D.C. Council 60: Wizards 104 vs Grizzlies 110: Memphis Advances to Victory via Points Statistics | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

D.C. Council 60: Wizards 104 vs Grizzlies 110: Memphis Advances to Victory via Points Statistics

Updated: March 4, 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. 60: Wizards vs Grizzlies, featuring Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) and Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks) from the District.

Washington Wizards 104 vs Memphis Grizzlies 110
[box score]


“We ain’t gotta make drama now
’cause we lost that game.”

—Marcin Gortat



Stat of the Game.

The Wizards and Grizzlies each committed 13 turnovers, but Memphis turned Washington’s give-aways into 22 points, holding the home team to 10 points less at a dozen. In a six-point loss, sounds like a difference to me. Memphis picked up eight steals (Marc Gasol led the way with three) and was able to convert three layups and a jump shot off those steals. Could’ve been worse, the Grizzlies also missed two layups after thefts of the ball.

 —Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


DC Council Key Legislature

The story in basketball so often comes down to easily identifiable game anomalies. “Well, Phil, you won’t win many games when you shoot the ball so poorly / Well, Phil, you won’t win many games when you turn the ball over so much / Well, Phil, you won’t win many games when you don’t share the ball.”

Here, the anomalous result is predictable, and perhaps not so anomalous given the context of Nene’s injury and the Grizzlies’ magisterial frontcourt. The Memphis Grizzlies scored 62 (62!) points in the paint compared to just 34 (a normally acceptable, if not notable, amount) from the Wizards. These points, like ghosts from the early season when Nene missed several games and the Wizards were 2-7, came not only from Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, but also from Mike Conley, who got to the rim with unconstrained ease.

But this romanticized notion that a team can’t win when they are outplayed so soundly in one (of many) areas of the game belies the fact that the Wizards were in this game despite their limitations in the paint. With 3:40 left in the third quarter, Bradley Beal hit a fadeaway 18-foot jumper to tie the game at 62-62. What happened next was tough to watch. Four consecutive baskets (all within three feet of the hoop) from Conley, Prince, Randolph, and Koufos, along with a free throw from Randolph, put the Grizzlies up 71-62.

And all of a sudden the Grizzlies were rolling. An offense in hibernation (bear jokes, I got ‘em) woke up rowdy, and all of the easy baskets opened the floor up even more for the likes of unlikely (aren’t they all?) Wizard-killer Nick Calathes. Meanwhile, turnovers by Gortat and Wall, a charge call on Ariza, and two absolute bricks by a lost Chris Singleton buried the Wizards in a grave gleefully dug by the notorious Memphis defense.

The Wizards would make it interesting in the final minutes in an unexpected (two back-to-back Wall 3-pointers) and incredibly welcome (a straight-on 3-pointer from Otto Porter) fashion. But the team’s poor paint defense (Gortat’s marks scored on all four of their rim attempts against him) to end the third quarter was the stenciled arrow guiding the Wizards to a disheartening but unsurprising loss.

 —Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)


DC Council Chair

The gut says that John Wall sits in the council chair after the Wizards-Grizzlies affair, but that’s probably just by default. Each starter scored in double figures, and the bench looked ill-equipped to step up, aside from Otto Porter’s dumb luck.

Wall, in scoring 23 points on 16 shots to go with nine assists, four turnovers, and six rebounds essentially battled Memphis’ Mike Conley to a draw (20 points, 14 shots, seven assists, four turnovers, and three rebounds).

The real M.V.P., assessing both sides, was Memphis’ ability to magnetically attract Randy Wittman’s defensive philosophy into the interior. As mentioned above, the Grizzlies scored 62 points in the paint. From beyond the 3-point line, Memphis averages just 14.3 attempts and 5.0 makes per game, both ranked at the very bottom of the league. And while David Joerger’s team didn’t shatter their average in going 6-for-13 from beyond the arc (Memphis has made six or more 3s in 40 percent of their games), what they did was just enough to counter what the Wizards tried to do.

“Our defensive concepts was to stunt and try to get back and recover,” said Wall after the game. Essentially, let guys like Tayshaun Prince (a season-high 21 points and 2-for-3 from deep) beat them from the perimeter and keep the ball from being constantly pounded in the paint.

The Wizards had fought back from a 19-point deficit, and thanks to Otto Porter’s second career 3, in addition to back-to-back 3s from Wall, the Wizards were able get get within four points, 98-102, with 1:17 left. The Grizzlies took a timeout but didn’t seem to necessarily execute a masterful play—at least the Wizards started defending the out-of-bounds set well. However, after a couple screens and attempts otherwise, Conley, with Trevor Ariza guarding him, was able to find Prince for a long two. It wasn’t necessarily interior action that caused Wall to “stunt,” you see, but rather Wall simply got caught ball-watching and gave his man, Prince, too much space to hit.

It was a defensive gaffe that had to sting and … well, after that, the Wizards lost the game, as Memphis was able to win the free throw contest. Put Wall in the council chair, but he doesn’t exactly deserve to preside over much after that loss.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) 


DC Council Vetoed Participation

All five Washington starters scored in double figures, with Trevor Ariza and Trevor Booker tied for the lowest point totals of the bunch with 15 points each. Of those two players, it’s most tempting to veto Booker, who tried his darndest, but couldn’t prevent the Grizzlies from dominating the paint 62-34.

