | 2-5 3Ps | 3-4 FTs | 5 rebs | 9 asts | 4 stls | 4 TOs
Wall was not perfect. He let yet another short, speedy guard go off (this time Patty Mills) and he forced several bad drives against Danny Green at the end of double overtime. But he took over for long stretches and earned high praise from the curmudgeonly Mr. Popovich:
“I don’t know what else I can say about the guy. You know, what I said before the game and just now, I mean he’s turned into a leader on the floor, he understands situations on the court, he presses his teammates, he’s aggressive and takes on the responsibility to score and to find somebody for a good opportunity. This year is a huge jump for him I think.”
2.5 out of 5 stars
34 mins | minus-3 | 19 pts | 7-16 FGs | 5-6 FTs | 5 rebs | 3 asts | 1 stl | 2 TOs
Young Beal is still struggling with his shot, he hit the floor hard quite a few times (once after a shot to the head from Tim Duncan), his newly-extended minutes limit prevented him from having an impact during either overtime, and one more than one occasion, he fell for head fakes from the Spurs’ shooters, rather than playing disciplined defense. But he continued to thrive in his role of leading second unit, and his eight points and two assists in the second quarter, allowed his fellow starters to rest, and it gave the Wizards a comfortable halftime lead. —R. Mobley
2.5 out of 5 stars
45 mins | minus-20 | 15 pts | 5-12 FGs | 1-5 3Ps | 4-4 FTs | 10 rebs | 2 asts | 2 TOs
Ariza didn’t dazzle the crowd with his skills, nor did he absolutely kill the Wizards’ efforts with his ills. There were some minor mistakes that added up to the big picture: poorly-run two-man games with Gortat, leaving Danny Green too much space on a few occasions, and missing four of five 3-pointers. Then again, Ariza was also third in scoring, led the team in rebounding, and he led the Wizards in fouls with five. That no other Wizard of the nine who played picked up more than three fouls in a double-OT game seems strange … so we’ll just leave this at that. —K. Weidie
3 out of 5 stars
38 mins | minus-14 | 12 pts | 4-14 FGs | 4-6 FTs | 7 rebs | 3 asts | 2 stls | 3 TOs | 1 blk
The refs swallowed their whistles all night and it was a rugby scrum at the rim. Usually that results in a lot of whining from Nene – and it did. But Nene also put his head down and drove to the basket aggressively late in regulation and the overtime periods. He did not always get the call but he kept the pressure on the Spurs big men. —A. Rubin
1.5 out of 5 stars
39 mins | minus-19 | 11 pts | 3-8 FGs | 5-8 FTs | 6 rebs | 2 blks | 2 TOs
Gortat was outrebounded by the starting Spurs front court (Duncan-11, Tiago Splitter -12, Danny Green-7), and offensively he was unable to get comfortable in the post or find his range from the outside. Perhaps Gortat’s importance was more of the invisible, intangible kind, because towards the end of the second overtime when Coach Wittman subbed in Garrett Temple for Gortat, the Wizards were unable to secure a crucial defensive rebound. This led to a Splitter offensive rebound, two Patty Mills’ free throws, and an insurmountable lead by the Spurs. —R. Mobley
1 out of 5 stars
36 mins | plus-9 | 10 pts | 3-5 FGs | 2-4 3Ps | 2-2 FTs | 4 rebs | 1 asts | 0 stls | 1 TOs
With Beal tethered to head trainer Eric Waters on the bench, Webster played both overtime sessions at shooting guard. He was a step and a half slow on defense all night, often blatantly holding Danny Green and Patty Mills. Luckily the refs were letting them play. —A. Rubin
3.5 out of 5 stars
14 mins | plus-12 | 6 pts | 2-3 FGs | 2-2 FTs | 1 reb | 1 ast | 3 stls | 1 TO
The Wizards would be in a world of hurt without Garrett Temple, probably. At least without him the Eric Maynor problem would be greatly compounded. Sure, there might be better backups to John Wall available, but this is where the Wizards have found themselves and their third string point guard has really stepped up. Temple plays NBA-level defense and the “safety” of his presence is grossly undervalued. In 58 minutes over the last five games (GSW, LAC, OKC, POR, SAS — tough competition) he has committed just five turnovers.
Temple also hit a sweet step-back jumper from 17-feet to at least put the cherry on the pile of feces that was the third quarter for the Wizards, giving them an 83-82 lead over the Spurs heading into the fourth. —K. Weidie
1 out of 5 stars
14 mins | plus-7 | 6 pts | 3-7 FGs | 0-0 FTs | 5 rebs | 0 blks | 1 TO
The sustained magic that Seraphin summoned against Portland on Monday night was nowhere to be found against the Spurs. He did hit two shots in the second quarter, when he and the rest of the second unit extended the Wizards’ lead, but he did nothing of note over the remainder of the game. —R. Mobley
4.5 out of 5 stars
25 mins | plus-10 | 10 pts | 5-7 FGs | 6 rebs | 2 blks
The Cook Book simply beasted out. He has his normal hustle game at the rim going on, but he also abused Matt Bonner with a number of jab steps, getting the red head to dance the white man’s dance, before hitting a bank shot jumper in his grill (showing off in front of Tim Duncan). Seraphin has been OK lately, but Booker is fully first in the “Who’s Most Likely To Be A Wiz Kid Next Year?” Power Rankings that also features Kevin, Jan Vesely, and Chris Singleton. —K. Weidie
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