D.C. Council 72: Wizards 91 vs Pacers 78: Wall Races and Rips the Pacer Heartland | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

D.C. Council 72: Wizards 91 vs Pacers 78: Wall Races and Rips the Pacer Heartland

Updated: March 29, 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. 72: Wizards vs Pacers, featuring Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20) and Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) from the Verizon Center, Chinatown.
Stats probably via the normal places, Basketball-Reference.com and NBA.com/stats.

Washington Wizards 91 vs Indiana Pacers 78
[box score]


#Wizards, #Pacers, #Basketball, #America

[National Anthem, Wizards vs Pacers, Verizon Center -- via instagram.com/truthaboutit]

[National Anthem, Wizards vs Pacers, Verizon Center — via instagram.com/truthaboutit]

Start fast, start strong.



Stat(s) of the Game.

David West is the heart of the team, and Roy Hibbert is the defensive anchor, but the nightly fate of the Indiana Pacers lies in the hands of two players: All-Star Paul George and arguably the NBA’s most-improved player, Lance Stephenson. George was coming off a good game against the Miami Heat (23 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and this dunk over LeBron James), and Stephenson had something to prove against the Wizards after getting prematurely ejected against the Heat with a little over five minutes left in the game. They both came up woefully short against the Wizards.

George scored 19 points and had nine rebounds, but he shot 6-for-22, and had five turnovers. Lance Stephenson had 13 points and tied his career-high with 14 rebounds. But he started 0-for-9 from the field and shot just 3-of-13 for the game. The Pacers as a team shot 35 percent, but the without the anvils of Stephenson and George, that percentage would have been 43-percent.

Thirteen of the Pacers’ 21 losses have come by 10 or more points. When Associated Press and ComcastSportsNet writer Rich Dubroff asked about this stat, Coach Frank Vogel was curt and dismissive: “That’s a random stat.”

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)


DC Council Key Legislature

The Runs.

Run #1, 15-2 WAS

Washington went on a 15-2 run early in the second quarter, giving the Wizards a 41-25 lead. Evan Turner and Lance Stephenson shot-jacked their way to a combined 0-for-6, three misses each. Meanwhile, Uncle Al took them behind the shed with 10 points, 4-for-6 FGs in the stretch—from outrunning Luis Scola & Co. to catch and finish a sweet transition pass from Andre Miller, from boxing out David West for the offensive board and finish, from a right corner 3-pointer.

Run #2, IND

Indiana immediately responded with a 12-0 run of their own, getting within four of the Wizards at 37-41. The Pacers knuckled down on defense, better anticipated some pick-and-roll attempts between John Wall and Marcin Gortat, and were led by horses West (4 points) and Paul George (6 points). Martell Webster ended the pain with a 3-pointer with 18 seconds left in the half, 44-37 Wizards.

Run #3, 13-2 WAS

What the Wizards haven’t often done is come out focused in the third quarter. Against Indiana, they did, holding strong with that seven-point lead after a George finger roll, and-1, made it 61-54, Wizards. Washington then ended the third period on a 13-2 run. What the #WittmanJava? Trevor Ariza, who had 11 points in the quarter, put up seven points during the run—four free throws and one 3-pointer. His juices seemed to be flowing more than I’ve ever seen, as he passionately locked down George, who went 0-for-3 on FGs to close the third. Ariza even did things such as a ground-covering, single-dribble drive from the 3-point line and dump off to Gortat for the short baby hook. #ArizaBruh in a groove.

Run #4, 14-4 IND

It took Indiana just over five minutes to trim in half the 20-point, 80-60 lead that Washington had built. Uh ohs with 4:30 left in the fourth quarter. George Hill and Roy Hibbert pulled some weight during Indiana’s 14-4 run (four points each), but mostly Lance Stephenson had awoken from his slumber, scoring six points with four rebounds and two assists. Meanwhile, Bradley Beal couldn’t get anything going on drives and John Wall was taking “unusual shots”—at least Steve Buckhantz called one mid-lane floater that on the television broadcast.

