D.C. Council Preseason Game 6: Wizards Get Bugged — By Injury and Hornets | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

D.C. Council Preseason Game 6: Wizards Get Bugged — By Injury and Hornets

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Updated: October 19, 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. 6: Wizards vs Hornets in D.C.; contributors: Conor Dirks and Rashad Mobley from their respective D.C.-based couches.

Washington Wizards 86 vs Charlotte Hornets 96
[box score]

DC Council Session

That Session Was … Scary.

The Wizards’ play was inconsistent over their first five preseason games, and the sixth game on Friday night was no different. They turned the ball over three times in the first three minutes of the first quarter and trailed 6-2, but then they found some offensive rhythm over the remaining nine minutes and put together a 25-12 run with John Wall finding Garrett Temple for wide open 3-pointer from the corner. Rasual Butler (seven points), Andre Miller (three assists), and the second unit maintained Washington’s nine-point lead in the second quarter. Then the entire roster decided not to show up in the second half. They shot just 24 percent over the final two quarters, 12 percent (1-for-8) from the arced line that Byron Scott doesn’t want his players beyond, and Washington was outscored 55-36 after intermission.

The prospect of the Wizards starting the season without Bradley Beal, a reliable, temporary replacement for him, and consistency among the rotation is scary enough. Throw in Paul Pierce’s injury scare on top of that and it may as well be October 31st already.

With 6.7 seconds left in the second quarter, Pierce attempted to set a screen on Kemba Walker to free up John Wall, but as Walker ran under, he ran into Pierce’s right knee. Pierce briefly grimaced on his back as he held both knees, then he gingerly walked to the locker room — the mere sight causing panic amongst Wizards fans. He would be OK and ended up starting the second half, occasionally wincing in pain, but he temporarily assuaged the fears of fans and teammates by stealing the ball from Hornets guard Gary Neal and running down the other end while getting fouled. But shortly after that play, Pierce could be seen walking a little less gingerly towards the locker room for the second time.

The season starts in 11 days, and it will do so with suspensions, Kris Humphries’ lacerated hand, Beal’s six-to-eight week (hopefully) absence, a minor ankle injury to Glen Rice Jr., and now the unknown status of Pierce’s 37-year-old knee. In two months when everyone is healthy and the Wizards are rolling, this may seem silly, but right now it is scary. A little bit.

—Rashad Mobley (@rashad20)

DC Council Chair

Paul Pierce

23 mins | minus-3 | 11 pts | 4-7 FGs | 3-3 FTs | 5 rebs | 2 asts | 2 stls | 1 PFs | 3 TOs

Pierce did most of his good and bad damage (seven points and three turnovers) in the first quarter when the Wizards were still trying establish their offensive momentum. He also had the luxury of guarding Michael Kidd-Gilchrist who does not possess enough stuff in his offensive game to make the 37-year-old Pierce pay. In the nine third-quarter minutes he played after banging knees with Kemba Walker in the first half, Pierce was a little less aggressive offensively, but he was a larger presence on the boards (four), and he was more active on defense (two steals). More importantly, when he was not on the court, he was still vocal with his teammates — especially John Wall, who said this after the game:

“Me and Paul [Pierce] were talking a lot on the bench about certain plays that we can go to at the end of the game and where he likes certain situations. It’s about finding the niche and getting everybody else going.”

—Rashad Mobley (@rashad20)

DC Council Vetoed Participation

John Wall

26 mins | even-0 | 14 pts | 3-12 FGs | 1-3 3Ps | 7-8 FTs | 5 reb | 3 ast | 2 stl | 4 TOs

Wall is having a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad preseason. His 14 points led the Wizards in scoring, but aside from a 7-for-8 performance from the free throw line, almost everything else was a work in progress. Some familiar refrains: it’s just preseason; it’s just rust; it’s just easing back into it; it’s just going to take time to adapt to unfamiliar faces in unfamiliar spaces. Maybe that’s all it is. But rust is corrosive, and Wall hasn’t turned in a proper performance yet, barely averaging more assists (3.7) than turnovers (3.3) during his 22.5 minutes per preseason contest.

Early in the game against Charlotte, Wall accelerated from the top of the key. Anyone who watched the Wizards last season could tell you what comes next: shooters sag to either corner, Wall leaves his feet, but instead of floating toward the basket, he turns and fires it out for an open 3-pointer against a collapsing defense. Except when Wall looked at the left corner, Pierce wasn’t there. The play fell apart. Before the season starts, something has to come together for Wall.

After the game, coach Randy Wittman expressed some concerns with Washington’s second-half ball movement, and how the lack thereof stagnated his team’s offense, much like it did against the Pelicans. But as John Schumann noted in a recent article, ball movement does not equal offensive efficiency, and Washington’s offense isn’t going to sink or swim simply based on the volume of passes. In this matchup, the Wizards outpassed the Hornets 224-189, per NBA.com/stats. The Wizards need focus, and they need direction — from their coach, but mostly from their point guard.

