D.C. Council 17: Wizards vs Lakers — Beal Stars as Hollywood Heartbreaker | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

D.C. Council 17: Wizards vs Lakers — Beal Stars as Hollywood Heartbreaker

Updated: December 4, 2014

Truth About It.net’s D.C. Council:
Grading Washington players from Game No. 17: Wizards vs Lakers in the District of Columbia;
Contributor: Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It), from the Verizon Center.


Los Angeles Lakers



Box Score

Washington Wizards


Kris Humphries, PF

30 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 20 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +25

The convenient, tidy and—let’s be honest—just plain dumb media narrative about Humphries’ 20-rebound effort on Wednesday night was about how Kris was “stealing” rebounds from teammates. But, hey, if that’s the ice you want to break into your cocktail with a microphone, then have at it. Paul Pierce on the theft, jokingly:

“That’s what he does. I told Humphries that’s the reason he got paid—it wasn’t that jump shot.”

Au contraire, Mr. Pierce. Humphries’ ability to hit the jumper is exactly why the Wizards paid him. Sure, rebounding, defense, and tough-guy former celebutant comes first, but none of that makes it to D.C. if Kris shoots jumpers like Michael Ruffin.

Now, admittedly, his shooting percentage is a tad down this season compared to last season in Boston, but that should not discourage him from shooting. Because he has to space the floor for John Wall, Bradley Beal and Marcin Gortat (which must be refreshing for Gortat without Nene clogging the lane—although they work well together, that has always been an issue).

“Hump” was 2-for-3 on jumpers and just 1-for-4 closer the basket, but when you hustle and rebound like he does, the offense, ever the bonus, usually gets a pass. He did, however, hit his first jumper of the game, an 18-footer from Paul Pierce about 1:20 in.

Paul Pierce, SF

24 MIN | 6-15 FG | 2-4 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | +24

Pierce started the night with Washington’s second score—a veteran baseline cut past a negligent Wesley Johnson with the assist from John Wall. The Hall-of-Fame Swiss Army Knife proceeded to do him—rebound put-backs you never saw coming, highly-efficient, and open, midrange shots from the free throw line, and, later, guarding Kobe Bryant.

“Coach wanted to put a bigger body on him because he was doing a lot of post-ups, going over the top, and I could kind of bump him a little bit more, bother his shot a little bit more,” said Pierce about the decision to put him, and not Bradley Beal, on Bryant to start the second half. Pierce also took the hit for Beal’s struggling defense on Kobe, saying that he was left on an island in the first half (but alluding that was part of the plan … at least to see if Beal was up for the one-on-one challenge … he was). Pierce’s strategy was simple: push Kobe further from the basket; don’t let him get to his sweet spots on the elbow or baseline; don’t go for his pump fakes; just be a pest.

When asked about Washington holding Kobe without a field goal in the second half, Pierce retorted: “Yea, we fouled him a bunch.” Kobe going 0-for-7 from the field but 9-for-11 from the free throw line does not fit nicely into packaged media narratives, mind you.

Pierce left in the third quarter with a jammed big left toe. It was “very inflamed” he said afterward, but that it was already doing better. Both Wittman and Pierce proclaimed that he would be day-to-day, Pierce joked about taking practice off for the rest of the season.

Marcin Gortat, C

34 MIN | 9-13 FG | 3-3 FT | 11 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 21 PTS | +26

“Gortat has decided to go to the basket instead of settle for jump shots,” said Randy Wittman, bluntly, when asked about what’s led to the center’s increased offensive activity near the rim over the past couple of games.

Gortat, per usual, got the first touch of the night versus the Lakers … and it resulted in a midrange attempt that Kobe was smart enough to help and bother; Gortat missed the short jumper from five feet. Then, his next several shots: 2-foot layup, 1-foot layup (with a free throw), 12-foot jump shot miss, 1-foot layup, 8-foot jump shot miss. And that was the first quarter. Over the rest of the game, Gortat secured three dunks, a layup, a 6-foot hook shot, and a missed 8-foot jump shot.

Gortat’s teammates struggled on an off throughout the night to get him the ball in the right places at the right times, but the focus was there. Especially against L.A.’s paltry defense, the Wizards made a more concerted effort to get the big man going off screens. You could argue that they could have continued to go to him. Gortat balked at responding to Wittman’s comment too much after the game, opting for a proclamation in general aggressiveness after struggling in bad losses to Atlanta and Cleveland.

John Wall’s answer RE: Gortat? Randomness.

“[He’s] doing a better job coming and setting random screens and when he makes my guy go over the top, their big has to help that’s guarding him and he’s getting the opportunities to score the ball on the roll and make plays for himself and make plays for our teammates.”

The key? That the Wizards won, and had fun.

“I’m happy that we actually delivered a victory for Washington Wizards fans, not the Lakers fans today,” Gortat said, tipping his hat to the infiltrators who left the arena a little less happy than they arrived.

