D.C. Council 56: Wizards 96 at Cavaliers 83: Cleveland Rocked By Washington's Duet of Wall and Defense | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

D.C. Council 56: Wizards 96 at Cavaliers 83: Cleveland Rocked By Washington’s Duet of Wall and Defense

Updated: February 24, 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. 56: Wizards at Cavaliers, recapped solo by hardwood hero Rashad Mobley (@rashad20) from his pad in the District.

Washington Wizards 96 at Cleveland Cavaliers 83
[box score]





Stat of the Game.

The Wizards outscored the Cavaliers 38-31 in the second half (20-20 in the third quarter, and 18-11 in the fourth) despite going to the free throw line significantly fewer times (the Wizards went 4-for-6, the Cavs went 12-for-17). How did they pull this off?  The Wizards held the Cavaliers to 25 percent shooting in the second half, including just 1-for-10 from the 3-point line.  The Cavaliers’ backcourt of Jarrett Jack and Kyrie Irving combined to shoot just 2-for-14 in that decisive second half.

 —Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)


DC Council Key Legislature

With 6:13 left in the third quarter, Nene fouled Spencer Hawes and crumpled to the floor of Quicken Loans Arena. Comcast SportsNet’s Steve Buckhantz observed that Nene, who had eight points and four rebounds at the time, went down sans a collision or any real contact from any other player. That did not stop him from hopping off the court with what was later diagnosed as a sprained knee less than 24 hours after tying his career-high 30 points against New Orleans, outplaying All-Star Anthony Davis, and dunking home the game-winner with 0.03 seconds left.

Things could have gone decidedly wrong for the Wizards given that their best post player was suddenly unavailable. Spencer Hawes, the Cavaliers’ best post player who torched the Wizards for nine points, six rebounds and two assists in the second quarter alone, could have easily done the same in the third and fourth quarter without real resistance. Nene’s absence also could have led to a series of forced shots by John Wall and Bradley Beal, which most likely would have allowed the Cavaliers back in the game. Instead, they picked up the slack as a team.

Wall hit a 3-pointer, Gortat scored four consecutive points, and then Al Harrington—in just his second game since missing around three months with knee surgery—scored the last five points of the quarter to put the Wizards up by six, 78-72. Washington opened the fourth quarter by giving up a dunk to Anthony Bennett, but then proceeded to go on a 15-5 run over the next eight minutes. They didn’t shoot great (34%) and no one Wizards player was particularly dominant or efficient on the offensive end of the floor, but they clamped down defensively (the Cavs shot just 21% in the final quarter) and pulled out a victory on the road, just one day after a tough victory at home. That’s .500 the hard way.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)


DC Council Chair

Nene got the lions’ share of the props after the victory against the Pelicans, but John Wall’s play in the last two minutes of the game—whether it was his drives to the basket, his hesitation moves on a fast break, or drawing the double-team before passing to Nene on the game-winning shot—is what won the game for the Wizards.

Against the Cavaliers, Wall picked up where he left off, except this time he brought his shot with him. He scored eight points (3-for-5 shooting) with five assists and set the tone early on in the game. There were two possessions when Wall seemed immersed in a one-on-one battle with fellow All-Star Kyrie Irving, but other than that, he focused on getting shots for his teammates, while managing to sprinkle in a Gilbert Arenas impression by hitting a 30-footer to end the second quarter.

 —Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)



DC Council Vetoed Participation

Marcin Gortat, Kevin Seraphin and Nene.

Spencer Hawes had averaged 16.6 points, 14 rebounds and four assists against the Wizards this season as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers. He can post up, he can pass, he can rebound, and he can spot-up (he’s shooting 40% percent from 3-point range), which means despite his new uniform, the Wizards should have been fully aware of the damage Hawes is capable of inflicting. This was not the case in the second quarter on Sunday evening.

