D.C. Council Game 9: Wizards vs Magic — Depth Subdues Drama for Seventh Win | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

D.C. Council Game 9: Wizards vs Magic — Depth Subdues Drama for Seventh Win

Updated: November 16, 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. 9: Wizards vs Magic in D.C.: Adam Rubin (@LedellsPlace) from the Phone Booth and Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks) from back home in Annapolis, MD.

Washington Wizards 98 vs Orlando Magic 93
[box score]

DC Council Session

That Session Was … Drama-Free.

Mary J. Blige would be proud. Washington took a 4-2 lead early in the first quarter and never looked back en route to an easy 98-93 win. But it was not the final score that impressed so much as the inevitability of the outcome.

It has been a while since home fans could spend an evening in the Verizon Center and never break a sweat. No inexplicable slow start; no third quarter slump; no fourth quarter lost double-digit lead. There was plenty of sloppy play from both teams but Washington was in control throughout.

The biggest takeaway from the night was the strength of Washington’s depth. Only one player (John Wall) played more than 30 minutes and seven players logged between 22 and 27 minutes. With Kris Humphries playing exceptionally well and Otto Porter lighting up the second half, Washington had no lulls throughout the game. Kevin Seraphin is still a crapshoot on any given night, but after some early-season tinkering it appears Randy Wittman has settled on a solid nine-man regular season rotation with Bradley Beal hopefully taking the bulk of Garrett Temple and Rasual Butler’s minutes in a week’s time.
You can argue Orlando is not very good. And you’d be right. But what can Washington do other than beat the teams on its schedule?

—Adam Rubin (@LedellsPlace)


DC Council Chair

Swish Humphries

Kris Humphries

5 out of 5 stars

26 mins | plus-3 | 16 points | 8-12 FGs | 6 rebs | 1 blk | 1 TO

Kris Humphries entered the game late in the first quarter and immediately did Kris Humphries things. It’s still early in our relationship with Kris, but I get the feeling we are going to enjoy having him around.

He got an offensive put-back off a Garrett Temple missed layup one minute after entering the game. He posterized Elfrid Payton with a beautiful John Wall-esque chase down block. He started the second quarter with full-court harassing defense on Payton that forced an unprepared Willie Green to accept the inbounds pass and immediately commit a traveling violation. He manhandled Aaron Gordon for an offensive rebound followed by a layup and a foul. He coolly drilled three straight jumpers midway through the fourth quarter to preserve Washington’s lead.

When it was all said and done, Humphries exited the court to a well-deserved standing ovation. He even put on a post-game fashion show.

Humphries sets good screens, boxes out, plays solid defense, attacks the rim, hits open jumpers and has a motor that does not quit. He is the perfect antidote for what has ailed Washington’s front-court for so many years.

—Adam Rubin (@LedellsPlace)

DC Council Vetoed Participation

Garrett Temple

1.5 out of 5 stars

23 mins | plus-5 | 1 pts | 0-3 FGs | 0-1 3Ps | 1-2 FTs | 3 rebs | 4 asts | 1 stls | 1 blk | 0 TOs

The Wizards take the third-fewest 3-point attempts in the NBA. For a team that just last season was the third-best at converting 3-point attempts, it’s a shyness that only makes sense when you consider the context. Giving Garrett Temple, a combo guard that Randy Wittman has described in the past as his utility infielder, starter’s minutes is like trying to use a Swiss Army knife to cut a steak. Temple can play almost any part, but like Eric Roberts, who to date has appeared in around 9,000 films, a leading role only awkwardly displays his limitations. Bradley Beal has a chance of returning to action this Friday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and his debut can’t come soon enough. The Wizards are 7-2, but they’ve rarely outclassed their opponents.

Against the Magic, Temple missed all three of his shots, and made one of his two free throws, for a grand total of one point in 23 minutes. His star rating gets bumped up for a few very timely passes, a fantastic block-and-save, and for more or less staying out of everyone’s way.