Run #5, 7-0 WAS

The last, game-sealing 7-0 run: Keep reading.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


DC Council Chair

John Wall, the real deal superstar?

I can’t wait to see him in a close playoff game. Not all clutch time, ice-water vein analysis needs to be defined within the window of a two- or one-possession game with less than 90, 60, 30 seconds left.

When the best, albeit struggling but still certainly capable, team in the Eastern Conference is encroaching within 10 points with plenty of time left is when a clutch response is just as needed as any other time.

Wall responded.

Ariza set a helluva pick, first on Lance Stephenson for a cutting Bradley Beal, and then he immediately faced the opposite direction to set a ball screen for Wall, who glided past George Hill and to the hoop for a finger roll, opening a 12-point Wizards lead. Then Wall beautifully created space and found Gorat for a monster, floating, Polish Hammer jam. Then Wall drained a 3-pointer and stared daggers into the hearts of his opponents and fans alike.

Washington, 7-0 run. Good night, Indiana.

Did I mention that I can’t wait to see Wall during moments like this in the playoffs?

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


DC Council Vetoed Participation

We’ll spare vetoing Trevor Booker. He made all three of his shots and grabbed four rebounds in just under 20 minutes, which I guess is OK. I’m just not sure he has the size to play against the Pacers. And the other veterans—Gooden and Harrington—are better anyway.

Bradley Beal? Sure, veto his 2-for-13 shooting performance, 1-for-3 from the 3-point line, and 2-for-2 on free throws.

His development has been frustrating a bit. I get it.

The perspective is that he’s young (yes, we’ve heard this enough); that he’s a knock-down shooter and he will probably get better; and that, although improved, his tenderfoot ball-handling ability (and lack of confidence in driving) sometimes results in a couple less-than-ideal midrange attempts per game. It will get better.

That said, the Wizards are trying to win, and Beal must take less contested jumpers, find better balance (he floated on several misses against Indiana), and most importantly, find a better, tougher attitude when the chips are down. He’s getting there, but not quite yet.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


DC Council Top Aide

Al Harrington.

Before the game, Kyle and I were discussing how surprised we were at Al Harrington’s spryness and his ability to get his shot off in the lane. We both agreed that his skillset would especially come in handy during the playoffs. Little did we realize that he would give us a preview in the playoff type atmosphere of the Pacers-Wizards game.

In the second quarter, Harrington led all scorers with 10 points on 4-for-7 shooting as the Wizards stretched their lead from three to seven points. But it wasn’t just that he scored 10 points, it was the efficiciency and speed with which he did it. The Wizards were leading, 26-23, when Harrington went on a 10-0 run against the Pacers. He hit a fade-away jumper, he made a driving lay-up via a pinpoint pass from Andre Miller, he got to the line, and he hit a 3-pointer to cap it off. There weren’t a lot of wasted motion or fancy dribbles, just efficient scoring.

Harrington only scored two more points over the remainder of the game, but frankly that was irrelevant. His job was to help the Wizards stretch the lead while the starters (except for Beal) were on the bench and that’s exactly what he did.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)


DC Council Session

That session was … Worthy of a Star.

With 9:57 left in the fourth quarter, the Wizards led the Pacers 80-60, Coach Frank Vogel decided to sub his starters back in the game. The Pacers, led by Lance Stephenson (8 points) and George Hill (4 points) went on a 14-4 run to cut the Wizards’ lead to 10 points. The Verizon Center was filled nervous energy and it appeared as if the Wizards were well on their way to giving the game away. Then John Wall stepped in and asserted himself.

First, he drove the lane for layup, then he found Marcin Gortat for any easy dunk to extend the lead to 14. After an Ariza miss, Wall hit a 3-point shot off a jump ball to extend the lead to 17 points. In just 1:31, the Wizards went from almost squandering a lead to forcing Frank Vogel to wave the white flag and remove his starters from the game.

