D.C. Council Preseason Game 1: Wizards-Bulls Tensions Renewed with Old-New Blood Pierce | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

D.C. Council Preseason Game 1: Wizards-Bulls Tensions Renewed with Old-New Blood Pierce

Updated: October 9, 2014

Truth About It.net’s D.C. Council: setting the scene, providing the analysis, evaluating players, and catching anything that you may have missed from the Washington Wizards. Preseason Game No. 1: Wizards at Bulls in Chicago, with a touch of coverage from Wednesday’s preseason game No. 2 versus the New Orleans Pelicans in Jacksonville, FL; contributors: Conor Dirks and Kyle Weidie from afar in the District.

Washington Wizards 85 at Chicago Bulls 81 [box score]

DC Council Session

That Session Was … a rusty bicycle on an unpaved road.

The wheels on Wittman’s Wizards team turned, and kept turning, even though moments lacking in incessant squeakiness were rare until Glen Rice (3-for-4 on 3-pointers) smoothed away the red with a little grease from his outside shot. Washington survived on scraps: mostly putbacks from Marcin Gortat and new acquisitions DeJuan Blair and Kris Humphries (Nene sat out to “rest”), along with the occasional made layup from a rapid-firing Bradley Beal (4-for-12 on Monday night). Jimmy Butler, victim of a well-executed and possibly moving screen (it was at least called as such) by Kevin Seraphin that acquainted Butler with the ceiling, was indefatigable in his pursuit of Beal. At one point, Beal stepped back and rose up for what could have been one of less than a handful of Washington 3-pointers, and Butler pushed the ball back at Beal with his palm, rather than just the traditional ply of his fingers.

Luckily, the ride was even less smooth for Chicago, who shot 33.8 percent from the floor, compared to Washington’s 41.1 percent. It was in some ways an extension of the playoff series between the two teams that ended Chicago’s season, the final verdict hanging on whether either team found a streaky shooter to help pull away, like Chicago’s Mike Dunleavy in Game 3, or Trevor Ariza in Game 4. Even the chippiness that so characterized that series returned: within three minutes, Paul Pierce fouled Jimmy Butler hard, then gave Joakim Noah a hilariously forceful poke in the dome when Noah pushed him; all of this occurring above and around the round, but woefully under-tall Tom Thibodeau. The Bulls stayed in the game with aggressive play from Nikola Mirotic, but good defense late in the last minute of the game by Kevin Seraphin on a driving Mirotic constructively sealed the win, ugly as it was, for the Wizards. Welcome back, good guys.

After beating the New Orleans Pelicans in Jacksonville, FL, over the radio on Monday night, your Wiz Kids are now a preseason 2-0.

—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)


Free could be a problem. The Wizards shot 21-for-33 (64%) from the line against the Bulls on Monday and fared slightly better against the Pelicans on Wednesday by shooting 21-for-29 (72%). The Wizards were 25th in the NBA last season in free throw percentage (73%).

And… Through two preseason games the Wizards have 33 assists to 43 turnovers. Not unexpected. Also, through two Wizards preseason games, Drew Gooden has seen zero minutes (last night, it was reported Gooden was out with a sore hamstring).

DC Council Chair

Marcin Gortat

vs. Chicago on Oct. 6:
26 mins | plus-2 | 13 pts | 5-9 FGs | 3-5 FTs | 10 rebs | 1 ast | 4 TOs | 4 PFs

Marcin Gortat didn’t get treated to a shot on the game’s very first offensive possession as he did so many times last season. No, for the first preseason game the Wiz ‘no longer’ Kids ran almost through a full offensive set that ended with a slightly fading Paul Pierce jumper from the left baseline, which he missed. But on the very next possession, Randy Wittman, and his team, knew where they wanted to go to find their tone: to Gortat on the left block against Pau Gasol. Gortat first investigated a two-man game with Bradley Beal, but then everyone got out of his way and the Polish Machine bounded into the lane, tossing up a running baby hook just inside the free throw line with the confidence of $60 million behind him. He made it and got fouled. He otherwise did the usual Gortat things — nicely contesting shots, sometimes getting beat, rebounding strong, and running the floor. He once beat Gasol down the court in a foot race, established position under the rim, and was the scoring outlet on a Beal drive. As evidenced by his four turnovers and four fouls in 26 minutes, Gortat’s trying to get reaquainted to the speed of NBA basketball.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