—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)

DC Council Top Aide

John Wall

4 out of 5 stars

33 mins | plus-2 | 15 points | 6-17 FGs | 1-2 3Ps | 2-3 FTs | 5 rebs | 10 ast | 0 stls | 1 blk | 3 TOs

John Wall occupies the Top Aide spot because, in games where your team can’t, or won’t, shoot from deep, easy baskets matter. Although shot creation is a collaborative process, Wall makes the quick, and mostly correct, decisions that allow Washington’s offense to survive. A decoy pick-and-roll with Marcin Gortat that ends finding Nene looping back around to trail the action, an oop to Nene from the 3-point line in a lullaby of a halfcourt possession, and, most impressively, firing an outlet pass between two defenders to Otto Porter, who got behind the defense for a dunk.

Wall’s shot won’t always be pretty, even if it has been better this season. But Wall has been reliably brilliant in his game management, filling in wherever the Wizards need him, whether it’s in scoring the ball, getting to the line, or putting the ball in his teammates’ hands at the right time, and in the right place. It’s easy to brush aside the notion that a good point guard makes his teammates better, because it’s a complicated declaration. But what can be said for certain is that a good point guard puts his teammates in a position to succeed. You see this with Wall all the time. His skill and athleticism gets him past his defender, and his vision allows him to recognize when a help defender shows up and find his newly freed teammate, whether it be in a contorting reverse pass to the perimeter or a pinpoint underhand on the baseline.

With Beal back soon, some of the shooting pressure will be off of Wall, who has to compensate for Temple’s meager attempts and contributions on that end. It should be fun to watch.

—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)



‘Cheam’ Basketball FTW


DC Council Players


3.5 out of 5 stars

27 mins | minus-2 | 16 pts | 8-14 FGs | 0-1 FTs | 3 rebs | 1 ast | 1 stl | 2 blks

Against less beefy opponents in Channing Frye and Nikola Vucevic, Nene went after the basket up close and personal. Injury irony with Nene is always rich, but reports about a weight-lifting injury that might keep the Brazilian out of the game with a wonky shoulder seemed planted in retrospect; Nene was more aggressive under the rim than he’s been all year, forcing himself into space occupied by Magic defenders and using his size to get a path to the basket. On one occasion, he beat Tobias Harris badly on his way from just inside the 3-point line in the left corner, and threw down with a nigh tectonic basket-rattler. On another he ran the court like a jaguar (the national animal of Brazil, of course) and threw down a #NeneJam.

While we often give Nene the benefit of the doubt when it comes to rebounding, as his teams always seem to benefit in rebounding percentage when he’s on the floor even if he himself doesn’t get the numbers, his performance on the board was a bit lackluster. The only Wizard that played against the Magic and didn’t match Nene’s rebound total (3) was Andre Miller (0). —Conor Dirks


Paul Pierce

3 out of 5 stars

22 mins | plus-3 | 10 points | 2-7 FGs | 0-4 3Ps | 6-6 FTs | 6 rebs | 4 ast | 0 stls | 0 blk | 1 TO

Paul Pierce turned back the clock against Orlando with several old school moves. He had a beautiful spin move and dish to Gortat for an uncontested layup in the first quarter, and later in the half he drove to the hoop and threw a no-look, two-handed pass over his head to Gortat for a jump hook. Pierce only played nine second half minutes due to Otto’s hot second-half shooting but the Truth did not seem to care as he celebrated with fans on his way to the Wizards’ locker room after the final horn. The only black mark on the night was Pierce’s frustrating inability to hit any of his four 3-point attempts. —Adam Rubin


Marcin Gortat

3 out of 5 stars

26 mins | plus-5 | 8 points | 4-9 FGs | 0-0 3Ps | 0-0 FTs | 7 rebs |0 ast | 2 stls | 2 blk | 0 TO

Marcin Gortat had a very average game. He banged with Vucevic down low and created a few easy scores with timely cuts to the basket. But on a night when the whole team was rolling he was not really needed. Adam Rubin


