D.C. Council 58: Wizards 134 at Raptors 129: Wiz Kids (and #WizVets) Dig Triple-OT Deep, Score Dino-Sized Bones | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

D.C. Council 58: Wizards 134 at Raptors 129: Wiz Kids (and #WizVets) Dig Triple-OT Deep, Score Dino-Sized Bones

Updated: February 28, 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. 58: Wizards at Raptors, featuring John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend) and Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis) from the District.

Washington Wizards 134 at Toronto Raptors 129 (3OT)
[box score]


It’s Wall’s World, Gortat’s Just Livin’ In It



Stat of the Game.


[Wizards shot chart in the three overtimes]

Washington’s recipe for success is to let John Wall run in transition and find shooters on the primary and secondary break. This has worked wonders for Washington, as they rank in top five of the NBA in 3-point percentage (38%). When the Wizards shoot poorly from downtown, they usually lose, so it was a pleasant surprise to see them triumph after just going 5-for-22 (22.7%) from deep in Canada.

Wall made a 3-pointer with a little under seven minutes remaining in the third quarter, but Washington would never connect from long distance again the rest of the game. The Wizards missed their last 10 3-point shots but compensated for their outside shooting woes by dominating the Raptors inside the paint with a 80-46 point advantage. Of Washington’s 28 points in the three overtimes, 20 of them came inside the lane, and it was the major reason why the Wizards extended their winning streak to five games.

 —Adam McGinnis (@adammcginnis)


DC Council Key Legislature

The P word gets tossed around like a beanbag in The Bullpen outside Nats Park these days. Something that hasn’t been true since … oh, I dunno, 2008. Yes, 2008.

“It’s got the intensity of a playoff game,” said CSN Washington’s play-by-play legend Steve Buckhantz, reacting to the basketball action on the floor. He’d later describe the game as a “bruising battle,” as if he were taking in a heavyweight fight. Heavyweights these two teams are not—and neither the Raptors nor the Wizards will end the season with championship belt saddled over their shoulders—but they were throwing punches, and connecting. Both squads ended the first quarter in the penalty.

Newcomer but old guard Andre Miller had another impressive outing, leading the second unit to a positive plus/minus (unprecedented!), showing off his well-seasoned moves on the block. Al Harrington chipped in with eight points (despite going 0-for-4 from 3), demonstrating both moxie and mastery of NBA angles with strong drives to the basket. Even long lost third-year tweener Chris Singleton contributed (overcoming non-existent expectations and demonstrating that he’s by far a better, stronger option right now than Otto Porter).

Second-chance points, offensive rebounds, and points in the paint powered the Wizards to a second-quarter lead, which grew to 12 with 2:57 left in the third quarter. Two consecutive turnovers by John Wall and transition and-1s from DeMar DeRozan helped the Raptors claw their way back within five points by the end of the period.

Halfway through the fourth quarter, the game was tied at 95. Then at 97. Then the Wizards took a three point lead, 100-97, thanks to free throws from Wall. Then Marcin Gortat couldn’t convert a three-point play, which allowed Patrick Patterson to tie the game at 102 with a corner 3. Gortat responded with a hoop plus the harm, but missed another free throw, which opened the door for Greivis Vasquez to the the game with a floater (he took about 100). Then Bradley Beal missed a 3, and the long rebound let the Raps get out in transition and Vasquez scored on a layup.

Tick, tick-tick-tick-tick, tiiiiick.

Harrington missed a 3, but Wall recovered the ball with 19 seconds left in the game. What did the Wizards get? A midrange jumper from Beal (of course), which was off the mark (of course), but Gortat was there for the offensive rebound and putback to send the game into OT.

Overtime, Chapter 1

The Raptors had build a four-point lead with three minutes to go, which is when Wall (free throws) and Gortat (defense, and second-chance points) brought the Wizards back.

Overtime, Chapter 2

It was clear, by this time, that lactic acid was sapping strength from the players’ legs. Fatigue had set in. Things got sloppy. Players were missing shots. And the two teams, at one point with fewer than two minutes to play, committed five straight turnovers.

Overtime, Chapter 3

Gortat made two decisive plays in the final frame. He scored on an and-1 (one of many), fouling Kyle Lowry out in the process. Then he picked up a loose ball on the other end and zipped a beautiful outlet pass to Trevor Ariza for a breakaway dunk, which gave the Wizards a 129-127 lead. From there it became a free throw battle, which the Raptors lost (four misses at the stripe).

That’s the way the game went: back and forth, up and down. There wasn’t much to separate these two teams, which is why NBA fans watching enjoyed 19 ties and 15 lead changes. Exhausting for everyone involved.

—John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)


DC Council Chair

Marcin Gortat. He racked up 31 points on 23 attempts (six more than his previous season high) and led all players with 12 rebounds to become the first Wizards player to record six straight double-doubles since Antawn Jamison in Nov. 2008.

But focusing just on the raw data—the generic box scores stats—sells Gortat short. He held the Raptors to just 54.5 percent shooting at the rim, picking up four blocks, and patrolled the paint to prevent easy pick-and-roll baskets. He was the rim protector the Wizards badly needed, as Conor Dirks pointed out on Twitter. He hammered Jonas Valanciunas all game long, forcing the big Lithuanian to initiate offense from as far as 19 feet away from the hoop, and limited the Raptors’ starting center to single-digit points (7) on nine attempts.

