Playoffs D.C. Council Game 6: Wizards 80 vs Pacers 93: Downed But Not Without a Fight and a Future | Truth About It.net

Playoffs D.C. Council Game 6: Wizards 80 vs Pacers 93: Downed But Not Without a Fight and a Future

By
Updated: May 17, 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. NBA Playoffs 2014, Round 2, Game No. 6: Wizards vs Pacers; contributors: Rashad Mobley and Kyle Weidie from the Verizon Center, and Dan Diamond from the District.

Washington Wizards 80 vs Indiana Pacers 93
[box score]


Jump to Council Player Ratings


 

Coping.

[via @recordANDradio]

[via @recordANDradio]

[via instagram.com/truthaboutit]

[via instagram.com/truthaboutit]

[via instagram.com/truthaboutit]

[via instagram.com/truthaboutit]

NUMBERS.

{via ESPN Stats & Info}

#1. Lance Stephenson scored 14 points on drives and transition plays in Game 6 (7-9 FGs) after struggling on such plays in the first five games (2-16 FGs).

#2. The Pacers held the Wizards to 26 percent shooting on contested jump shots in their four wins, including 19 percent in Game 6 (5-27). For the series, the Wizards shot 11-for-50 (22%) when George Hill, Roy Hibbert or Lance Stephenson contested a shot.


 

DC Council Key Legislature

The defining moment wasn’t a Brad Beal 3, or a David West jumper, or even a John Wall turnover. Because the defining moment happened last week.

The Wizards had pushed Indiana to the precipice in Game 2—with a rattled Pacers team about to fall behind 0-2 in the series and probably out of the playoffs entirely.

Instead, the game slipped away from Washington, and the next one … well, we’ll never talk about again … and Game 4 was another close loss, until the Wizards quickly found themselves staring at an unlikely scenario. Three straight must-win games, two on the road.

Conor Dirks said the Wizards wouldn’t go down without a fight. And the team proved him right, as Washington steadily chipped away at the Pacers’ lead last night, with mid-range jumpers and drives and a few solid defensive stops.

But barring a miracle, the series was lost once Washington let the Pacers creep back and grab a two-game lead. Only about three percent of teams have rallied from a 3-1 deficit in a best-of-seven series. By Game 6, the odds were never in D.C.’s favor.

—Dan Diamond (@ddiamond)


 

DC Council Chair

This is a tough one. As was the case many times this season, because of the relatively balanced attack of Washington, it’s hard to peg which player was most key in the Game 6 loss. Marcin Gortat picked up where he left off in Game 5. Eight of his 19 points came in the first quarter as the Wizards clawed and scratched to keep up with an Indiana team they could not stop defensively. Gortat is to blame for a portion of that, but more so, Washington’s perimeter players didn’t look like they expected Indiana to be so aggressive with dribble drives. Lance Stephenson took it to Beal from the get-go, scoring nine of his 17 points in the first quarter.

Facing a 12-point deficit entering the third quarter, Wiz Kid foundations John Wall and Bradley Beal led the comeback charge. Washington outscored Indiana by four points in the period—Wall and Beal combined for eight points, four rebounds, five assists, and one turnover.

It was really the energizing 7.5-minute stretch from four minutes remaining in the third quarter to 8:30 remaining in the fourth when the Wizards took the lead on a Beal 3, after he’d ripped a rebound from Roy Hibbert’s hands. During that run, Washington outscored Indiana 19-6, and seven of those were fastbreak points after the Wizards scored zero such points in the first half.

The comeback is the Council Chair. When it looked like Indiana’s grinding defense and more physical presence on offense was going to keep the Wizards floored, they fought back to give D.C. fans one last reason to cheer. Without that comeback, there likely isn’t much of a “Let’s go Wizards” chant and cheerful, ‘Good job, good effort’ feeling toward the end of the night from the remaining Verizon Center faithful. The next day discussion would focus on how the Wizards didn’t show up at all on their home floor in Game 6. The taste of losing would be more sour. Instead, they were resilient … just not resilient enough to combat the wet strings from David West’s jumper and the resulting spring in his step. And that’s OK. One day Wall and Beal will be the veterans with the springy step that’s unleashed on unsuspecting playoff first-timers. One day.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


 

DC Council Vetoed Participation

Trevor Ariza was a monster in these playoffs. He just wasn’t one Thursday night.

