D.C. Council 10: Wizards vs Mavericks — Dallas Ponies Up, Washington Stuck at the Gate | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

D.C. Council 10: Wizards vs Mavericks — Dallas Ponies Up, Washington Stuck at the Gate

Updated: November 20, 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. 10: Wizards vs Mavericks at the Verizon Center; contributors: Rashad Mobley (@rashad20) and internet sensation Chris “Miserable Shitehawk” Thompson (@madbastardsall) from no further than 50 miles from D.C.

Washington Wizards 102 vs Dallas Mavericks 105
[box score]

DC Council Session

That Session Was … The One That Got Away.

The Wizards led 29-23 after the first quarter and were playing with confidence. But considering that Monta Ellis (18 of those 23) was the only Mavericks player interested in playing—Dirk Nowitzki said after the game, “It was Monta versus the Wizards in that first quarter.”—the lead should have been double-digits at the very least. The six-point lead eventually disappeared in the second half when the Wizards’ were two-to-three steps late in their attempts to contest the Mavericks’ shots (Bradley Beal was the biggest culprit in this department while attempting to guard Ellis), and found themselves on the wrong end of defensive switches which continually resulted in mismatches that favored Dallas. To make matters worse, John Wall shot just 1-of-10 in the first half, and the Wizards shot just 38 percent as a team.

Continued contributions from Ellis, along with timely baskets by J.J. Barea, Brandan Wright, and occasionally Dirk Nowitzki, powered the Mavs’ comeback. They led by one at halftime, 54-53, and the Wizards were not able to regain the lead nor the type of control they had over Dallas in the first half. Nene and Marcin Gortat, who Rick Carlisle praised before the game for being a tough combination of skill and physicality, were completely outplayed by Tyson Chandler (five points, 16 rebounds, three blocks) and Wright (14 points, six rebounds and at least three nasty dunks). The Wizards team—excluding Beal—lacked both an offensive spark and defensive tenacity, and instead they played slightly below the intensity level of the Mavericks.

When the game was on the line, the two biggest stars (Wall and Nowitzki) had opportunities to hit game-changing shots for their respective teams. A hobbled Nowitzki nailed a 3-pointer off-the-dribble at the tail end of a broken play to give Dallas a five-point lead, 102-97. That shot was ultimately the knockout blow, because when given the opportunity to tie the game at 102, Wall missed his 3-pointer.

The Wizards hit first, the Mavs hit back, Washington never mustered another sustained attack, and Dallas knocked them out in the late rounds. Here was Tyson Chandler after the game:

“These were two tough Eastern Conference teams, playoff teams, that we faced. Two teams that are completely different styles than ours and we showed that we can mix it up. This was a physical night and I felt like they were the aggressor at the beginning of the game and we had to adapt and we did that.”

—Rashad Mobley (@rashad20)


DC Council Chair

Bradley Beal

4.5 out of 5 stars

25 mins | minus-2 | 21 points | 9-17 FGs | 3-6 3Ps | 3 rebs | 3 ast | 2 TO

When a shooter has a hand injury—regardless of whether it’s to the shooting hand—there are two main points of emphasis to look for upon their return. First, is the shooting touch still intact? And second, how well does the player absorb contact? Beal passed both tests with flying colors by shooting 52 percent from the field, including 50 percent from the 3-point line, and driving the lane fearlessly against Chandler at the start of the second quarter. As an added bonus, Beal basically took the backup point guard duties from Andre Miller and played the role of facilitator. He saved his best plays for the start of the fourth quarter, where he had seven points and an assist in just under two minutes. The last of those seven points gave the Wizards the lead at 85-84, their first of the quarter.

Beal’s only flaw of the night—and unfortunately it was a glaring one—was his substandard defense on Monta Ellis. Either he ran out towards Ellis too quickly in an attempt to contest his shot, or he was two steps too slow, leaving Ellis wide-open.

—Rashad Mobley (@rashad20)

DC Council Vetoed Participation

Kevin Seraphin

0 out of 5 stars

10 mins | plus-5 | 2 points | 1-1 FGs | 0-0 FTs | 2 rebs | 2 PF | 1 TO

Seraphin was the anti-Rasual Butler. He could not provide a spark off the bench offensively, and he, like the rest of the Wizards, seemed to be three steps behind on defense. Lastly, Seraphin allowed Brandon Wright to do the above to him, which had Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea laughing after the game.

—Rashad Mobley (@rashad20)

DC Council Top Aide

Rasual Butler

5 out of 5 stars

6 mins | plus-2 | 6 points | 2-3 FGs | 2-2 3Ps | 2 rebs | 1 stl

Butler checked in for Bradley Beal and proceeded to score six points (with one rebound) in 49 seconds of play. One could argue that he, not John Wall, should have taken that 3-pointer with 26.9 seconds left in the game. As Ben Standig tweeted during the game yesterday, Butler is killing it offensively.

