D.C. Council 62: Wizards 114 at Bucks 107: Wiz Nearly Skunked Suds in Brew City | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

D.C. Council 62: Wizards 114 at Bucks 107: Wiz Nearly Skunked Suds in Brew City

Updated: March 9, 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. 62: Wizards at Bucks, featuring Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20) and Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) from the District.

Washington Wizards 114 at Milwaukee Bucks 107
[box score]


Clutch Big Panda.



Stat(s) of the Game.

That Third Quarter…

  • Bucks: 6 steals; Wizards: 7 turnovers
  • Bucks: 6-7 FTs; Wizards: 2-5 FTs
  • Bucks: 5 offensive boards, 12 points in paint; Wizards: 2 off. boards, 6 PIPs

Hustle plays, or lack thereof, were just part of the problem. Turnovers were of the lackadaisical variety; offense was soggy; passes were miscommunicated; the #WittmanJava was decaf.

Thing is, while certain observers were happy about the first half—where the Wizards scored 75 points and shot 10-for-17 from deep—the problem is they didn’t look completely locked-in during the first 24 minutes, either. Perhaps the Wizards, past being happy about shots that fell due to continued unselfish passing, should be embarrassed about the entire game and not just that third quarter and second half.

 —Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


DC Council Key Legislature

After the Wizards’ win over the Utah Jazz last Wednesday night, Coach Randy Wittman remarked that he appreciated an easy victory for a change and that he was “tired of the drama” that comes with close, nail-biting finishes. Hopefully he enjoyed that one-game reprieve from the drama, because a couple nights later in Milwaukee, it came back with a vengeance—as did the Bucks in the third quarter.

In the first half, it was as if Oprah Winfrey was handing out hot hands to the Wizards’ roster. Trevor Ariza had 17 first-quarter points on 6-for-8 shooting, Marcin Gortat threw in eight points on 4-for-4 shooting, and the Wizards led by nine. The second quarter came around, and Bradley Beal took his turn (11 points on 4-for-5 shooting), AARP card-carrying Drew Gooden got in on the fun (nine points on 4-for-5 from the field), and Andre Miller directed them all with five assists. The Wizards shot 78 percent as a team, they pushed their lead to 28 points at one point, and they led at halftime, 75-53. Then came the dreaded drama.

The Wizards went scoreless for the first 6:49 of the third quarter, and as Comcast’s Steve Buckhantz remarked, “Murphy’s Law was in full effect.” There were missed layups, bad passes, delay of game violations, a healthy dose of hero ball, and the Wizards’ shooting fell precipitously from 78 to 23 percent. They scored just 10 points in the quarter, and the Bucks closed the gap from 23 to nine points.

In the fourth quarter, the Wizards could neither find offensive rhythm, nor stop the Bucks’ momentum, and with 2:13 left, it was a one-possession game with the Wizards leading, 104-101, before Beal decided to take over. He took a pass from John Wall and converted an easy layup, then Wall found him for a corner 3 to extend the lead to eight points. Then Wall threw in a 3-pointer of his own with 59 seconds left, and Buckhantz emphatically yelled “Dagger!” The Wizards led 112-101, and the game was all but over. Any relief Randy Wittman felt after the Utah game was replaced with caution and concern after this drama-filled win over the Bucks (via nba.com):

“I’ve been around long enough to see those games a lot. We were lucky enough to hang on and pull it out. Give Milwaukee credit, they didn’t give in. But we’ve got to learn. We’ve got guys that need to learn that a game is never over in the NBA. We came out in the third quarter and played like we were going to run the clock out and go home. We played the exact opposite of what we did in the first half. We’ve got to learn. I told those guys, you’ve got to learn. This should have been a game I could have rested some guys some minutes, and that’s important coming down the stretch.”

Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)


DC Council Chair

Bradley Beal is clearly still finding his way. He’s still guilty of hanging his head. He hasn’t exactly been rebounding better or assisting better since the All-Star break. And his 3-point shot has fallen back to earth (43% pre-All-Star, 35.9% post-All-Star). But, Beal is showing some progress in his attacking of the basket.

  • Since the All-Star break, 44.2 percent of his shots have come from mid-range. That is a 3.2 percent drop since before the break.
  • Before the break, 16.2 percent of Beal’s shots per game were attempted within five feet of the rim. Since the break, that’s up 5.6 percent to 21.8.
  • Beal has averaged 3.2 FTAs per 36 minutes post-All-Star break, 2.3 pre-break.
  • Beal has averaged 2.9 fouls drawn per game post-All-Star break, 2.2 pre-break.

