D.C. Council Game 51: Wizards 89 at Grizzlies 92: Beal Smoking, but Grizzlies Make Salmon Out of Wizards | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

D.C. Council Game 51: Wizards 89 at Grizzlies 92: Beal Smoking, but Grizzlies Make Salmon Out of Wizards

Updated: February 12, 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. 51: Wizards at Grizzlies; contributors: John Converse Townsend and Kyle Weidie from their homes away from the road.

Washington Wizards 89 at Memphis Grizzlies 92
[box score]


Beal is a real deal.


DC Council Key Legislature

BRADLEY BEAL. BRADLEY BEAL. BRADLEY BEAL. We’ll get to him in just a second, because as good as Beal played, foul trouble really hurt the Wizards.

Beal was forced to take a seat after picking up two fouls in 15 seconds midway through the first quarter. Marcin Gortat can relate. He only played five first-half minutes after picking up his third foul midway through the second quarter. Gortat ended up playing just 21 minutes in the game (but was productive with 10 points and six boards).

The Wizards don’t have a lot of depth. Everybody knows this. No one denies this. And without significant minutes from Olympian Bradley Beal, and without Gortat, who ranks third in the league in FG% at the rim, the Wizards found themselves in a 13-point hole at halftime, 39-52. The Grizzlies out-scored the Wizards by one in the first half, 40-39, with made free throws (12) and points in the paint (28).

The second half was different, of course. It always is. And (some of) the Wizards—Beal and Nene in particular—helped close a 16-point deficit, and even take a two-point lead, before losing in a heart-breaker.

It’s a shame John Wall couldn’t stay close to Nick Calathes all night, which forced Gortat to double the Memphis guard on a late-game possession. Calathes, filling in for an injured Mike Conley, found Marc Gasol wide-open just inside the arc. Gasol, as he did all night, hit the jumper (good shot, 41.94% from that spot). That gave the Grizzlies a 91-86 lead with 26 seconds to play.

Nene wouldn’t say die, and wrestled the Wizards back within two, sinking a pair of free throws, then immediately following that up with an and-1 … 89-91. Zach Randolph went 1-for-2 from the free throw line in the bonus, which left the Wizards down three points with 11.3 seconds to go.

After a Wizards timeout, Wall, who had a terrible game, looked for his shot, when he could have easily passed to the red-hot Beal with about five seconds left, and missed a desperation 3. Selfish.

Perhaps worse is that Randy Wittman failed to draw up a play that worked (if he drew up anything at all). And, down three points, Wittman had two non-shooters on the floor: Nene (a career 9.7% from 3) and Gortat (21.4%).

—John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)


DC Council Chair

Beal. Dominant. Far from perfect, but everything the Wizards needed.

Beal made 14 of his first 19 shots, and finished 15-for-24 for a new career-high 37 points.

“The way he’s been shooting, you’re surprised to see his shot not go in.” —Phil Chenier

He’s only gotten better playing the two-man game with Nene—y’know the one where Beal runs in circles around the big, breathing Brazilian meat column until he finds space for his shot. And he looked so comfortable dribbling with his off hand that if you’d never watched a Wizards game before, you might think Beal was left-handed…

Until you saw him shoot the ball. His step-back jumper is going to be a real killer. Fun Fact: He’s 7-for-8 (87.5%) with that shot this year, missing his first attempt last night. Patience, kid. Don’t rush it.

Now, if you were looking to dock points, you could replay the two back-to-back 3s Beal missed in the final two minutes (he was a perfect 5-for-5 from deep before that), or the open game-tying jumper he missed off the side of the rim, but that would do the young kid a disservice. Beal gave Dave Joerger and his Grizzlies fits—frustrated, they threw the 6-foot-9 James Johnson at him in the fourth quarter.

—John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)


DC Council Vetoed Participation

I’m wary of scrutinizing John Wall too much, especially in light of his improvements as a teammate, leader, and player this season, in his first All-Star campaign. That said, with max contract extensions and red carpets come huge magnifying glasses. And if Wall wants to be perceived as a winner in line with the smoke John Calipari has surely blown up his ass, and if he doesn’t want to be seen as the No. 1 overall draft pick who “hasn’t done nothing,” then shit-the-bed efforts like the one on Tuesday night must be stopped.

Bad games every once in a while are OK, but this is becoming a trend, and a string of names like Phil Pressey, Patty Mills, and now, Nick Calathes say so. Against presumed inferior competition, most stars make an impression early—they put women and children to bed and they throw a hard punch in the first round. Instead, Wall looks at the competition and thinks he can just coast, especially on defense. He becomes “coolin’” John Wall.