Wall didn’t have the best shooting night (9-for-21 and just 4-for-12 in the second half) but unlike the Pacers key players, he found that other gear, and won the game for the Wizards.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)


DC Council Mayor

At first I thought Randy Wittman said that the Wizards only watched the embarrassing parts from the Suns game on Wednesday during their off day on Thursday. I heard wrong. Need to either get my ears or presumed negativity checked.

No, after losing to the Suns, Randy Wittman focused on the positive with his team. They watched their good play against the Suns, the comeback, and said, ‘How do we replicate that?’

Bobby Knight’s coaching with negativity this is not.

Below Wittman talks about all the positivity before his team went out and beat the Pacers.

Also: Film Don’t Lie.

True since the day film was invented.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)



The Other Side.

Frank Vogels Brief Post-Game Presser.


The late, great poet Christopher “Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace once said in his song “Kick In The Door”:

Now they’re on some money sh*t, successful out the blue.
Lightweight, fragilly (fragile), my 9 milly (millimeter) makes their (eye) whites shake.
That’s why my money’s never funny, and you’re still recouping, stupid

Now we don’t condone any type of violence here at Truth About It, but B.I.G.—in his own unique way—did have a valid point. Established acts or teams know how to conduct themselves in pressure situations, while teams who are still relatively new to feeling pressure have to sift through growing paints and fragile psyches.

The Miami Heat, despite their recent struggles which currently have them second in the Eastern Conference behind the Pacers, remain the favorite to win the title because they are battle and playoff tested. They’ve been to the NBA finals three consecutive years, and they have emerged victorious twice. Conversely, the Indiana Pacers pushed the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, and this season represents their first full season as legitimate title contenders—they’ve had mixed results. They are first in the Eastern Conference and at times they’ve shown the ability to be dominant on both ends of the floor. They physically dominated and frustrated the Heat on Wednesday, but they followed up that game with a lackluster effort in Washington. They shot just 35 percent from the floor, 15 percent from 3-point range, they committed 17 turnovers, and they were held under 80 points for the third time in four games after doing so just once in their first 69 games.

In the locker room after the game, the Pacers looked crestfallen as if they’d just lost the NBA finals, and their team leaders had some very pointed comments about their offense and their overall lethargy against the Wizards:

“We’re not very productive, we feel like we can play this individualized brand of basketball and it doesn’t work. The way Washington moved the ball had us on our heels, and I thought in the third quarter, we took too many tough shots. We’re at the point where we can’t get up for the Miamis, get up for the Chicago Bulls and then come out and lay donuts against the Wizards and these other teams. I just don’t know if we’re handling success and being out front the right way. We had 10 to 15 possessions where we don’t make a single pass, and we had nine guys on the floor watching one guy.” —David West

“Marcin Gortat is probably defensive player of the year it seems. You could not get anything. He was just excellent at the rim for whatever reason. … It is frustrating, because we know what to do. We know who we are, we know how much we put in to get to where we are at. We are just not taking care of the opportunity.” —Paul George

“We’re tired of talking about it and we’ve been in this rut for a month. I don’t know. You take one step forward and three steps back. One win, then we play like this. I don’t have a sound bite for you… We’re just not moving the ball and getting everybody involved. I mean, you could rehearse stuff for the past month and it’ll tell you what our problems are.” —Roy Hibbert

It is worth noting that in their first game since losing to the Pacers on Wednesday, the Miami Heat beat up on the Detroit Pistons 110-78 without Ray Allen, Greg Oden and Dwyane Wade. LeBron messed around and had a triple-double.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)


The End.

Popeye Jones and Roy Hibbert.

[Popeye Jones and Roy Hibbert -- via instagram.com/truthaboutit]

[Popeye Jones and Roy Hibbert — via instagram.com/truthaboutit]


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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.