But that’s a veto simply for the sake of a veto, and these councils exist to add value, not to misdirect readers into a loop of unnecessary content. Several elements, each smaller than the totality of play by any one human, conspired to pull the Wizards under.

We tackle one herein: contested jump shots from Bradley Beal. While anarchists like Trevor Ariza may revel in a perceived increase in difficulty (per his usual, Ariza shot much better on contested shots (100%) than uncontested ones (33.3%)), the basketball puritan, Bradley Beal, does not yet possess Ariza’s special mix of calm and incognizance. Beal’s shots, when contested (28.6%) were unlikely to fall, whereas his uncontested shots (62.5%) were indicative of his uncanny ability to convert in situations where he’s allowed all the quiet solipsism his game, in its current iteration, needs.

Still, Beal’s free throw attempts have been as scarce as hen’s teeth this season, and going 6-for-6 from the line makes Beal’s otherwise modest non-scoring line look robust by association. File the following nugget under Bradley-you’re-better-than-this: at a similar point in his career, Ray Allen was a less efficient 3-point shooter than Beal, and turned the ball over more with a lower usage rate. The difference? Allen took more shots at the rim, which boosted his two-point field goal percentage far above Beal’s, and led to more free throw attempts per game.

Meanwhile, newly acquired veteran Drew Gooden looked awful (we’re still waiting on Gooden’s first basket) and Andre Miller added very little of consequence, albeit in limited minutes.

 —Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)


DC Council Top Aide

Trevor Ariza scored 15 points on just nine shots, shot 4-for-6 from behind the arc, rebounded well on both sides of the court, and even dished out a few assists to his teammates. Some must be halfway expecting Lord Threeza to place his hand on Nene’s sprained MCL, speak in tongues, and spontaneously heal the injury without ill effect. Trevor Ariza came into the season on the trading block, in the minds of many, but for those doleful, sententious souls who have watched these Wizards over the past 17 weeks, Ariza has been an increasingly constant source of disarmingly good basketball.

 —Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)


#ArizaBruh Post-Game Report.



DC Council Session

That Session Was… a Grind House.

Memphis attacked the basket with clear intent from the tip. Or maybe it was just run-of-the-mill for them. You see, after a slow 15-19 start, capped by a home extra-session loss to those San Antonio Spurs (sounds familiar), the more-healthy Grizzlies have won 19 out of their last 25 games. They are finding a rhythm and punishing teams like a mechanism designed to do so.

There was some boredom, some grinding halts, perhaps some broken gears, a couple hard fouls (although not completely frequent, at least judging by free throw attempts), and, of course, there was a run of four 3-pointers in a span of 52 seconds late in the fourth (three from the Wizards), providing a dash of false hope. The tone was set, the foundation was built, and Memphis was simply a team featuring more grown men (so, no, the brittle-boned #WizVets don’t count). The Wizards, perhaps more healthy, perhaps with better player development, could get there one day.

  —Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


DC Council Mayor


Randy Wittman is an honest man. He might not tell you everything, clearly, but he’ll also aim not to bullshit you … according to him. After the loss to the Grizzlies, Wittman carried no shovel. He wasn’t terse, although also not that happy. Understandable. Still, Randy sees the home stretch and understands that this isn’t the type of game you get overly upset about or come down on your players hard about—they know they lost a seven-game winning streak.

Rather, the coach was matter of fact, concentrating on how this team moves forward, which is important, especially with winnable games in five out of the next six: vs. Utah, at Milwaukee, at Miami, vs. Charlotte, at Orlando, and vs. Brooklyn. The post-game coach:

“As I told them, even though we lost, we fought, we had guys make some shots coming down the stretch, and that can carry over.


“They came out and beat us, that game is over, but we can still now keep this going. Win the next game, you’re now seven out of eight—keep it going—you make it eight out of nine, nine out of… You keep the thing kind of going, even though we had a mess up here.”

At least John Wall, who repeated the ‘keep it going/seven out of eight’ mantra in his post-game media session, was listening.

Plus, what’s a Randy to do when he must continue to trot out Al Harrington or Drew Gooden at backup center? Don’t imagine thanking Ernie Grunfeld is part of his internal metrics, but yea.

 —Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


The Other Side.

You may have heard the comparisons, the likening, the whispered hopes that Otto Porter could model his game after Tayshaun Prince. Young Otto himself has made such a comparison. Tayshaun has heard them too, and, well, he actually sounded a little bitter.

“Any guy who is light-skinned and thin, can play inside and out, is going to get compared to me.”

Prince, who had a team-high 21 points, did go on to praise the timeliness of Otto’s second NBA 3-pointer, even as he raised his eyebrows about the legitimacy of Porter’s first hit from downtown, a prayer from above the right break: “Man, if you make that type of shot, here we go in the fourth quarter.”

Prince further dapped the oft-forgotten bench cause célèbre by observing that he was, like, “the third or fourth pick, right?”

Right. Something like that, I think.

 —Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)


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Conor Dirks
Reporter / Writer / Co-Editor at TAI
Conor has been with TAI since 2012, and aids in the seamless editorial process that brings you the kind of high-octane blogging you have come to expect from this rad website. The Wizards have been an assiduous companion throughout his years on the cosmic waiver wire. He lives in D.C. and is day-to-day.