Rasual Butler

5 out of 5 stars

26 mins | minus-1 | 10 pts | 4-5 FGs | 2-3 3Ps | 0-0 FTs | 3 rebs | 2 asts | 0 stls | 1 PF | 0 TOs

Rasual Butler is more than just a flash in the pan. The pan, at this point, is covered in a smoldering layer of grease, and Rasual is frying. Washington’s presumed 15th man has moved up the ladder with an alacrity normally reserved for the youth of this league, not NBA journeymen who battle through training camps dominated by prospects rather than known values.

But maybe Ernie Grunfeld and Randy Wittman justified Rasual’s signing with a different set of equations. No longer attempting to carve out an identity, Butler in recent days has just carved out a niche. He’s been a second-half savant, almost perfect from the field while barely handling the ball. It’s frustrating to see the DNP-CDs rack up for Glen Rice Jr. while Butler’s outro hums through 26 minutes per game, but Rice still has awful habits, and needs to reduce the degree of difficulty on his shot attempts before he contributes to a team that should be done developing players during game action.  —Conor Dirks


Otto Porter Jr.

4.5 out of 5 stars

26 mins | plus-3 | 13 pts | 6-8 FGs | 0-0 3Ps | 1-2 FTs | 4 rebs | 3 asts | 1 stl | 1 blk | 0 TOs

As I keep telling anyone who will listen, Otto Porter is just properly good now. What impressed me most against the Magic was his court awareness. When Nene grabbed a rebound deep under the Magic basket, Otto turned and sprinted up the floor, even though Nene wasn’t looking in his direction. His forethought paid off, and half a second after Wall received a pass from Nene, he spotted Porter on the other side of the defense and hit him mid-stride for an easy two.

Elsewhere, Porter seems comfortable with the ball, and with finding his shots. He looked equally at home playing catch-and-shoot as a trailer on the perimeter and taking a few steps out on his own to find a better look. It won’t show up on the stat sheet, but Porter also goes after balls at the rim on either side of the action, hunting for shots coming off the rim to put back on offense and bothering even the most banal of would-be layup makers on defense. And per usual, Porter was the “fastest” Wizard on the floor, averaging a speed of 4.41 miles per hour during the game, which in this game was higher than any player on either side. It’s hard to tell what that means, but if you’re like me and love to dig into NBA.com/stats for curiosities and trends alike, Otto’s consistently high “speed” is interesting. —Conor Dirks


Andre Miller

3 out of 5 stars

15 mins | plus-3 | 4 points | 2-3 FGs | 0-0 3Ps | 0-0 FTs | 0 rebs |5 ast | 0 stls | 0 blk | 3 TO

Andre Miller’s night did not start well. He was uncharacteristically stripped by Elfrid Payton on back-to-back possessions to end the first quarter. Humphries saved him on the first with a chase-down block and the first quarter buzzer saved him on the second. As expected, Miller settled down the rest of the night and put up a 5:1 assist to turnover ratio over his next 14 minutes. —Adam Rubin


Kevin Seraphin

2 out of 5 stars

16 mins | plus-4 | 5 pts | 2-6 FGs | 1-2 FTs | 3 reb | 2 asts | 0 blk | 2 TOs

Humans landed on a comet this week but Kevin Seraphin came back to Earth. —Conor Dirks



Run, Otto, Run.

Adam Rubin on EmailAdam Rubin on Twitter
Adam Rubin
Reporter / Writer at TAI
Adam grew up in the D.C. area and has been a Washington Bullets fan for over 25 years. He will not refer to the franchise as anything other than the Bullets unless required to do so by Truth About It editorial standards. Adam spent many nights at the Capital Centre in the ‘90s where he witnessed such things as Michael Jordan’s “LaBradford Smith game,” the inexcusable under-usage of Gheorghe Muresan’s unstoppable post moves, and the basketball stylings of Ledell Eackles.