D.C. Council 63: Wizards 90 at Heat 99: Wall, Wittman & Co. Sandbagged in South Beach | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

D.C. Council 63: Wizards 90 at Heat 99: Wall, Wittman & Co. Sandbagged in South Beach

Updated: March 11, 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. 63: Wizards at Heat featuring Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20) and John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend) from the District.

Washington Wizards 90 at Miami Heat 99
[box score]


Marcin P. Ewing.



Stat(s) of the Game.

That second half…

Conventional wisdom says that if LeBron’s second half numbers are four points (2-for-5 from the field), three assists, and two fouls in 17 minutes of play, then this 2013-14 version of the Wizards should be able to parlay that into a victory—even on the road. But the Wizards failed to capitalize on LeBron’s fourth off-night (even if LeBron did score 10 straight points during a dominating run in the second quarter), in as many games by committing 12 second-half turnovers. They also allowed Dwyane Wade, who was playing just his second back-to-back game in 2014, and Chris Bosh to combine for 28 points in the second half and 20 in the decisive fourth quarter. To make matters worse, the Wizards had just two fast break points the entire second half (as did the Heat).

It is worth noting that in that same second half, All-Star John Wall was scoreless in 16 minutes of play with five assists, four turnovers, and no trips to the foul line.

 —Rashad Mobley (@rashad20)


DC Council Key Legislature

The gears were turning in the Wizards war machine, but they weren’t getting anywhere, and quickly found themselves down double-digits. They missed their first six shots of the game, made their next two, then missed eight of their next 10. The Heat meanwhile were carried by their three stars to a great start, with contributions from Birdman, Ray Allen and Shane Battier. Miami was up eight points at the end of the first quarter.

Otto Porter made an early, surprise appearance. In his three minutes with the second unit he scored two points on a midrange J and learned one critical lesson: when guarding Ray Allen, you cannot get caught up on a screen set by Norris Cole. The second quarter opened with a barrage of paint points from Wade on one end and a Drew Gooden takeover on the other. Gooden scored seven of the Wizards’ first 11 points in the quarter, including a 3 from the top of the arc, and then Marcin Gortat checked in and immediately hit a hook shot to cut the Heat lead to two, 38-40. But then LeBron James happened. He scored 10 straight points in five different ways, and Bosh hit a 3 to neutralize baskets from John Wall, Bradley Beal (who once tried, and failed, to score by posting up Norris Cole) and Martell Webster.

At halftime, the Heat lead was still eight.

The Wizards, to the surprise of many, won the third quarter 28-20. Gortat led all players with 10 points and seven rebounds (as well as a fundamentally sound pivot and dish to Ariza for a 3 that stretched the lead to four points). Martell Webster claimed another four-point play. LeBron and Wade combined for four points in the third round, after racking up 26 in the first half.

The score was knotted at 73 after three quarters. It was anybody’s game……At least it felt that way for a moment. Andre Miller posting up and Drew Gooden filling space managed give the Wiz another lead, 84-83, with about six minutes to play. And then: disaster. Wade and Bosh scored five straight points, together keeping one possession alive by grabbing three consecutive offensive rebounds. Bosh then hit a 3 from the corner.

Maybe that moment was too big for the Wizards, who saw their chance at a second win over the Heat slip away like sand through so many fingers on South Beach. Bosh’s 3 made it 91-84 with 4:25 to play. Gortat checked in, finally, but failed to score a point the rest of the way. Wall and Al Harrington didn’t score in the fourth quarter either. Nor did Trevor Ariza. Beal only settled for one midrange jumper, but went 1-for-6 from the field anyway. No Wizard attempted a free throw.

It came down to execution. The Wizards didn’t have the minerals on either end. Twelve Wizards turnovers (six in the fourth quarter alone) led to 16 Heat points in the second half, and Wade and Bosh ended up out-scoring the Wizards in the final frame, 20-17.

John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)



DC Council Chair

Marcin Gortat. The last time the Wizards took on the Heat, Gortat put up a modest 12 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks. Nene took on the heavy lifting with 19 points, nine rebounds, two blocks, and two steals en route to a Wizards’ blowout victory. On Monday night, Gortat had to face the mighty Heat without his usual front court mate, but demonstrated in the opening quarter that he was up to the challenge (perhaps Steven Seagal deserves the assist).

Despite struggling mightily from the field in the first quarter (1-for-7) and missing a maddening amount of layups and hook shots within 10 feet, Gortat dominated the boards with 10 rebounds—seven of those rebounds were offensive—which gave Gortat the unique circumstance of helping his team get second-chance points (10) while holding the Heat to none in the opening period.

In the pivotal third quarter when the Wizards fell behind by as many as 12 points, before eventually taking a four-point lead of their own, Gortat discovered his shooting touch (10 points on 5-for-6 shooting) to go along with his beastly rebounding (seven in the third quarter).