John Wall, PG

37 MIN | 6-18 FG | 4-5 FT | 4 REB | 15 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 17 PTS | +25

Not a good night for John Wall’s jump shot, or any shot—he was 4-for-10 from midrange, 1-for-5 on 3-pointers, and 1-for-3 at the rim. Four of his six field goals, however, came in the second half, the biggest once with 1:43 left to stop a 7-0 Lakers run. Wall had missed six shots in a row—a layup, four 2-pointers beyond 17-feet, and a 3-pointer. None of them looked great leaving his hands, but the assists sure did. Wall’s season-high 15 dimes led to 10 makes at the rim, three 3-pointers, and just two midrange 2-pointers. It was a relatively unnoticeable poor night for a superstar who still did superstar things. Wall even toughly guarded Kobe for several possession after Pierce left the game in the third quarter with a toe injury. The final insult, and final shimmy, came with 11 seconds left when Wall jacked up a fadeaway 3-pointer in Kobe’s face with the game in hand. The ball caromed off the backboard, flirted with the rim, and then finally dropped as the whistle signaled a foul on Kobe. Wall completed the four-point play to give Washington a 16-point win when, just 114 seconds prior, the Lakers were encroaching behind a take-no-prisoners future Hall of Famer. Instead, the Lakers were left prisoners to a supposedly “patient” Kobe Bryant who shot the ball like he gave no fucks and patience was not in his vocabulary. To each their own.

Bradley Beal, SG

37 MIN | 11-19 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 27 PTS | +33

Beal and Kobe started out on each other and had an early back-and-forth battle that was pretty cool to see for a spell, even if Kobe came out ahead.

  • A 20-foot fadeaway from Kobe … Beal answered with a 3.
  • A 18-foot fadeaway from Kobe … the Wizards ran a play for Beal the next time down, but he missed.
  • A missed 19-foot shot from Kobe.

All of this came in a span of 54 seconds early in the first quarter.

It was nice to see Beal up for the challenge, or at least not shy away from the challenge, even if some of Kobe’s post moves treated Beal like a science lab explosion. Kobe, a slightly more physical specimen, knew exactly where to hit Beal in the chest on offensive back-downs to send the third-year kid flying. Overall, the duel certainly kept his youthful Panda legs going for the rest of the night. “Seeing how he came out aggressive made me want to be aggressive as well,” said Beal, later admitting, “we kind of got scared a little minute from when Nick (Young) started knocking down shots.”

But none of that lasted. Paul Pierce switching onto Kobe for the second half helped, but so did Beal’s maneuvering of the offense. There were a couple instance of weird spacing (particularly with Gortat) when Beal had the ball in his hands to create. But, “I was just taking what they were giving me,” said Beal about L.A.’s defense, and what they “gave” him were eight midrange shots, of which Beal missed six. Not ideal.

Of course, Beal did immediately counter the “take what’s given” statement in his very next sentence: “I was being more aggressive. Coach has been yelling at me every day about me shooting the ball, me being more aggressive. He was yelling at me tonight because I passed up some.” Beal finished 6-for-6 at the rim on the night. He was 11-for-19 from the field overall but 5-for-8 in the second half.

Drew Gooden, PF

17 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -15

I could swear that Gooden played….

Yep, just checked the box score. He did. Got five rebounds.

(P.S. I’m going to wager to guess that DeJuan Blair might start getting some more time soon just to give Drew Gooden some rest.)

Otto Porter Jr., SF

12 MIN | 1-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -11

Somehow four points fell in Otto’s lap, otherwise it was a very forgettable night. All of his five shot attempts were contested, he made one. He grabbed one rebound in three chances. Otto got scored on twice right at the rim, man. Lucky for Porter, his poor play was overshadowed and made irrelevant by the starters on this night.

Rasual Butler, SF

24 MIN | 5-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | -8

Rasual Butler, everyone.

Open that vintage wine, take a whiff, swirl it around like you know what you are doing. That’s Butler.

Now in his 12th NBA season with this seventh team, Butler is only putting up a career-high PER of 20.2, which is not totally surprising since his third-highest career PER (12.2) came last year with the Pacers.

Well, maybe it is surprising. This year’s PER ranks 35th in the NBA amongst players who have played at least 240 minutes. Butler was the very last guy to make the team before the season, which seemed extra unexpected after the Wizards took a look at John Lucas III late in the game.

Also surprising: Butler is second in the NBA to Kyle Korver in 3-point percentage (min. 35 attempts). Korver is shooting 56.7 percent, Butler is shooting 56.4 percent.

Will it all last? Probably not. But it’s more than the Wizards could have asked for with season-beginning injuries to Bradley Beal and Martell Webster.

So sit back, put your feet up, and enjoy that wine while there’s still some left.

Kevin Seraphin, C

14 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-1 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -10

And then there’s Kevin Seraphin. He bounces around the court like the smell of fresh biscuits, naive to the fact that all that butter slows you down. Offensive boards dripped by him, he let Robert Sacre out-eat him, he attempted a shot that could be best described as ‘crusty’ and Seraphin took up all the wrong spaces on the court. It’s OK, though. He’ll be back again. And he might just melt your heart.

Silver lining: box score says Seraphin had just one assist, which means continued moderate progress on a bridge to nowhere. EXCEPT… he actually had three assists, according to the fancy stats: one regular assist, one hockey assists, and one FT assist. Bon temps!

Andre Miller, PG

11 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 4 PTS | -9

Look, the Professor knows he teaches a night class. Don’t expect him to not pop in a movie every now and then and give a quiz about it later. (#Teaching!) The man is 38, he can’t constantly dazzle you with lessons in the art of ball faking on the move.

Miller did just enough to give John Wall rest versus L.A. without costing his team too much. Part of the pittance was a couple terrible turnovers of the jumping-to-pass variety (Miller can jump?) and hurried recklessness (slow down the Caddie, please). But, he made some key shots (has been more aggresive laters); saw timely passes three moves ahead; and now, after a slow start to the year, has a 17.9 PER that’s its highest since his days in Portland.


The Video.

Bradley Beal on what opened up offensively, we think:


Marcin Gortat on the Lakers defense:


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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.