Against Milwaukee on Saturday night, Beal still showed issues like not getting back on defense or making a poor entry pass attempt to Marcin Gortat that led to a turnover. But his 12 points and 4-for-7 shooting in the fourth quarter (23 points, 8-for-18 on the game) was one of those ‘Beal stays calm’ moments which saved the day. Hopefully, as the Wizards seemed to enjoy a day off in Miami, part of that included a highly critical film session of Beal and all other Wizards who were at fault for various misgivings that led to such a terrible third quarter on Saturday night. Still, Beal gets to deal with it from the council chair after this game.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)



DC Council Vetoed Participation

John Wall had 13 assists, and his last two to Beal sealed the game, which technically means he came through when the Wizards really needed him to, but that’s not exactly the case.

Late in the second quarter, when Milwaukee began methodically cutting into the Wizards’ lead, Wall failed to stay in front of Nate Wolters and Brandon Knight on consecutive possessions, and Knight in particular caught fire with seven points in the last three minutes. Wall’s misery continued in the third quarter when he went 0-for-4 from the field with no trips to the foul line and three turnovers. His passes lacked zip and accuracy, and he settled for jumpers rather than putting pressure on the Bucks defense with his driving ability.

Wall’s teammates did not fare much better in the third and early part of the fourth quarters in terms of missed shots and careless play, but he’s the All-Star, he’s the franchise and, most importantly, he’s the point guard who sets the tone. He finished with an uneven nine points (4-for-14 shooting), 13 assists and seven turnovers, and he managed to pull an Ernie Grunfeld: he helped his team out of the very hole he participating in digging.

Here’s Wall after the game (via nba.com):

“We were walking the ball up, and for some reason whenever anybody goes zone against us we just tighten up and start holding the ball and taking bad shots. We’ve got to keep moving. Our team is based on moving. Even though we were up 30 (actually 28) we let them get into a rhythm, making shots and feeling comfortable. We’ve got to do a better job than that.”

Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)


DC Council Top Aide

Drew Gooden had the type of day that Ice Cube used to rap about. First the Wizards announced they were signing him to a second 10-day contract, then he got a chance to stick it to the team that amnestied him last summer.

It wasn’t just that Gooden scored nine points during the Wizards’ 39-point second quarter, it was the versatility he displayed while doing it. He hit long 2s, he hit a 3-pointer, he scored via aggressive drives to the basket, and he even threw in a blocked shot on defense. Gooden had just four points and three rebounds in the second half when the Wizards began to falter offensively, but his job was to provide a boost, and he did just that in the 8:29 he played in the second quarter.

Andre Miller gets an honorable mention for his own second-quarter performance, where he handed out five assists in just 5:42 of action. The most impressive of the five happened at the 10:19 mark when he established post position and passed up what would have been a relatively easy basket, to get the ball to a wide open Beal, who nailed the 3.

Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)



DC Council Session

That Session Was … Nature vs. Nurture.

Is it more on John Wall’s shoulders? Or maybe Randy Wittman is the difference-making issue? 

The Wizards would be no where without Wall. They are on his back. He is a legitimate All-Star. But lots of guys are All-Stars, the difference is consistency. With the Wizards already working on blowing a large lead in the third quarter, Wall took it upon himself to fire up a terrible shot from deep in the corner with 16 seconds on the shot clock and 3:16 left in the period (Vine seen below). Rashad Mobley vetoed Wall’s participation, and rightly so.

Then again, coaching motivation plays a role. If there’s one main criticism of Wittman this season, it’s not the offense (although that is merely an average work-in-progress), it’s been the inconsistent attitudes he’s gotten from his young guards, Wall and Beal. Too many times they fall absent on a play, and then do it again. Too many heads are hung. And while these are still young players, they have the necessary tool on their shoulders to know better. It’s the coach’s job to steer them down that path.

We talk about the numbers and fret over the amount of midrange shots that the Wizards take, Wittman and his staff are worried about being psychologists, a group of shrinks. And while the added veterans provide necessary supplement in this department, and while Wall and Beal are grown enough to assume responsibility, it’s a championship-caliber coach who typically makes the difference. And while Randy Wittman deserves a chance to grow as a coach, with his players, in the postseason, efforts like the one in the second half in Milwaukee on Saturday night, in particular down a playoff stretch, do not bode well for next-level potential.

But … a win is also a win, of course. And John Wall hit a dagger. Sometimes that’s all that matters.

  —Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)



DC Council Mayor

We won’t wax poetic about #WittmanFace on this night.

But we will point out one specific lineup state of intrigue. Wittman’s starters—Wall, Beal, Ariza, Booker, and Gortat—finished minus-10 in 19 minutes with eight turnovers to eight assists. They were just plus-2 in the first half, minus-10 in the third, and minus-2 in the fourth.

A 5-man unit of Miller, Beal, Webster, Harrington, and Gooden partially helped saved the day via plus-7 in seven minutes. The small-ball Wizards of Wall, Beal, Ariza, Webster, and Gortat finished plus-6 in three second-half minutes.

Thus, in lieu of #WittmanFace, we present below Ariza, Wall and Cassell, face.

 —Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)



 Closing Vines.


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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.