The enigmatic swingman had his worst offensive game of the postseason on an evening when the Wizards desperately needed his scoring. Particularly damaging: That Ariza missed several open 3s, especially in crucial moments in the second half that stifled momentum. Whether by accident or design, he took just five shots overall and made just one.

Wherever Ariza ends up next year, the swingman’s big season endeared him to Wizards fans after an inconsistent debut in 2012-13. But this couldn’t have been the way he wanted to go out.

—Dan Diamond (@ddiamond)


 

DC Council Top Aide

Bradley Beal. The first half of the Wizards’ Thursday night loss to the Pacers felt more like a regular season game in the middle of January than an elimination Game 6 in May. The Wizards were lethargic on both ends of the floor and unable to take the lead, and the Pacers were doing just enough to keep them at bay. Despite the incessant pleas of the Verizon Center hype man to stand up, turn up, and do every other derivative involving the word “up,” the crowd simply was not having it.

Beal, who did not exactly light it up offensively (7-of-19 from the field with 16 points) or defensively (Lance Stephenson punished him in the post and the perimeter), worked his way into a bit of a groove at the start of the fourth quarter, which finally got the crowd up and out of their seats. First he stole the ball from Evan Turner and found John Wall for any easy layup that cut the Pacers’ lead to four. Then, after a Luis Scola layup pushed the lead back up to six, Beal hit a 20-footer to cut the lead back to four. John Wall next hit an impossible running bank shot over Paul George to cut the lead to two points, and then Beal pulled off the best Wizards highlight of the entire night:

After ripping a defensive rebound away from Roy Hibbert, Beal went right down the court, hesitated ever-so-slightly to get his bearings, and then drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key. The crowd went wild, Beal started to strut back up the court, and Wizards assistant coach Sam Cassell got up out of his seat, and walked all the way down to the end of the bench in celebration. It was easily the biggest shot of the game for Washington, but won’t get the storybook ending it deserved. Beal didn’t score again and the hot hand of David West kept the Wizards from being victorious. But if that run is going to be the Council Chair, then Beal was certainly its x-factor.

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)

 


 

DC Council Session

That Session Was … All ‘Bout The Will of Mr. West

The first half of the fourth quarter was about the Wizards’ comeback, capped off by Beal’s clutch 28-footer from the top of the key. The second half of the quarter was about the Wizards faltering and West forcefully placing his foot on their collective necks as if a sensei was yelling out, “Finish him!”

After the Wizards went up 74-73, the Pacers went on a 20-6 run to end the game and West scored eight of those points. They weren’t on layups, dunks, free-throws, or up-and-unders in the post, but tough mid-range jumpers from 18-to-21 feet. At one point, he shot a jumper off of one leg and faded backwards à la Dirk Nowitzki, and even that went through the hoop. He seemingly could not miss and his teammates fed off of him, while the Wizards were helpless and unable to muster a defense. Said Pacers’ Coach Frank Vogel about West’s play during that run:

“That’s all David West. He settled us down at that point, he made a couple buckets. Lance made a couple of buckets right after that, but David just has a way of, like I said, settling our young guys down and riding the waves he’s creating in a game like this with the emotion so high, and the runs so dramatic. We’re lucky to have David West.”

Said David West:

“I wanted this game to be on my shoulders. If we lost, I wanted it to be on me.”

At various points during the six-game series, Beal, Wall, Gortat, and Ariza took turns putting the Wizards on their backs, and refusing to see their team lose. But in the last eight minutes of the game with the season on the line, the entire Wizards starting five tried and failed to do their best David West mid-range impression, while the real Mr. West killed them softly from the area. Ironic don’t you think?

