D.C. Council 55: Wizards 94 vs Pelicans 93: Victory Snatched From Bird Beaks by Wall and Nene | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

D.C. Council 55: Wizards 94 vs Pelicans 93: Victory Snatched From Bird Beaks by Wall and Nene

Updated: February 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. 55: Wizards vs Pelicans; contributors: John Converse Townsend and Kyle Weidie from the Verizon Center in the District of Columbia.

Washington Wizards 94 vs New Orleans Pelicans 93
[box score]


End Game Nene.



Stat of the Game.

The Bayou birds came into D.C. playing .500 basketball in their last 10 games, out-scoring opponents by an average of 8.2 points in the paint.

Nene, Gortat, and John Wall gave the Pelicans a taste of their own medicine. The Wiz Kids out-scored the Pellies in the paint, 48-40 (well above their season average).

That was the difference in a game that featured 22 lead changes, seven ties, and where the Wizards shot just 3-for-14 from beyond the arc.

—John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)


DC Council Key Legislature

Nene. Anthony Davis. Nene. Anthony Davis. Nene. Anthony Davis. Nene. Anthony Davis.


Nene! That’s the short story of game.

Both big men had double-digit points after the first quarter. Davis finished with 26 points on 18 attempts, including a pair of free throws to give the Pelicans a one-point lead with seven seconds to play.

Nene matched Davis every step of the way, with more highlights, and made the game-winning play: a one-handed slam set up by All-Star John Wall, who dribbled past Brian Roberts and suckered rookie Jeff Withey into the restricted area and off his feet.

Nene’s 30 points tied a career-high set earlier this season, in a 116-111 win over the L.A. Lakers.

The Wizards were actually down by one point twice in the last 26 seconds. I asked Beal what Wittman told the guys in the huddle.

“‘Just stay with it,’ ” Beal said. “We’ve been in this situation before. Nobody was rattled, and that’s just our growth process from last year to this year.”

“I think we do a great job just staying the course, bearing down and doing whatever it takes to win.”

Decent answer, but I wasn’t satisfied, so I asked John Wall the same question.

I’ll let him take it away below.

—John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)




DC Council Chair

Nene’s battle against Anthony Davis wasn’t going to be easy. An NBA All-Star in his second season, Davis has progressed immensely and has been carrying a depleted Pelicans squad on his back. Plus, although not new to Nene (he’s matched up against the likes of Channing Frye, Kevin Love, and other stretch 4s this season), Davis has really improved at extending defenses with his jumper. Thus, Davis scored 26 points on an excellent 11-for-18 from the field, despite Nene’s best efforts.

“That kid is good. He’s improving, you know,” Nene said after the game. “I tried to play tight on him, but he made shots. We take that and move on.”

The curious part is that, at his desired 4 position, Nene was supposed to guard Davis. Hornets coach Monty Williams, however, didn’t see a reciprocal relationship. Williams elected to start the more veteran experience of Greg Stiemsma at the 5 instead of Alexis Ajinca. That didn’t exactly work out. Stiemsma was cross-matched and had to guard Nene on defense, and the Brazilian destroyed and frustrated him to no end, dunking on and out-muscling Stiemsma left and right. There were some tense moments from Mr. Stiemsma.

The night ended with a Nene dunk (when Jeff Withey, not Stiemsma, rotated off Nene and to John Wall), and the Brazilian matching his career-high 30 points (and then talking about all the praying that helped).

Stiemsma didn’t feel like talking too much after the game, giving me a simple, “Naw man,” when I asked if he had a second to be interviewed before he and his purple shirt darted out of New Orleans’ locker room. I asked Davis if he wanted to be matched up against Nene with him playing so well.

“We just wanted to stick to our defensive game plan,” he tersely responded. Interview. Over.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


DC Council Vetoed Participation

Trevor Ariza. The Wizards’ bi-weekly hero, Lord Threeza, was not prepared to defend the realm on Saturday evening.

In the last meeting between the two teams, on Jan. 9, Ariza finished with 21 points on 17 shots and added 10 rebounds. Here’s Adam McGinnis:

“Trevor finally broke out of his shooting slump and the Hookah smoke was flowing thick. His adventurous dribbling was limited to a minimum—hell, at times it even worked out—and he was able to pick up easy buckets by crashing the boards effectively.”