Sure, Gortat missed some “bunnies,” and even had a two-handed slam punched away, but he consistently finished with contact en route to a team-high 11 free throw attempts (seven made).

He commanded attention. Great game.

—John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)



DC Council Vetoed Participation

Martell Webster. This was a tough choice because it was a solid team effort by almost every contributor. But Webster had a rough outing. There has been a noticeable decline in Webster’s on-the-ball defense this season, as he continually struggles to stay in front of his man. He was the guilty party in several rotation breakdowns against Toronto. The most glaring one almost cost his team the victory. With Wizards up two in the waning seconds of the second overtime, DeRozan blew by Webster and Ariza picked him up in the paint. Webster unwisely tried to find a man to guard and ran away from the hoop. This allowed DeRozan to fake out Ariza (likely travel, too), and lay in the tying basket with less than two seconds remaining. Webster began the third overtime by missing an easy lay up. Luckily, Wall saved the day and Martell’s screw ups will not be scrutinized any further.

 —Adam McGinnis (@adammcginnis)


DC Council Top Aide

John Wall. He was simply sensational. It was one of the guttiest victories that this team has had in … forever, with the All-Star point guard leading the charge and closing out the game. Every time the Wizards needed a big play, Wall delivered. In the three overtimes, Wall had several clutch shots that either tied the game or gave the Wizards a lead. The Raptors could not stop the high ball screen with Gortat rolling to the hoop, and Wall continually found the Polish Hammer for key buckets.

Even more impressive was Wall’s exceptional defense. His block on Kyle Lowry that forced double OT will go down in Wizards lore due to him walking over Lowry on his way to the bench, and with Washington eventually pulling out the win. His two steals on Vasquez in the final minutes of the third overtime directly resulted in two made shots that sealed the game. Wall knew exactly where Greivis was driving to, shuffled his feet, beat him to the spot, and a made a clean strip. Players get reputations as a good defenders when with those types of money plays. It was an example of Wall’s defensive development advancing to a higher level, something that Wiz fans have been clamoring for ever since Flip Saunders compared him to Gary Payton on the day he was drafted.

There had been some noise that Kyle Lowry has been the best point guard in the Eastern Conference this season, and he was the difference in the Raptors win over the Wizards in D.C. last week. But Wall silenced more of his critics—while embarrassing Tyler Hansbrough—on Thursday night in Canada with a remarkable all-around performance.

(Worth noting, for some odd reason, Wall seemed to pass up three open chances at the rim and passed the ball out. It rarely ended up working, causing #WizardsTwitter many emotional meltdowns.)

 —Adam McGinnis (@adammcginnis)



DC Council Session

That Session Was … Helluva Basketball Game.

In a season full of weirdness, the Wizards might have just pulled off one of their most impressive victories of the Monumental Sports era. They had every reason to fold on Thursday evening. The Wiz were without key bigs, incorporating new players into their roster, and facing an outstanding Toronto team that had defeated Washington in their three previous meetings this season. Most of the games were not even competitive and the Raptors appeared to be a better squad. But this time versus Toronto, the Wizards didn’t collapse, kept battling, and took home an exciting road victory that felt like a playoff game on the court.

Each team went at each other and it was one of those “sucks that someone has to lose” games that literally would not end. (The game itself took three hours and thirty one minutes to complete.) Fortunately for the Wizards, it was a real victory and not a moral one. Five players total from both teams fouled out. Three Wizards (Beal, Ariza, Gortat) logged 50-plus minutes and Wall played 49. DeRozan played 57 minutes and Kyle Lowry finished with 54. Greivis Vasquez kept drilling big shots and DeRozan had a game-high 34 points. But the combination of Wall and Gortat was too much for the Raptors. Each willed their team to victory with tremendous plays.

The Eastern Conference gets a lot of (deserved) grief, but Thursday night proved that a seven-game playoff series between the Wizards and Raptors could be an entertaining time for all NBA fans.

  —Adam McGinnis (@adammcginnis)


DC Council Mayor

The game was hanging in the balance with about 26 seconds left in the second overtime. Gortat had just blocked a Jonas Valanciunas shot attempt at the rim, Trevor Ariza grabbed the defensive rebound, and John Wall was walking the ball up the court with a two-point lead, 118-116.

Steve Buckhantz noticed Randy Wittman giving instructions to his star point guard. What those instructions were, we may never know. But based on what happened next, we can probably assume Wittman shouted, “LOOK, KID, JUST TAKE WHAT THE DEFENSE GIVES YOU.”

Wall set up John Salmons, swaying right and left, before taking what the defense game him: a 20-foot 2-point jumper. Wall missed, as he often does from that range, and the Raptors grabbed the rebound with 10 seconds to play and called a 20-second timeout. DeMar DeRozan then stepped through the long arms of Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster on the baseline to tie the game at 118 with less than three seconds and force a third overtime.

The Wizards had a full shot clock and Wall’s jump shot was, somehow, was the best offense they could produce. Perhaps it was the offense they chose to settle for. So Wizards. So Wittman. So disappointing.

 —John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)


End Vines.

#MillerTime & #UncleAl



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John Converse Townsend
Reporter / Writer / Co-Editor at TAI
John has been part of the editorial team at TAI since 2010. He likes: pocket passes, chase-down blocks, 3-pointers. He dislikes: typos, turnovers, midrange jump shots.