Gortat vs. New Orleans on Oct. 8:
24 mins | plus-4 | 8 pts | 3-6 FGs | 2-2 FTs | 6 rebs | 1 ast | 1 stl | 1 blk

DC Council Vetoed Participation

John Wall

vs. Chicago on Oct. 6:
28 mins | plus-1 | 8 pts | 1-7 FGs | 0-3 3Ps | 6-8 FTs | 3 rebs | 3 asts | 1 stl | 1 TO

Through two preseason games, we’re still not sure where John Wall is but know that there’s plenty of time to find him. He will be … OK. Presumably. Why wouldn’t we presume given his track record of improvement? Nonetheless, in Monday’s opener against the Bulls John Wall looked to be thinking too much, especially about his court-time relationship and dispersed ball-handling duties with not only Bradley Beal, but now Paul Pierce. Otherwise, a jumper attempt here and there didn’t look so good, but he at least made one midrange manna. Wall could also be seen complaining about preseason refereeing and got caught sleeping on defense several times — back-pedaling against and losing Derrick Rose two minutes into the game, and later missing a meandering runner before Rose jetted in the other direction for a layup. Wall looked slightly winded with five minutes left in the first quarter. As stated, he will be OK. How long it will take him to lose eating up the summer remains to be seen, just like finding and meeting expectations. On Wednesday in New Orleans, the general assessment from radio tag team Glen Consor and Dave Johnson was that Wall didn’t look into it and the Wizards were often slow to get into their offense. Per the statline versus the Pelicans below, Wall scored better, but also coughed-up, dropped, or simply gave away nine turnovers in 24 minutes. On Friday he’ll be matched up against Kemba Walker and the Charlotte Hornets in Greenville, SC.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

Wall vs New Orleans on Oct 8:
24 mins | minus-1 | 14 pts | 5-10 FGs | 2-3 3Ps | 2-2 FTs | 2 rebs | 3 asts | 9 TOs

DC Council Top Aide

Glen Rice

vs. Chicago on Oct. 6:
21 mins | plus-1 | 18 pts | 6-8 FGs | 3-4 3Ps | 3-4 FTs | 0 rebs | 3 asts | 2 stls | 1 TO

A deeply held and still relatively flimsy hope that Glen Rice Jr. will be able to occupy this position several more times runs like a current of glimmering unicorn piss in the stream of Washington’s community consciousness. The degree of difficulty on Rice’s shots is always unnecessarily high, and needs to come down if Randy Wittman is going to consent to playing him in extended minutes over a yet-to-be-named veteran that the Wizards will undoubtedly sign at some point this season. But Rice is the only player on the Wizards roster that has shown the capability, with the not-so-trivial addition of discipline, to replace Trevor Ariza’s blend of perimeter defense, apt passing, and 3-point shooting. Rice has the potential to make Wittman’s life quite a bit easier, especially if he limits his luck-based basketball plays to a few per game. But let’s not be hasty and eliminate them altogether; efficiency shouldn’t be joy’s extinction event.

—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)

Rice vs. New Orleans on Oct. 8:
27 mins | plus-9 | 9 pts | 3-11 FGs | 0-5 3Ps | 3-4 FTs | 7 rebs | 2 asts | 3 TOs

DC Council Players

Bradley Beal

vs. Chicago on Oct. 6:
27 mins | plus-1 | 11 pts | 4-12 FGs | 1-3 3Ps | 2-2 FTs | 2 rebs | 2 asts | 3 TOs | 4 PFs

It was an awful shooting night for Bradley Beal, who missed every shot he took that was outside of the paint and inside the 3-point line, and some more for good measure. It’s a performance that won’t please those who wish Beal would winnow his launch sites down to pre-approved regions. But there were some encouraging signs as well, primarily that Beal drove at the basket several times, and earned himself a rare trip to the free throw line. That shot still looks smooth as eggs, too. —Conor Dirks

Beal vs New Orleans on Oct. 8:
25 mins | even-0 | 11 pts | 4-8 FGs | 1-3 3Ps | 2-2 FTs | 5 rebs | 4 PFs | 3 TOs


Otto Porter

vs. Chicago on Oct. 6:
28 mins | plus-7 | 4 pts | 1-10 FGs | 0-2 3Ps | 2-3 FTs | 4 rebs | 2 asts

There was a case to be made for Otto Porter as Washington’s least valuable player on the night. One that, were it not for the burden of expectations on a certain All-Star, may have been enough to brand Porter with those three ignominious letters. A rookie still, in all but name, Porter has the benefit of a recently buttressed but still slight musculature.