—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)


 

DC Council Mayor

Randy Wittman was still visibly emotional by the time he got to his post-game press conference. 

We’ll just let him speak.

 

 

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


 

DC Council Players

John Wall

2 out of 5 stars

44 mins | minus-11 | 12 pts | 5-16 FGs | 0-4 3Ps | 2-2 FTs | 5 rebs | 9 asts | 2 stls | 5 TOs

John Wall wasn’t going out like that. He tried his hardest in transition but could not find the basket, or the respect. He finished 3-for-7 in shots at the rim (all in the second half) yet only attempted two free throws (made both). Otherwise, he was just a Plain Jane John Wall. He missed all of his 3-point attempts, grabbed some boards, swiped some steals, and turned the ball over five times to nine assists. And all and all, not that spectacular of a playoffs for Wall. Although, he did drive the bus to a 51-win season. That’s something.

He’ll turn 24 in September and we know he’s a very good player. Armed with that knowledge, watching Wall try to make it to the next level will be different, better. But for now the critics can be right. After all, they’ve done wonders for Wall before. —K. Weidie

Bradley Beal

2.5 out of 5 stars

43 mins | minus-11 | 16 pts | 7-19 FGs | 2-6 3Ps | 0-0 FTs | 3 rebs | 4 asts | 2 TOs | 2 stls

The great: He made one of the most exciting shots of the season, a fourth quarter 3-pointer to give the Wizards the briefest of leads. The good: He showed fearlessness in flashing to the hoop, reinforcing Kyle’s recent post that Beal has taken a step forward in these playoffs. The bad: Bao Bao’s drives mostly resulted in bupkis, with an inability to score around Hibbert and zero free throws for all his troubles. D. Diamond

Trevor Ariza

1 out of 5 stars

36 minutes | minus-24 | 6 points | 1-5 FGs | 0-3 3Ps | | 4-4- FTs | 7 Rebs | 1 ast | 1 blk

When Ariza was outscoring and outrebounding Paul George earlier in this series, it legitimately felt like the Wizards were going to win this series. Even Chris Webber was heaping lofty praise on Ariza and commenting on how good of a two-way player Ariza had blossomed into. Last night in the series-clinching game, Ariza wasn’t scoring, he got in early foul trouble, and he had a key turnover during that ill-fated two-point, eight minute stretch for the Wizards. He had a great season, and he was big in these two playoff series, but in the biggest moments, he came up woefully short —R. Mobley

Nene

3 out of 5 stars

31 mins | minus-22 | 15 pts | 7-12 FGs | 1-2 FTs | 6 rebs | 2 asts | 3 PFs

Like Wall, Nene was an attacker on Thursday. Seven of his 12 attempts (58%) came within five feet of the basket. During the playoffs in total, only 40.6 percent of his attempts came from that area. Unfortunately, the increased aggressiveness, like Wall’s, didn’t win Nene any favor with the referees. Again and again he was pounded inside the paint but he only attempted two free throws. Game 6 also continued to provide evidence that Nene and Gortat just don’t always mesh well together—the Wizards finished minus-16 in the 27 minutes Nene and Gortat played together, plus-7 in the 12 minutes Gortat and Drew Gooden played together. On offense especially, and perhaps more so against good interior defensive teams, Nene and Gortat just get in each other’s way. For another day, perhaps. But that brings us to David West. I wouldn’t necessarily blame Nene for West’s big night—20 of his 29 points came on 10-for-14 shooting from the mid-range. West hit some really toughly contested shots, but also, after Indiana found success on pick-and-roll action in the first half, the Wizards seemed to make an adjustment to hedge and help off West more, challenging him to beat them from the mid-range (instead of Paul George or Roy Hibbert action). Guess you have to live with that.