Hawes did what he wanted in the second quarter in 10 minutes of play. He grabbed offensive rebounds, he hit a 3-pointer, he swung the ball to the right player from the top of the key, he kept offensive possessions alive, and he got to the foul line. Gortat, Seraphin and Nene could not slow him down even a little bit, and Hawes single-handedly kept the Cavaliers in the game in that second quarter, and in the first half in general (13 points and seven rebounds in the first half).

 —Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)


DC Council Top Aide


Kevin Seraphin. 

It is no secret that Kevin Seraphin is the Wizards player who finds himself on the wrong end of Coach Randy Wittman’s ire most frequently. If the Wizards score, but Seraphin blows an assignment, Wittman takes time to yell at him before he can even walk off the court. If the opposing team scores, and Seraphin is at fault, Wittman steps up his scolding game and gets on Seraphin even more. To his credit, Seraphin seems to take all of this in stride. Unfortunately, he makes the same mistakes over and over again.

The Wizards needed Seraphin to make plays at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Nene was out with a knee, Gortat was on the bench resting, and the Cavaliers had just cut the Wizards’ lead to four points. Seraphin hit consecutive 10-foot jump hooks, and then grabbed a defensive rebound, which led to an easy fast break layup by Martell Webster. And just like that the Wizards were up by eight points, 84-76.

Seraphin did not score for the rest of the quarter, but the Wizards never trailed by more than eight points after Seraphin’s consecutive hook shots. Wittman said this to the Washington Post‘s Michael Lee about his embattled forward after the game:

“He’s capable of doing that. The more he simplifies his game, the better. We gotta get him to be more simple. That [hook shot] is his move, he does it very well, he’s hard to stop. But sometimes he tries to fool you, instead of sticking with what he can do.”

 —Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)



DC Council Session

This Session Was … All Business.

The Cleveland Cavaliers entered the game against the Wizards without Dion Waiters (their second leading scorer at 14.3 points a game), C.J. Miles (averaging 10 points off the bench), and Anderson Varejao (averaging 8.8 points and 10.3 rebounds per game), which meant despite the presence of Jarrett Jack and Kyrie Irving, the Wizards still had the decided advantage since they were 100 percent healthy.

Washington was unable to create a healthy distance between them and the Cavaliers during the first three quarters, but in the last quarter they did just that by turning up the defensive pressure. The Wizards outscored the Cavaliers 18-11 in the fourth period, and they held them to just four points during the last 5:41 of play to seal the victory.

Seraphin and Gortat clogged the lane, Beal and Wall forced Jack and Irving into difficult shots, and Ariza hit the dagger (Steve Buckhantz’s words not mine) to give Washington a 96-81 lead. The Wizards have given away sizable leads all season with bad shot selection and porous defense against both good and bad teams. It was refreshing to see them take a business-like, efficient approach in disposing of a wounded team on the road.  That’s what playoff teams are supposed to do.

 —Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)


DC Council Mayor

The Wizards scored just 18 points on 8-of-23 shooting in the fourth quarter, but five points from the Cavaliers in the last 5:54 obviously wasn’t enough to overcome that.

Randy Wittman after the game (via CSN Washington):

“There was 5:54 left [in the game] and I tried to get the guys to realize, you get to the five minute mark of the fourth quarter, and you build yourself an eight-point lead, now you gotta win it defensively. There should be no excuse, no matter what we do from an offensive standpoint. I don’t know what [the Cavaliers] scored in that last 5:54 but [the Wizards] went out and took the challenge.”

 —Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)


End Vines.

Wall on his Kyrie Jumper.

Full court Beal stuff.

Slick Uncle Al.

#NeneHands to #WallDunk

#BigPanda Power.

Oh, hi Mike Brown.


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Rashad Mobley
Reporter/Writer at TAI
Rashad has been covering the NBA and the Washington Wizards since 2008—his first two years were spent at Hoops Addict before moving to Truth About It. Rashad has appeared on ESPN and college radio, SportsTalk on NewsChannel 8 in Washington D.C., and his articles have appeared on ESPN TrueHoop, USAToday.com, Complex Magazine, and the DCist. He considers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a hero and he had the pleasure of interviewing him back in 2009.