While the rebounds were still there for Ariza on Saturday night (9), he finished with four points (all scored in the first quarter) on five attempts. He’s taken fewer shot attempts in just two games this season.

—John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)


DC Council Top Aide

Not sure if we’ve ever nominated John Wall as a game’s “top aide.” But here we are.

Offensively, Wall had a poor night, and he didn’t do much to help his cause. In the second quarter he wasted a couple possessions with ill-advised jumpers. He slapped his own thigh hard after one poor miss. Later, he passively settled for another jumper. And when he got a defensive rebound with eight-plus seconds left in the first half, he didn’t push the ball up with urgency. Yes, at least Wall earned a trip to the free throw line on the last possession of the second quarter (where he went 1-for-2, leaving the game tied at 43 at half), but it was a lost opportunity to create some action for a Washington offense that struggled to score 19 points in the second period. Perhaps the presence of fellow Wildcat Anthony Davis kept Wall out the lane, and perhaps some of the game plan was to combat New Orleans’ shot-blocking prowess with the size and strength of Nene and Marcin Gortat. At intermission, Wall was just 1-for-5 from the field with five assists and four turnovers (he was also part of a spell in the first period where Washington’s passing got too cute).

The third quarter started off slow, too. But Washington stuck with the game plan of pounding the rock to Nene and Gortat. And Wall stepped up his defense, ignited the crowed with a big block of Eric Gordon toward the end of the third quarter, and finished the second half 3-for-4 on field goals with seven assists to just one turnover (on the night, Wall scored 10 points, 4-9 FGs, with 12 assists and five turnovers). Wall scored on a weaving and winding layup to give the Wizards a one point lead with 26 seconds left. And the play wasn’t even a Wall ISO (as we’ve been used to seeing). The plan was for Nene to fake a pass to him and then drive and look for Bradley Beal for a corner 3 (if Nene didn’t have layup), Wall revealed after the game.

“But he gave it to me and I was surprised so I just wanted to attack right away,” Wall said. It all worked out nicely, as the Wizards went up by one, Davis took back the lead with two free throws on the other end, and then Wall, driving and not settling for a jumper again, parted the defensive seas to find Nene for the game-winning dunk. Jesus saves, and so do point guards.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


DC Council Session

This Session Was … A Savior from Itself.

A dramatic win in spectacular fashion clouded the fact that this Wizards team still has a lot of issues. Hard to point a finger at any one issue, aside from spitting out intangibles like “consistent aggression” and the glaring weaknesses the Wizards have in not having a backup ball handler who can shoot (so, not Andre Miller or Garrett Temple) or a reliable, competent veteran big man off the bench (Trevor Booker has his limitations and Kevin Seraphin is always a mixed bag). At least they now have an extra roster spot?

Otherwise, the game was saved by God’s love for game-winning dunks, despite his hatred of free throws (we imagine, vis-a-vis the life and times of Nene).

A positive sign can be taken from Wall’s growth, evident here in his addressing of late-game possessions and last-second shots. According to NBA.com, in the last 60 seconds of games when the Wizards are ahead or behind by three points, Wall is just 3-for-19 on field goals (0-for-4 on 3-pointers, 2-for-10 in the paint, 1-for-5 on midrange shots), and the Wizards are just 9-15 in such contests. So, yea, maybe sometimes Wall should look for his jumper less and try to attack and create more. Good things can happen. Below, Wall talks about lessons in not having to take the last shot.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)




DC Council Mayor

“You Can’t Touch Me” was almost, almost visible across Randy Wittman’s forehead as he sauntered into his postgame press conference.

“We got into it and showed some emotion in the second half, played with some feeling and desire. That was the difference,” Wittman said. “The last three minutes, we held them to the two points that Davis got with the foul at the end.”

“Our bigs were really huge tonight, I thought they played really great the whole game. Obviously Nene got inspired, and we kind of feed off that. When John and those guys play with emotion, you feed off it. Our bigs were really terrific tonight and John made two plays at the end that you can’t teach. He got to the basket for the layup. For being down by one with the time running down, under control to make that last play to Nene for the dunk.

“It was good execution down the stretch. That’s something that we’ve worked hard on this year.”

Wittman answered just three questions before exiting, stage left. Confident.

—John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)



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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.