D.C. Council 69: Wizards 117 at Lakers 107: Wall and Wiz Sweep Hollywood Issues Under the Rug | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

D.C. Council 69: Wizards 117 at Lakers 107: Wall and Wiz Sweep Hollywood Issues Under the Rug

Updated: March 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. 69: Wizards at Lakers, featuring Sean Fagan (@McCarrick) and Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) from the Eastern seaboard.

Washington Wizards 117 at Los Angeles Lakers 107
[box score]


Wall-Candy from A Swaggy.



Stat(s) of the Game.

The Lakers scored 18 more points in the paint than the Wizards, 58-40.

But Washington made up for that by attempting six more free throws (but making nine more); by attempting six more 3-pointers (making three more); and by scoring eight more second-chance points (16-8), despite the Lakers securing two more offensive rebounds.

The kicker: Steve Nash and Nick Young finished plus-8 and plus-9 in plus/minus respectively, while John Wall and Trevor Ariza finished plus-4 and plus-6 respectively.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


DC Council Key Legislature

When empires fall, they tend to do so quickly and totally, leaving behind fragmented pieces of their former glory. Normally, these collapses coincide with the rise of new powers to fill the gap, splinter groups that try to maintain some sense of prestige and opportunists who pick over the remains.

It is shocking to think that a Wizards sweep of the Lakers in the regular season could be considered “expected,” when one considers the prestige of the organization in Los Angeles and the cultural zeitgeist that surrounds Washington’s basketball team when it plays a team with more cultural cache. Even during the doldrums of the Nick Van Exel years, the Lakers (with an all-time record of 116-67 vs. the Bullets/Wiz) were always there to restore some sense of normalcy to the basketball universe. “You may think you are on the upswing,” a game against the Lakers would whisper, “but we will always be there to return things to the proper balance.”

Last Friday’s game was perhaps a sign from the universe that some things are not eternal, and that invincible auras are only useful when you have the ability to back it up on the court. Of course, popular culture came close to refuting this as media recaps all ran the same headline, “Steve Nash returns and looks half decent […] Wizards beat Lakers.” That is fine. It will take people time to adjust to the new narrative. This year it is the Wizards who have the young superstar (John Wall) capable of doing no wrong and taking over the game when it matters. This year it is the Wizards who have lucked into the weird cogs (Drew Gooden, Trevor Booker) who fill in capably for injured teammates and are playing not down to their status as “Wizards,” but up to the level of a playoff team. Up is down and cats are living with dogs and the Wizards just swept a Lakers team whose most popular active player is Nick Young.

Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)



DC Council Chair

Steve Nash returned and many rushed to their keyboards to claim that the King was not dead and had not in fact left the building. In the midst of all the gushing over Nash’s performance, the complete dominance of John Wall was once again overlooked. Wall was perhaps his most destructive in the third quarter, drilling 16-foot jump shots and feeding his beautiful outlet assists to Bradley Beal and Al Harrington. While many are ruing what appears to be the end of an amazing run by a 41-year-old point guard, they are missing out on the ascendance of the heir apparent.

Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)


DC Council Vetoed Participation

There are only a few games remaining and it is finally time to declare that Martell Webster’s performance for the Wizards has been … well, less than ideal. There was hope that it was the lack of supporting cast on the second unit was the root problem of Webster’s troubles, but the emergence of the AARP brigade and notable upgrade at the backup point guard position have yet to force an uptick in Webster’s game. The real problem is that Webster is still logging a heavy load of minutes (avg. 26.2) and he hasn’t made an impression on either end of the floor (although he trails only Ariza and Gooden in eFG, per 82games.com). Instead of the tri-headed monster at small forward that the Wizards thought the possessed at the beginning of the season in Ariza, Webster, and Porter, only one player this year (Ariza) has shown his fangs.

Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)


DC Council Top Aide


Drew Gooden, again?

At first glance of the box score, Gooden is once again a good candidate for the Wizards’ top helper. In 19 minutes off the bench, he made five of his eight shots, scored 11 points, and picked up 11 rebounds. And while it’s easy to seethe from 30,000 feet over a veteran has-been coming in to save the day in spite of him also being representative of failures in Washington’s “draft and develop (and trade)” plan, the fact is that Gooden is here now and he’s helping—a lot.

