D.C. Council 11: Wizards vs Cavs — Lights-Out Wall Leaves Cleveland 'in the Dark' | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

D.C. Council 11: Wizards vs Cavs — Lights-Out Wall Leaves Cleveland ‘in the Dark’

Updated: November 22, 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. Game No. 11: Wizards vs Cavs at the Verizon Center; contributors: Lawyerin’ hoops fan Jeremy Feldman (@jfeld628) and ya boy John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend), who were both at the Phone Booth last night.

Washington Wizards 91 vs Cleveland Cavaliers 78
[box score]

DC Council Session

That Session Was … A Statement Game.

Coming into Friday night’s game, though the Wizards sported a strong record (7-3), every single one of the team’s wins were A) relatively close and B) against the dregs of the Eastern Conference. The team’s best win of the season thus far was either a home victory over the Bucks or a road win in Indiana. A visit by LeBron James and the Cavaliers presented a new challenge and the chance for Washington to notch its first signature win.

After falling behind 13-8 early, the Wizards turned the tide, quickly took the lead, and never looked back. The Wizards were boosted by the best home crowd of the young season, playing a high energy game and, frankly, bringing more intensity than the Cavs all night. They dominated the paint on both ends of the floor and rode a superstar performance by John Wall. At the end of the night, Washington was a convincing 91-78 victor over the team favored to win the Eastern Conference, and the 13-point differential was the team’s largest of the season.

The team also executed a sound defensive gameplan and held the Cavaliers to just 36 percent shooting. As Bradley Beal said in the locker room after the final buzzer, “defense is what won us the game from start to finish.” Emphasis on finish—when the Wiz managed to score only 11 points in the fourth quarter, the defense held the NBA’s second-best offense to just 13, and didn’t allow the Cavs to make a single field goal in the last nine minutes. Sure, some of the Cavs’ outside shooting struggles were self-inflicted, but the Wizards were crisp in their rotations all night, kept the intensity high, and made nothing easy.

Washington is now 8-3, 2nd place in the Eastern Conference, and the owners of a quality, no-doubt win.

—Jeremy Feldman (@jfeld628)

  DC Council Chair

John Wall

4.5 out of 5 stars

37 mins | plus-12 | 28 points | 12-20 FGs | 3-5 FTs | 1-4 3Ps | 6 rebs | 7 ast | 4 stl | 4 TOs

John Wall averaged 19.3 points and 10.3 assists in four games against the Cavs last season—helping the Wiz win two. On Friday night, in front of a sold out arena, Wall again had his way against Cleveland—this time stronger, star-studded and championship-focused.

“We know as a team, we talked about that when we have good third quarters, we get the opportunity to put teams away,” Wall said post-game. “We didn’t do a good job of that coming out of the third quarter, and they got on a run. We went through that with Dallas and they went up 10. Luckily, we were up more, but we didn’t want them to cut the lead and be tied up. We kept moving the ball side to side and got back to playing our defense.”

Wall—in typical, humble fashion—credited his teammates for their focus and response to Cleveland’s third-quarter push (they got within seven, 60-53). But the Game Changer was just that. He didn’t just close the door on Cleveland’s comeback attempt, he slammed it in their collective, pouting face. He was responsible for 19 of the Wizards’ 25 points in the decisive third quarter, scoring 17 points on nine shots, including a 3, and feeding Marcin Gortat for an easy two. The home team led by 15 going into the fourth.

“I told him, man, when he gets going, he has to just keep going,” Bradley Beal said. “He can’t stop.”

—John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)


DC Council Vetoed Participation

Garrett Temple

0 out of 5 stars

10 mins | minus-11 | 0 points | 0-2 FGs | 2 rebs | 1 ast | 1 stl | 1 TO

Unfortunately, Temple’s slide continues after his excellent start to the season. For one more night, Temple maintained his status as the Wizards’ starting shooting guard, but he was a mess in this one. Within the first five minutes of the game, Temple committed an ugly turnover when he sloppily dribbled into a double-team, badly missed a wide-open corner 3, got caught out of defensive position on a Shawn Marion drive, and had his inbounds pass intercepted by Kyrie Irving. After the Irving steal, Wittman called a timeout just so he could yell at Temple and send him to the bench.

To the surprise of some, Wittman did bring Temple back in for the first five minutes of the third quarter, and his performance was certainly less disastrous. Temple has shown that he can contribute solid minutes for this team, but he probably shouldn’t be a featured player.

—Jeremy Feldman (@jfeld628)

DC Council Top Aide

Paul Pierce

4.5 out of 5 stars

30 mins | plus-6 | 9 points | 4-7 FGs | 1-3 3Ps | 5 rebs | 1 stl

LeBron James shot 8-for-21 from the field and finished with 22 points. But the man who fancies himself a king, or god, depending on the day, was just 1-for-8 from the field when guarded by Paul Pierce, per ESPN Stats & Info. LeBron’s average shot distance on those attempts? Twenty-five feet.

Truth hurts.

That defensive effort (90% anticipation, 10% perspiration) earns Pierce recognition as the game’s Top Aide. His efficient scoring night: a nice bonus.

