D.C. Council 70: Wizards 102 at Nuggets 105: Vesely and Foye Turn D.C. Downer into Denver High | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

D.C. Council 70: Wizards 102 at Nuggets 105: Vesely and Foye Turn D.C. Downer into Denver High

Updated: March 25, 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. 70: Wizards at Nuggets, featuring Sean Fagan (@McCarrick) and Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) from the Eastern seaboard.

Washington Wizards 102 at Denver Nuggets 105
[box score]


We’ll always have #HookahShots


…And Aaron Brooks.



Stat(s) of the Game.

The Wizards committed a season-high 24 turnovers leading to 30 points, marking just the 53rd time since 1985-86 that they’ve committed 24 or more gaffes.

John Wall committed eight turnovers himself, marking the 57th time since ’85 that a Wizards/Bullets player has committed eight or more turnovers. For his career, Wall now has six games of eight-plus turnovers (a career-high nine twice). Gilbert Arenas leads with nine games of eight-plus turnovers, achieving a high of 12 turnovers in November 2009.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


DC Council Key Legislature

Steve Buckhantz couldn’t stop talking about the Wizards’ lack of energy, especially during the third quarter when the Wizards were out-scored 30-24. But what was the matter? The #WittmanJava came from a Denver coffee shop? The air up there in Denver? The trappings of the last game of a road trip?

Perhaps all of the above. It seemed hard to quantify but I’d have to take Buckhantz’ word for it. Unlike in Washington, where he and cohort Phil Chenier have been moved far away from the hardwood sidelines in pursuit of an extra buck, in Denver they sat courtside and able to report on more nuances of the game.

Over television, what was more noticeable than the somewhat intangible lack of energy was the Wizards’ exasperation with each other after a bad play (or themselves—it was hard to tell). A John Wall jump-to-pass hit an unaware Trevor Booker in the back—Wall frustration. Mere minutes later, Jan Vesely picks off Wall’s pass and takes it full court for a dunk—Wall throws up his arms. And this was just in the first quarter. Right before half, Booker threw a close-range rocket pass in the paint to Gortat that went sailing out of bounds. Booker spewed exasperation on the floor—again, mad at himself for the bad pass, at Gortat for not catching it? It was hard to tell.

Buckhantz’s accusations of lacking energy worked, perhaps, in conjunction with the bad attitudes I saw. Maybe they were the same thing. Sometimes the energy was good, but it was always inconsistent. Often the Wizards lacked patience, and that would be led by young Wall trying to force wooden squares into circular holes. Spacing was bad, timing was off, and no one was around to take ownership. Move on to the next one. Lesson learned? The answer is teetering on a tightrope.

But past some of the abstraction, if you want a game-defining moment, it was Randy Foye’s revenge. The ex-Wizard scored 17 points and went 5-for-9 from deep. He also had a block of Marcin Gortat (a made basket there might have preserved the game). The contest was tied at 84 barely four minutes into the fourth quarter when Denver, against AARP unit Wizards, pushed their lead to seven. Gortat checked back in at the 6:42 mark and help the Wizards turn on their scramble. Over the next four minutes, Gortat was active with four points, three rebounds, a block, an assist, and a turnover. With Washington possessing the ball down five points with around 90 seconds left, an excellent opportunity opened up for the Wizards’ center at the rim. Except Randy Foye was there. The 6-foot-4 guard rejected the 6-foot-11 Pole and Denver went the other way, picking up a foul for points and taking the wind out of Washington’s sails.

The unfortunate game happened in its entirety, but this play was particularly painful to watch.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)



DC Council Chair

There was a slight debate (or query) amongst Mr. Fagan and myself over who would be the Council Chair.

Bradley Beal stood out because he led the Wizards in scoring (21 points, 8-18 FGs, 3-5 3Ps, 2-2 FTs), and picked up seven rebounds (tied with three other occurrences for his third-highest rebound output of the season). Sure, he jacked a prerequisite contested midrange jumper or two but mostly played within himself—out of his non-3-point field goals, Beal went 3-for-5 from the long midrange area, 2-for-3 at the rim, but 0-for-5 in the closer midrange area (Beal at least seemed somewhat intent on getting shots closer to the rim). He also scored nine of Washington’s 29 points in the fourth quarter (3-6 FGs). That said, Beal was also a big part of Washington’s breakdown on defense—they could never get any of the stops they needed, and Beal letting Evan Fournier (a Denver-best plus-12 in plus/minus) blast past him for a dunk early in the fourth as Denver started to pull away was not a good look.