—Rashad Mobley (@rashad20)





DC Council Players


3 out of 5 stars

34 mins | plus-7 | 9 points | 3-9 FGs | 3-3 FTs | 5 rebs | 2 ast | 3 TOs

It was a mixed bag for the big Brazilian: he struggled from the field but knocked down his free throws; he bungled an alley-oop try but thundered home a typically-violent dunk in traffic after pump-faking Tyson Chandler into low earth orbit; and he tied for the team high in turnovers but led all Wizards in plus/minus.

Nene’s two second-quarter turnovers were costly during a run of play in which the Wizards lost their early momentum and hard-won first-quarter lead, and in 19 second-half minutes he was a quiet 1-for-4 from the floor for just two points. Some classic Nene playmaking would have been most welcome down the stretch, but it seemed like the length and two-way versatility of the Dallas front-line relegated Nene to a supporting role. —Chris Thompson


John Wall

2 out of 5 stars

35 mins | minus-6 | 11 points | 5-17 FGs | 0-2 3Ps | 1-2 FTs | 6 rebs | 11 ast | 2 stls | 2 blks | 3 TOs

It was a rough night for John Wall. His tempo and energy seemed properly calibrated early in the first half, but his touch around the basket was dreadful and repeated empty forays deep into the paint seemed to erode his rhythm and confidence as the Mavs steadily took control of momentum. His finishing was, dare-I-say, Eric Maynor-like in the first half—bungled bunnies, violently bricked runners, even an airballed floater. His heart was in the right place, he ventured over and over into the paint instead of settling for long-twos, but the finishing was … well, it was brutal.

Ironically and perhaps ominously, it was a series of on-target pull-up two-point jumpers during a key stretch of the second half that seemed to break the spell, but a disturbing picture is being painted of a John Wall that may have regressed in one important way, if only this one way: he appears to be extremely reluctant to shoot 3-pointers. Dallas’s guards routinely ducked far under screens and, in some cases, obviously and arrogantly sagged well off of Wall when he was handling near the top of the key, and his unmistakable unwillingness to shoot from distance both vindicated that strategy and undermined Washington’s half-court offense. This will be a thing to keep an eye on. The Wizards sit near the bottom of the NBA in 3-point attempts per game, and at least some of that paucity can be attributed to a gun-shy point guard waving off respectable opportunities.

Of course, Wall did take one really unfortunate 3-pointer, an out-of-rhythm hero-ball shot with seconds left and the Wizards down three. One hopes that wasn’t the play that was drawn up, but one is also eager to blame someone other than Wall for such an ill-advised attempt. One puzzles over this conundrum. One shakes one’s head. One cracks open a beer, the first of many to come, and drinks oneself into oblivion. —Chris Thompson

Wall on his  3-point miss with 26 seconds left and the Wizards down 3:

“I thought it was a good look. They knew we wanted the hammer action on the back side, they went under the screen and I was open, so I had confidence to take it. I kind of had gotten myself in a rhythm in the second and just missed it.”


Marcin Gortat

2 out of 5 stars

29 mins | minus-6 | 17 points | 7-12 FGs | 3-4 FTs | 6 rebs | 1 ast | 1 TO

It looked like Gortat (13 points) and Monta Ellis (18 points) were headed towards a Larry Bird/Dominique Wilkins type of battle in the first quarter. Ellis held up his end of the bargain by scoring 16 points in the final three quarters, while Gortat scored just four. More importantly, or worrisome, the very physical presence he is supposed to provide the Wizards was seriously lacking. Tyson Chandler grabbed or tapped out every rebound in sight, and when he missed the ball, Brandon Wright was there to emphatically slam it home. Gortat had just six rebounds, he did not block a shot, and he was unable to impose any of his will on the Mavericks front line after the first quarter. Rashad Mobley


Paul Pierce

2.5 out of 5 stars

25 mins | minus-3 | 17 points | 6-10 FGs | 3-5 3Ps | 2-2 FTs| 5 rebs | 1 ast | 1 TO

As has been the norm this season, Pierce appeared to be selectively picking his spots on offense in the first half with with most of his points coming off the secondary fast break. He was more assertive in the third quarter, especially during a four-minute stretch during which he scored eight points (two 3-pointers, one 19-footer), helping to shrink the Mavs’ lead from eight to two points. But then Wittman sent in Otto Porter to spell him. Pierce took just one shot the remainder of the game, and went scoreless. John Wall took and missed a 3-pointer that would have tied the game at 102, but in an ideal world Pierce (or Rasual Butler as mentioned above) would have been in enough of an offensive rhythm to call for the ball and nail that shot.