So even though he’s under contract for two more seasons, we really don’t know what the future holds for Nene. At least he finished the season relatively healthy. Otherwise, one can only assume that plans for #NeneHands are now in his god’s hands.  —K. Weidie

Marcin Gortat

4 out of 5 stars

41 mins | minus-7 | 19 pts | 7-12 FGs | 0-0 3Ps | 5-6 FTs | 6 rebs | 1 ast | 1 TO

He didn’t inspire any Moses Malone comparisons tonight, but Gortat followed up his Game 5 outburst with another solid performance—perhaps his last in a Washington uniform. The Polish Hammer led the Wizards on the offensive end with 19 points, contributing useful screens (and re-screens) to free Wall and the others. However, the big man was less effective on defense in Game 6, with Hibbert and West doing a better job of muscling him inside. D. Diamond

Drew Gooden

2.5 out of 5 stars

14 mins | plus-5 | 4 pts | 1-4 FGs | 2-2 FTs | 4 rebs (2 off.) | 3 PFs

Wondering if Trevor Booker should have been playing over Drew Gooden at times is understandable. But you also can’t deny the impact that Gooden, a fair 3-to-4 inches taller than Booker, had on the boards in the playoffs, especially against Indiana. In the 2014 postseason so far, Gooden is third in offensive rebounding percentage (15.8%) amongst players who have played 100 or more minutes. Samuel Dalembert ranks first (18.4%) and, of course, Andray Blatche ranks second (17.5%). Among any of the Wizards vets you wonder if Gooden, who will turn 33 prior to next season, has the best chance of sticking around (of course, Andre Miller is actually under contract). But Gooden is younger than Pau Gasol, Al Harrington, and David West; showed an effective jumper; and is still more than capable on the boards. And remember, the Milwaukee Bucks, who amnestied Gooden in 2013, are still slated to pay him $6.7 next season (minus whatever the Wizards would pay him). He could yet again be an excellent, cost-effective option at the vet’s minimum. —K. Weidie

Martell Webster

0.5 out of 5 stars

16 minutes | minus-11 | 4 points | 1-4 FGs | 0-2 3Ps | 2-4 FTs| 4 rebs

Trevor Ariza’s performance was disappointing because he showed flashes of brilliance early in the series, but was unable to sustain it. Martell Webster’s performance was more of the same disappointment he’s demonstrated the entire season. If it turns out he’s injured and needs Tommy John surgery like seemingly every pitcher in MLB right now, his awful performances against both the Bulls and the Pacers will make sense. If not, it will continue to be baffling as to why he could never hit an open 3-pointer from the corner, or the top of the key, or anywhere else. Webster was 6-for-26 on 3s throughout the playoffs (23.1%) and 3-for-8 from the corners. When Ariza doesn’t have it, Webster is supposed to provide a spark—four points in 16 minutes isn’t that. —R. Mobley

Al Harrington

0 out of 5 stars

8 minutes | 0 points | 0-2 FGs | 0-2 3Ps | 5 rebs

Earlier in the series, there were bloggers (present company included) who openly lobbied for more playing time for Harrington. He’s a veteran, he can score in bunches, and players like that typically reach that proverbial next level in the NBA’s second season (see Fisher, Derek). Harrington scored 11 points in 23 minutes in Game 4, but didn’t come close to duplicating that in any other game. Coach Wittman sent Harrington in with 1:55 left in Game 6 with the Wizards down 11 points, but Harrington had no more magic. Harrington, much like Kevin Garnett, played like a man with ample mileage and no more to give. —R. Mobley

Ted Leonsis

5 out of 5 stars

48 mins | minus-13 | 0 pts | 0-0 FGs | One R-rated exclamation

Ted had biting, salty words for the refs after a questionable fourth-quarter foul call. (Based on his word choice, perhaps he thought the Wizards were still playing Chicago?) Congrats on the best season that the franchise has enjoyed in thirty-five years. —D. Diamond

 


 

Forward.

[Otto to the Future -- via instagram.com/truthaboutit]

[Otto to the Future -- via instagram.com/truthaboutit]