Wall compounded a 1-for-4 shooting first half that featured one assist and two turnovers with a 1-for-6 shooting second half with four assists and two turnovers. He showed glimpses of fuel after a lackluster start, but Wall never got going in terms of having an influence on the game otherwise when his shot was not falling. He didn’t get the defense moving often enough to create for teammates. He got caught lagging behind Calathes over and over again, only to reach in desperation. And he settled for hero-bricks from deep on crucial possessions.

Simply put: The game in Memphis was Wall’s worst performance in the last two seasons. Not the way to sputter into the All-Star break.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


DC Council Top Aide

Nene has had great games for the Wizards—we can certainly look back on his career-high 30 points earlier this season—but I can say with a fair amount of confidence that Tuesday night in Memphis was one of his best in a Washington uniform.

The 17 points on 13 shots won’t astound you. Although Nene did make all three of his free throws (clutch ones at that) and attacked the basket with purpose, making all three of his shots in the restricted area and five out of eight total attempts in the paint. Nene went 2-for-4 on midrange jumpers and an additional miss came on a desperation 3-pointer from the corner to end the first half after broken-down offense.

Nor do Nene’s four total rebounds, three assists, three steals, two turnovers seem ‘best game as a Wizard’ thrilling. But it was his mark on the offense, combined with his containment of Zach Randolph on defense (13 points on 11 shots and 5-for-6 FTs), all while Nene’s buddy Marcin Gortat was in foul trouble, which make his winning effort on the evening just as discouragingly wasted by teammates as Beal’s career-high 37 points.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


DC Council Session
That session was … predictable Wizards basketball, unfortunately.

Nine. Make that nine times this season the Wizards have lost when entering a contest .500. They’re .490 today.

And it really starts with John Wall’s defense, which seems to suffer most when he’s lined up across from unheralded point guards. Enter Nick Calathes, who outplayed Wall from start to finish—18 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and two steals. Wall owned up to his sleepy game after the final whistle, but his response was too little, too late.

“[Nick Calathes] is playing great,” said Grizzlies coach David Joerger. “He makes some mistakes, but I have the ball in his hands and 98 percent of the time he makes the right play. What he’s doing right now in leading this ball club is absolutely tremendous. I’m so proud of him and happy for him.”

—John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)


DC Council Mayor


The ‘ideal’ Wizards starting lineup of Wall, Beal, Ariza, Nene, and Gortat has started 16 straight games together in which the Wizards have now gone 9-7, a .526 winning percentage that still puts them on par with what Toronto is doing.

The starters have averaged 16.3 minutes per game together over those last 16. They shoot an eFG% of .539 (3.3% better than the team average), average 8.6 assists to 5.4 turnovers per game, and field a plus-2.8 in plus/minus.

Tuesday night wasn’t all that different. The starters played 17 minutes, shot 14-for-25 (3-for-7 from 3 and 8-for-12 on free throws), tallied four assists and five turnovers, and finished plus-7.

The given, if you watched the game, is that John Wall didn’t have it, and Beal almost made up for what Wall lacked. Looking at the evidence, all 5-man units featuring Wall (aside from the starting lineup) finished the evening minus-11. Non-Wall line-ups were a total plus-1.

The job, thusly, is just as much of Randy Wittman’s as it is Wall’s to get the players motivated to play. Both get a big, fat ‘F’ for Tuesday night. But if you’re looking to judge Wittman on game management and play-calling, in particular on the last play of the night, keep looking.

I see no inherent problem with using Nene in a high-screen and hand-off to get John Wall to ball, who was then supposed to get the ball to Bradley Beal. The problem is: Wall, who inbounded the ball, did not properly set up the defender, Calathes, enough to gain separation so that he could get the ball back from Nene. When Wall couldn’t break free, confusion ensued, Nene made a bad/risky pass that Wall had to recover, and by that point, too much time had run off the clock, turning Wall’s carriage into a pumpkin, him into a hobo’s Allen Iverson, and Bradley Beal into the poster boy for #NBAsadfaces.

Wittman drew up a play to get his best shooter and hottest player the ball. The players, led by Wall, simply did not execute.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


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Stat(s) of the Game.

The Grizzlies outscored the Wizards in the paint, 28-10, in the first half. In the second half, Washington’s defense stepped up and limited Memphis to just six paint points (while the Wizards tallied 16 over quarters three and four). The Wizards still lost, as Memphis’ cushion of seven more free throw attempts (and nine more makes) more than made up the difference.

Oh, and John Wall’s shot chart….




End Vines.


End Beal.



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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.