He’s packed some direly-needed scoring punch both down low and on the perimeter—5-for-12 on 3s through 12 games, Gooden is just 12 made-3s from breaking a career high for a season and is magic-elixir-ing a better percentage from deep than anyone has ever fathomed. That Gooden is also hustling for rebounds, doing dirty work, being the veteran who finds himself in the right places is a beautiful thing. There are still too many slip-ups on defense for comfort (Wall seemed to get visibly pissed at Gooden for being part of giving up a transition dunk to Robert Sacre), but that’s to be expected—a defender Gooden never was—and he’s still better on defense, for the most part, than either Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin.

All of that said, the Top Aide goes in a different direction: Andre Miller. After negligible performances in losses against Sacramento and Portland (33 total minutes, four points, 1-for-7 FGs, six assists, four turnovers, minus-12 total), Miller bounced back against the Lakers, scoring eight points, making all three of this shots, and finished plus-9 in plus/minus. No, not going to ‘wow’ you, especially in that Miller was over-shadowed by Steve Nash’s return to the court for Los Angeles, but still appreciatively better than Eric Maynor, who after being waived by the 76ers now sits at home on a couch like Miller and Gooden were doing just over a month ago.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


DC Council Session

That Session Was … A Bad Win.

I know, I tweeted that the Lakers win was a “good win,” especially because its stopped a trail of blood from Sacramento to Portland and down to L.A. On Friday evening, the power in my apartment building was out (all of Saturday, too), so the second half of the Lakers game was viewed at a local bar. And maybe that made the win seem a little better, despite a semi-embarrassing pass-to-dunk display by Steve Nash to fellow Canadian Robert Sacre over and over again. But when I re-watched the entire game, the Wizards play in beating the Lakers looked just almost as bad as it did in losses against the Kings, Blazers (and later Nuggets).

The Lakers rolled out the red carpet for a win, playing terrible, non-communicative transition defense. The Wizards thusly got some fastbreak buckets and hit some open 3s, while Pau Gasol looked completely checked out and Nick Young fired shots like his house was getting robbed. It was an elementary formula for a Washington victory. Except that the Wizards got beat on simple back cuts left and right, John Wall took two superstar shot jacks for every one regular shot, Trevor Ariza often over-dribbled, and Marcin Gortat was missing enough bunnies to make enough rabbit fricassee to feed the D.C. homeless for weeks. This so-called victory was not a good look for the Wiz Kids (and Vets) by most means.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)



DC Council Mayor

A critique of Randy Wittman’s offense must also include what John Wall wants to do with it. How much is Wall freelancing, how much is he given the opportunity to freelance, and how much must Wittman bite his tongue sometimes when Wall jacks to his chagrin, knowing all the other winning positives Wall brings to the court (while also knowing that one or two selfish possessions from Wall could lose the game).

Player-coach relationships are precarious—and there are certainly no overt signs of a degradation of Wittman and Wall’s—but if losing is a funk, everyone eventually starts to smell each other, and it’s not a scent that brings people together.

Is Wittman’s offense really lacking creativity, perhaps even holding the team back, as I’ve heard from several league-wide opinions that I respect? The Wizards have talent, talent enough to shoot an eFG% of .503, tied with the Portland Trail Blazers for 11th best in the NBA. But in terms of Offensive Rating (OffRtg — points scored per 100 possessions), Washington’s 105.7 places them near the bottom third of the league (ranked 19th). The Wizards also play at a pace (93.6 — an estimate of possessions per 48 minutes) that’s ranked 17th, slower than the Dallas Mavericks, slower than the Atlanta Hawks, and slower than the San Antonio Spurs. The icing: Washington has a free throw to field goal attempted rate of .184, which is tied for worst in the NBA with the New York Knicks.

Ultimately, regardless of what Wall is deciding on his own, the issues and the analytical bullshit points to a failing Randy Wittman offense, which could be a greater indictment of his tenure with the Wizards than preening for another master motivator with experience (i.e., George Karl, Wiz fans).

Worth noting: After putting up team OffRtg numbers of 100.4 in November, 103.5 in December, and 99.6 in January, the Wizards have achieved 106.9 in February and 106.6 through games so far in March. But that high March number still only ranks 16th-best in the league for the month.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)



Swaggy P vs. Drizzle.



End Swaggy.


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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.