He finished with 14 points (he went 6-for-8 from the field after the dreadful start) and 18 rebounds (nine offensive and nine defensive). Gorat may have had an even greater impact on the game if Coach Randy Wittman hadn’t inexplicably kept him on the bench for the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter. By the time Gortat re-entered the game, the Heat were up seven and had finally seized control.

—Rashad Mobley (@rashad20)



DC Council Vetoed Participation

John Wall gets a pass, despite having more second-half turnovers (4) than the Miami Heat (3), and shooting just 2-for-8 from the field… C’mon, where would the Wizards be without him (running an offense that wouldn’t work without jump passes from the All-Star)? He tied LeBron with a game-high 8 assists and led all players in secondary assists (4).

No, it’s Trevor Ariza who gets slapped with a veto. He started 0-for-3 from the field and finished with six points on 11 shots. Eight of his 11 attempts were wide-open, uncontested, but he made just one of those shots (14.3%) and went 1-for-7 from 3-point land.

That line gets even uglier when you factor in five turnovers and four fouls. Not chill, bruh.

John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)


DC Council Top Aide

Typically when the Wizards’ second unit enters the game, Bradley Beal takes charge in the scoring department, while Martell Webster and whomever else wants to lend a hot hand provide support. The last two games, Gooden has seamlessly stepped in and seized a leading role by mixing in his usual feisty post presence with a surprisingly effective touch from the outside. He sparked an early second-quarter Wizards run with seven points, and he was just as integral in the fourth quarter when the Wizards went on a 10-4 run to take an 84-83 lead.

His only misstep came with 4:56 left in the game when he allowed his shot at the rim to be blocked by Dwyane Wade—the Wizards trailed by just four points. Still, any contribution from a man on his second 10-day contract is still a bonus, or “house money” as Gooden said after the game. Kevin Seraphin may have trouble getting back on the court when he’s healthy.

Rashad Mobley (@rashad20)



DC Council Session

That session was … extremely disappointing.

Heart was one of the reasons the Bulls’ victory over the Heat on Sunday was so entertaining. The Heat certainly played with intensity and urgency, but the Bulls—led by yeomam’s efforts from Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler—wanted it more and made it their business to show Miami exactly “what it was,” as Jordan Crawford used to say. Even ABC/ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy recognized the focus from Bulls when he said, “The Bulls will not beat themselves, they will make you beat them.” The Heat couldn’t beat the Bulls that day.

The Heat are always a formidable opponent, but they were sloppy Monday night against the Wizards. LeBron was not consistently dominant, the Heat struggled on the offensive and defensive boards, and up until the last five minutes of the game, their defense was nowhere near as smothering as usual. But the Wizards did not come close to resembling the team that entered Miami winning five straight road games and eight of the last nine overall. Trevor Ariza lost his shooting touch, John Wall could not get to (or hit) the rim and settled for jumpers, and the Wizards as a team could only muster nine fast break points.

A year ago, a loss like this would represent a building block and the words “moral victory” would be reluctantly tossed around the locker room and post-game articles. But last night’s loss was disappointing because the Wizards were the Anti-Bulls. They beat themselves, they did not give their best effort against the best team in the NBA, and they frankly let a winnable game slip away.

Joakim Noah and Tom Thibodeau saw to it that the Bulls were ready to beat Miami. John Wall and Randy Wittman fell short this time.

  —Rashad Mobley (@rashad20)


DC Council Mayor


It’s not Wittman’s fault his guys didn’t make shots (the selection was generally OK).

“We missed point-blank layups and offensive rebounds,” the coach said afterward. “At one time we had 14 more shots in the first seven or eight minutes of the game and we didn’t convert. Those are the times that you really got to get going.”

Do note that the Wizards grabbed 12 more offensive rebounds than the Heat and won the battle of the boards 50-33. … Forty percent shooting from the field hurts, any way you slice it.

Giving Martell Webster extra run was a solid move: 17 points as a spark off the bench (defense could have been better). Throwing Otto Porter to the wolves was not.

But Wittman’s biggest mistake, aside from losing his men in panic (resulting in a five-second inbounds violation after a timeout), was putting too much faith in Drew Gooden, long 2 aficionado, to hold down the fort with the game in the balance. The Polish Machine, as a result, was kept glued to the bench as the Heat starters began to put together a decisive 12-0 run in the fourth quarter.

Perhaps Gortat, who’d been disruptive on the defensive end and dominant on the boards (grabbed 18 on 20 chances, tying a career-high), could have helped extinguish the fire.

 —John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)


 Closing Vines.

Gortat Stuffs.


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John Converse Townsend
Reporter / Writer / Co-Editor at TAI
John has been part of the editorial team at TAI since 2010. He likes: pocket passes, chase-down blocks, 3-pointers. He dislikes: typos, turnovers, midrange jump shots.