—John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend)


#BigPanda … DAGGER!

DC Council Players

Bradley Beal

4 out of 5 stars

32 mins | plus-24 | 12 points | 5-10 FGs | 2-2 3Ps | 5 rebs | 5 ast | 3 stls | 4 TOs

Though he scored only 12 points and struggled at times with his shooting stroke, the all-around game Beal displayed Friday night was critical to the Wizards’ victory and gives hope that he’s primed to make “the leap” this season. Beal played strong perimeter defense, hit the boards hard, and facilitated for his teammates all night. The Wizards outscored the Cavaliers by 24 points in Beal’s 32 minutes on the floor. With the Wizards offense struggling mightily in the fourth quarter, he hit a big 3 with 1:30 left to put the Wizards up 12 and put the game out of reach for good.

Most crucial tonight was the energy Beal provided early in the game. Once again coming off the bench, Beal entered the game six minutes into the first quarter with the Wiz down five and made an immediate impact. Within a minute he stole two passes, each of which led directly to transition layups for John Wall, and quickly the Wizards were tied. By the end of the quarter, the Wizards were up 26-21 and never relinquished the lead. —Jeremy Feldman



3.5 out of 5 stars

28 mins | plus-4 | 10 points | 5-11 FGs | 7 rebs | 4 ast | 1 TO

Criticize Nene for his incessant pleas for fairer treatment. Go ahead, criticize him for not being as big of a presence on the boards. But don’t say he isn’t a difference maker on the defensive side of the ball. Certainly don’t say he’s been “horrible.” His DefRtg, 91.2, is third-best on the Wiz, but only focusing on advanced statistics (like his just-OK 100.7 OffRtg) means you miss the big picture. He does so many little things that don’t show up on the box score (and on offense, so many things that do).

Nene fills the role of middle linebacker (the “Mike”) for the Wizards on defense, calling the plays, predicting the action, and is a big reason why the Wizards allow the second-fewest attempts inside five feet in the NBA. Sure, Nene allowed Kevin Love to have a couple of free looks from the perimeter, but he stood his ground in the paint, stoned the Cali bro on just about every post move, held him to a season-low eight points, and all but had Love (like Kyrie Irving) wondering why the basketball gods are punishing him: “The ball’s got to bounce the right way.”  —John Converse Townsend


Marcin Gortat

2.5 out of 5 stars

25 mins | plus-4 | 4 points | 2-6 FGs | 6 rebs | 1 ast | 1 blk | 1 stl | 3 TO

Another weird, quiet game for Marcin Gortat, but Mama said there’ll be days like this. She also said that sometimes you don’t need your 7-foot double-double champ. The Wiz tried to get the Polish Machine going early, but his shots weren’t falling. The hustle was there, highlighted by a dive for a loose ball as well as a full-court sprint for points. —John Converse Townsend


Otto Porter

3 out of 5 stars

25 mins | plus-7 | 6 points | 3-8 FGs | 0-1 3Ps | 3 rebs

It was mostly a hushed night for Otto. Though he didn’t shoot great, he played with awareness and didn’t make any bad mistakes. Otto played important minutes with the second unit, but he also shared the floor with John Wall for 14 minutes tonight, and was on the floor during a Wizards’ run to close out the third quarter. Otto again displayed his active hands defensively and contributed a nice baseline drive and dunk in the first half. —Jeremy Feldman


Kevin Seraphin

4 out of 5 stars

23 mins | plus-9 | 12 points | 5-11 FGs | 2-4 FTs | 5 rebs | 1 ast | 1 stl | 3 blk | 2 TOs

Kevin Seraphin… KEVIN SERAPHIN! All hail the Cayenne Killer.

“For myself, I have to step up my game from the last game and everything,” he told the media in the locker room. “I know we had to bounce back from the loss from the Mavericks so I was just ready for tonight. I was just hot and told my teammates just keep making plays for me and I just played.”

He had a solid game. Another solid game. It’s been something of a breakout year for #KSLife. But here’s the thing: This is the mostly the same Seraphin we’ve seen since he was drafted in 2010 (his defensive awareness and ability is better). He scored 12 points on 11 attempts, which translates to 1.09 points per attempt—about his career average 1.08.

Want “wow” factor? He currently leads the NBA in hook shot field goal percentage at 87.5% (min. 10 attempts). However, he was fifth last season (74.5%) and the year before (72.9%), and Seraphin was top 10 in hook shot FG% in 2011-12 and fourth as a rookie … we’ve seen this type of low-post scoring from Seraphin.

The hook shot is all he’s got. And on some nights, like Friday, that’s good enough. —John Converse Townsend


Andre Miller

4 out of 5 stars

11 mins | plus-1 | 6 points | 3-3 FGs | 2 ast

With Beal back from injury and playing with the second unit, the onus on Miller to create offensive opportunities for his teammates waned. Miller was often defended by the big and rangy Shawn Marion, which prevented him from playing his post-up game. The Professor picked his spots, though, and hit two tough lefty layups and a crafty step-back jumper against Mike Miller early in the fourth quarter to help keep the lead in double-digits. —Jeremy Feldman


Take us home, Witt.

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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.