He also, for the first time in his career, wore a set of tinted (one just has to assume they were rose-colored) Oakley-style goggles that he abandoned after starting the game 1-for-7. Dropping the futuristic spectacles helped naught, and Porter finished the game 1-for-10, each attempt seemingly more unnecessarily forced than the next. Otto’s time may yet come, and he’ll have far more opportunities to make his destiny manifest this season than last, but this was not that day. —Conor Dirks

Porter vs. New Orleans on Oct. 8:
23 mins | plus-5 | 12 pts | 4-5 FGs | 4-7 FTs | 5 rebs | 1 ast | 1 TO


Kris Humphries

vs. Chicago on Oct. 6:
10 mins | minus-1 | 6 pts | 3-5 FGs | 2 rebs | 1 PF | 1 TO

It was all going so well for Kris Humphries. He started in place of Nene, hit one of his soon-to-be-trademarked midrange jumpers, converted an absurd putback off the glass, and then, tragically, was ushered out of the game permanently with a laceration to his hand. The Wizards have significant spacing issues to unravel before the season begins in earnest, but Humphries looks the part so far. —Conor Dirks

Note: After cutting his hand vs. Chicago, Humphries was not with the team in Jacksonville and is also expected to miss Friday’s game in Greenville.


DeJuan Blair

vs. Chicago on Oct. 6:
27 mins | minus-4 | 8 pts | 4-8 FGs | 0-3 FTs | 10 rebs | 6 PFs | 3 TOs

DeJuan Blair is like a garbage man from Baltimore named “Roc” played by Charles S. Dutton.

Or maybe he is like a chorizo. Or maybe andouille. Or maybe kielbasa. Or maybe just spiced flesh in intestinal casing. Or maybe a Lil’ Smokie. Or maybe Abe Froman.

A floater here, a floater there … finding and minding the gaps … even managing to make a tip-in/floater alley-oop courtesy of Glen Rice. Oh, and the rebounding. That’s what DeJuan Blair, perchance one who rehydrates with popcorn, does, and do.

He could be a great, catch-all cog off the bench; valuable, self-realized depth; and/or a dude who fouls a lot. We’ll take it. —K. Weidie

Blair vs. New Orleans on Oct. 8:
19 mins | minus-4 | 6 pts | 3-6 FGs | 5 rebs | 6 PFs | 3 stls | 1 TO


Paul Pierce

vs. Chicago on Oct. 6:
20 mins | minus-1 | 2 pts | 0-3 FGs | 0-1 3Ps | 2-2 FTs | 7 rebs | 5 PFs | 3 TOs

Pierce got extra prickly barely three minutes into the preseason, pissing to mark his NBA territory against Chicago’s Jimmy Butler and later Joakim Noah. For clotheslining Butler in the open court and later poking Noah in the face, slyly with his left hand while his right hand distracted the action, Pierce was assessed a common foul and later fined $15K. Oh yea, his actions indirectly led to opening-day suspensions for Nene, DeJuan Blair, Xavier Silas, and Daniel Orton, who all left the bench area during an ensuing scuffle (if the latter two even make the team — unlikely).

Guess they all should not have left the bench, but yea … was all of that veteran gamesmanship from Pierce necessary? We’ll never know, but it was fun to watch and kicked off a bit of excitement for the regular season. The Wizards and Bulls won’t see each other again until two days before Christmas in the Verizon Center.

As the numbers through two show, Pierce has yet to be too offensive. He’s trying to find out how to jibe with Wall and Beal and even Gortat — a delicate balance that must be found quickly. The veteran is still a gamer, and evidently hit a nice shot over Anthony Davis on Thursday night (only heard via radio). Some of that gaming is most evident in Pierce’s 13 rebounds over 42 total preseason minutes. —K. Weidie

Pierce vs. New Orleans on Oct. 8:
22 mins | minus-4 | 4 pts | 2-6 FGs | 0-2 3Ps | 6 rebs | 4 asts | 1 TO


Sausage Floater.


Cleaning the Glass.


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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.