But, because of Beal’s overall ‘OK’ game (in comparison to others), and with Gortat (a game-high plus-17) getting rejected by Foye, we weren’t really left with any other choice.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)



DC Council Vetoed Participation

In the 14 games since Nene went down, Trevor Booker has fielded the team’s third-best on court Net Rating (points scored minus points allowed per 100 possessions), amongst those who have played significant minutes.

Al Harrington (+6.2), Marcin Gortat (+3.9), Trevor Booker (+3.7), Bradley Beal (+2.3), John Wall (+1.9), and Trevor Ariza (+1.0).

Thus, Booker has been adequate, perhaps better than expected, but he still can’t hold a church full of candles to Nene. And in Denver, I was severely unimpressed with Booker’s effort. He got confused on defense in transition; he got confused in the pick-and-roll game; he let Kenneth Faried out-hustle him on too many occasions, content with letting the Manimal make open Js with no contest. And too many times, the pattern continued: Booker is just too small for the paint, no matter now strong and fast and athletic he is.

Eight rebounds in 24 minutes was nice, but Booker’s minus-8 was worst amongst the starters and second-worst on the team after Drew Gooden’s minus-11, and his offense continues to appear as threatening as Jan Vesely in a room full of ‘Hang in there, kitty’ posters.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


DC Council Top Aide

Marcin Gortat led the Wizards in plus/minus with a sterling plus-17 in 35 minutes and at least “came to play.” Gortat was not immune to the turnoveritis that plagued the team (4 TOs), but made up for his errors through efficiency and hustle (16 points on 12 shots, 10 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks). Moreover, the impact of Gortat NOT being on the court continues to be one of the major narratives of the season for the Wizards. Drew Gooden is a nice story and a surprising find for the Wizards offensively, but the team’s rebounding and defense suffers when he steps onto the court. The void behind the Polish Hammer is vast and gaping, and it appears that only a Nene-sized miracle is going to return consistency to the pivot.

Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)

STAT! While Nene has been out (14 games), the Wizards have fielded a Defensive Rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) of 106.6. In the 461 minutes Gortat has been on the court, that rating is 102.0; in Gortat’s 236 minutes on the bench, the DefRtg jumps to 115.6.



DC Council Session

That session was … the end of the grind.

The Wizards, with their tails tucked firmly between their legs, returned to the East Coast and have a game against the red-hot Suns today. One could blame blame the loss in Denver on the thin mountain air, a revenge game by two former Wizards (Foye/Vesely UNITE), or the fact that Wizards had no interest whatsoever in protecting the ball. In fact, all these factors combined in a perfect storm of “Wizardry” and the team now finds itself falling ass-over-teakettle into the playoffs rather than approaching the postseason with any sort of momentum. “Streaky” is an adjective that could be applied to this team without hesitation, and a casual viewer would be neither surprised at this point to see the Wizards eke out a first-round win in the playoffs nor shocked to witness them get bounced in four straight. This is why the idea of playing a team like Chicago should give Wizards fans heart palpitations. A disciplined team finds a way to grind out a win over a collection of refuse like the Nuggets. The Wizards seem content with out-dueling decent or bad teams (wins over Brooklyn and L.A.) and marching into the next game with an overinflated sense of their own abilities. That is how a team ends up having 24 turnovers and the ball stolen from them 15 times. Against a relentless machine like the Bulls, that lack of focus could be the deathblow to second-round dreams.

Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)



DC Council Mayor

For lack of better options, Randy Wittman is going to keep running his small-ball second unit out there in hopes that it can produce enough points to keep the game level. What really must chafe Wittman is that the Denver loss lacked the “teaching moments” that he can use to refocus and reenergize his troops for the last handful of games. Spluttering about concentration and focus is all well and good, but the Wizards are past the point in a season where a coach can reach into his bag of tricks and cajole his team to better performances. Wittman has to ride the tiger at this point and hope that his young charges realize that they are nowhere yet near good enough to saunter into the gym and win on talent alone.

Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)


Vesely’s Revenge.


Gooden Dirty?


Sean Fagan on FacebookSean Fagan on Twitter
Sean Fagan
Reporter / Writer/Gadfly at TAI
Based in Brooklyn, NY, Sean has contributed to TAI since the the dawn of Jan Vesely and has been on the Wizards beat since 2008. His work has been featured on ESPN, Yahoo and SI.com. He still believes that Mike Miller never got a fair shot.