—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)

DC Council Top Aide

Otto Porter

26 mins | minus-7 | 8 pts | 4-9 FGs | 0-1 3Ps | 0-1 FTs | 3 rebs | 2 asts | 3 stl | 1 blk

Another glimpse of Otto the x-factor, then. Capable of high-velocity blocks, poke-away steals, and hitting the occasional elevated jump shot, Otto “flashed” the evenly-spread ability that made him so attractive to the Wizards in the first place. Balanced attempts from outside the paint and purposed cuts to the basket lent an air of confidence that Porter hasn’t always projected. Yung Simba looked like he belonged, both in the Wizards offense and on the court. Otto is always learning, we know. The practice tests are nearing an end, and hopefully, so is Porter’s apprenticeship.

—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)


DC Council Players

Garrett Temple

30 mins | plus-5 | 8 pts | 2-3 FGs | 2-3 3Ps | 2-2 FTs | 1 reb | 1 asts | 2 stls

Temple played more minutes (30) than any other Wizard, after starting in place of the injured Glen Rice Jr., who had been starting in place of the injured Bradley Beal, who had been starting in place of Larry Hughes. He also shot 2-for-3 from behind the arc. If Temple can harness that spark, and improve on his career 30.1 percent 3-point shooting, the range-famined Wizards may be better equipped to deal with Beal and Webster’s short-term absence. Said Temple to the media after the game:

“Brad and Glen got on me about passing up a few shots because they know I can shoot the ball and take open shots when I’m supposed to. It’s just the feeling of getting comfortable and being able to spread that offense for John.”

—Conor Dirks

—-

Nene

23 mins | minus-7 | 10 pts | 3-9 FGs | 4-4 FTs | 3 rebs | 3 blks | 2 stls | 1 TOs

It could be because he’s injury-prone, because he played in the FIFA World Cup, or simply because he’s 32 years old, but Nene has been (correctly) playing the preseason like he’s Uncle Milty — he’s taking just enough out to show presence. He opened the game with a missed layup, then he missed on a hook from close range. But he did connect on his familiar 17-foot jump shot, and he dunked a pretty pass in transition from his post-partner-in-crime, Marcin Gortat. Nene understandably struggled to stay in front of the smaller, quicker Marvin Williams, but when he was switched onto Al Jefferson, he was able to force him into taking tough shots. Nene was most effective when he was protecting the lane — that’s the aspect of his game that the Wizards rely on most. He blocked three shots on three Hornets’ drives. His paltry rebound total (three) is disappointing, but expected. —Rashad Mobley

—-

 

Marcin Gortat

27 mins | minus-5 | 4 pts | 0-5 FGs | 4-4 FTs | 9 rebs | 3 asts | 1 blk | 1 TO

Over the next few years, Gortat and Charlotte’s Al Jefferson will have a fair few many battles. On Friday night, it was as lopsided as it comes. While Gortat was missing the bunnies that he misses far less often than he’s known for, Jefferson was dominating the paint on the other side (6-for-6 within seven feet of the basket), pulling up and hitting mid-range jumpers, and making Washington’s bigs pay for giving him any modicum of space. Gortat told TAI’s Kyle Weidie that he and Wall hadn’t had any time to work on the pick-and-roll this summer due to their booming offseason schedules. Time to get to work. —Conor Dirks

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Rasual Butler

22 mins | minus-12 | 9 pts | 4-10 FGs | 1-3 3Ps | 0-0 FTs | 1 reb | 1 ast | 1 TOs

During halftime on the television broadcast, Rasual Butler told Comcast SportsNet’s Chris Miller that he felt like he could make the Wizards’ roster because after 12 years in the NBA he knew how to stay ready. In the second quarter, Butler looked like he was ready to take Bradley Beal’s job. He scored seven points (3-for-6 from the field) in 10 minutes, and he and Andre Miller seemed especially in sync, which can only help his chances to make the team. He disappeared like the rest of his teammates in the second half. —Rashad Mobley

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Kevin Seraphin

21 mins | minus-8 | 8 pts | 2-7 FGs | 4-4 FTs | 4 rebs | 2 ast | 2 TOs

Dieu le bénisse le petit cœur de Kevin Seraphin. He does hustle. Per NBA.com/stats, Seraphin ran faster than any other Wizard on the night. He also showed some signs of improvement of several offseason concerns: he got to the free throw line, and was a perfect 4-for-4, and also pulled down four rebounds. But major problems remain: Seraphin still struggles when double-teamed. In the first half, Seraphin saw a defender collapse onto him from the 3-point line, but panicked. Instead of finding a wide-open teammate, Seraphin abandoned the post-up early, pulling up from eight feet out, and bricking the shot off the rim. —Conor Dirks

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Andre Miller

17 mins | minus-10 | 2 pts | 3-4 FGs | 2-3 FTs | 2 rebs | 3 TOs

The professor kept both the lead and the Wizards’ second unit intact early in the second quarter. He got Rasual Butler and Otto Porter easy baskets, and snuck a couple old-man baskets of his own. However, he was uncharacteristically sloppy with the ball towards the end of the period, and was eventually replaced by John Wall. He did nothing of note in the second half — well he did have a fancy, off-balance three-point play — and was unable to get the offense going as the Hornets widened their lead. —Rashad Mobley


 

Bad #KSLife.

Good #KSLife.

G.T.3.

 

 

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Conor Dirks
Reporter / Writer / Co-Editor at TAI
Conor has been with TAI since 2012, and aids in the seamless editorial process that brings you the kind of high-octane blogging you have come to expect from this rad website. The Wizards have been an assiduous companion throughout his years on the cosmic waiver wire. He lives in D.C. and is day-to-day.