He was noticeably slow on defense against the quicker Chandler Parsons, and early in the third quarter, he helped give the Mavs confidence by pushing Tyson Chandler in the back, and allowing him to convert on a three-point play. —Rashad Mobley


Otto Porter Jr.

3.5 out of 5 stars

25 mins | minus-3 | 6 points | 2-5 FGs | 2-4 3Ps | 5 rebs | 1 ast | 1 stl | 1 blk

The Bespectacled One seems to be settling into a pattern of remaining mostly invisible as a first-half sub before finding important ways to contribute after intermission, but the Wizards sure could have used some first-half production as their early lead bled away. Still, Otto made his presence known in a few key ways: he devoured an entire Dallas possession with his outrageous Gumby arms just when momentum was threatening to run off and elope with the Mavs, and he knocked down a pair of clutch above-the-break 3-pointers to keep things tight in the second half.

Good things seemed to happen to Washington’s spacing whenever Otto shared the floor with both John Wall and Bradley Beal.  Twice, the young Jack Skellington body-double found himself sliding coolly into that most valuable of spots on the floor, the open corner. Unfortunately, Junior couldn’t make good on either attempt. That shot will be absolutely vital to his role in the offense now and the rest of this season and for the remainder of his career. Knock ‘em down, Limbs! —Chris Thompson


Andre Miller

4 out of 5 stars

13 mins | plus-3 | 2 points | 1-2 FGs | 1 reb | 4 ast | 1 stl

Gramps had his moments tonight: his quick hands and tenacity triggered a break that resulted in a Bradley Beal dunk, and he also found Beal on the wing in transition for his first 3-pointer of the season. There are real concerns about Andre Miller’s agility as a defender and complete lack of shooting in the half-court, but tonight he gave the Wizards 13 minutes of quality playmaking and left the game tilted ever so slightly more towards the Wizards than he found it. What more do you want? —Chris Thompson


Kris Humphries

3 out of 5 stars

21 mins | minus-4 | 9 points | 1-5 FGs | 0-1 3Ps | 7-8 FTs | 6 rebs | 1 ast

Kris Humphries made up for his cold shooting by sinking seven of his team-high eight free-throw attempts, and did his usual solid work on the glass. Lineups that pair Humphries with other wing shooters have that dangerous look, and it was encouraging to see Humphries drift out to the weak-side wing for a 3-point attempt that, had it gone down, would have blown the roof off the building. There was a real sense that the crowd was ready to uncork, with the Wizards up two after battling back from a double-digit third-quarter deficit and just minutes left in the game. He missed this one, when it would have put an awful lot of pressure on the Mavs, but results be damned, this is the right idea.

Washington’s reserves chipped in another 46 points against Dallas, but those points will be harder to come by once Beal is back in the starting lineup. Humphries’ ability and willingness to slide into useful 3-point position and fire away could be a key to sustaining Coach Wittman’s preferred all-bench lineups. That may not be good news, come to think of it. —Chris Thompson


Garrett Temple

1 out of 5 stars

13 mins | plus-2 | 2 points | 0-3 FGs | 0-2 3Ps | 2-2 FTs | 1 reb | 2 stls | 2 TOs

Temple’s sad, regressive transmogrification into a tomato can continues unabated. Where there was a sharp, assertive, opportunistic offensive contributor there is now a broad curl of flowered wallpaper, drifting along in the gentle wake turbulence of teammates until possession is ceded, at which time it briefly takes the shape of a man long enough to get summarily dusted by Monta Ellis. If this was Temple’s last showing as a starting wing for a good long while (and it ought to be, by God), he left the wrong kind of impression, especially (and most disappointingly) on the defensive end, where he found himself the victim over and over again of Ellis’s early hot hand. Limited by a brutal turnover and a warm Bradley Beal, Temple saw just six minutes and zero shot attempts in the second half. Alas. —Chris Thompson




Abe Schwadron has a cover story on John Wall in SLAM.
Here’s the aforementioned cover. Peep it.



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Rashad Mobley
Reporter/Writer at TAI
Rashad has been covering the NBA and the Washington Wizards since 2008—his first two years were spent at Hoops Addict before moving to Truth About It. Rashad has appeared on ESPN and college radio, SportsTalk on NewsChannel 8 in Washington D.C., and his articles have appeared on ESPN TrueHoop, USAToday.com, Complex Magazine, and the DCist. He considers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a hero and he had the pleasure of interviewing him back in 2009.