DC Council 29: Wizards vs Celtics — The Wizards Hit and Hit Often | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council 29: Wizards vs Celtics — The Wizards Hit and Hit Often

Updated: December 28, 2014

Truth About It.net’s D.C. Council:
Grading Washington players from Game No. 29: Wizards vs. Celtics in the District;
Contributor: Rashad Mobley (@rashad20
), directly from the Verizon Center.


There’s an expression in boxing made popular by former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson that says, “Everyone has a plan until they get hit.” The Wizards’ lopsided victory over the Boston Celtics last night answers the question, “Well, how badly will you get hit if you have no plan?”

Before the game, Boston coach Brad Stevens admitted that due to the recent changes to his roster (Rajon Rondo was traded for Brandan Wright, Dwight Powell, Jae Crowder, and Jameer Nelson on Dec. 18), he had to go into every game with an idea and a plan. But when asked about his specific plan for the Wizards 90 minutes before tip-off, he joked, “I don’t know, I gotta work on that.” Given the Wizards 101-88 victory—and only the uninspired garbage-time play made it that close—it does not appear as if Coach Stevens had an idea, a plan, a wing, or a prayer.

Coach Stevens, his assistants, and his players helplessly watched as the Wizards took turns inflicting pain by way of easy baskets. First it was Paul Pierce, who scored eight of his 11 first-quarter points in the first two and a half minutes. In the second quarter, the Wizards bench scored 17 of the team’s 26 points. In the third, John Wall came alive with eight points and three assists. In the fourth, the ghost of Otto Porter was reanimated. And hovering over all of the Wizards players’ great performances was the bottomless energy of Kris Humphries, who seemingly did a little of everything. Post game, Coach Stevens summed it up perfectly:

“They really took the game to us. They dictated from every which way. They were into us, they were physical, they were aggressive, they got down the floor faster … that’s on me, that can’t happen. Everything was going the direction of their basket. Our offense was going in the direction of their basket and their offense was going in the direction of their basket.”

From Washington’s perspective, this was the perfect way to end an extended home stint (nine of their last 13 games have been in D.C.) and begin a tough a five-game road trip where they will face Houston, Dallas, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, and New Orleans (who have a combined record of 90-60). Per Paul Pierce’s instructions during training camp, they took care of  home court against a Celtics team who took them to double-overtime just two weeks prior. The Wizards also rested their starters the entire fourth quarter and both Porter and Pierce seemed to emerge from their recent shooting doldrums.

This victory could either be the winning calm before the losing storm that the road trip might bring, or this, along with the impressive Christmas Day victory over the New York Knicks, could be a preview of bigger things ahead for the 21-8 Wizards. For now, let’s take our red pens and give out some grades.

Boston Celtics



Box Score

Washington Wizards


Nene Hilario, PF

20 MIN | 1-5 FG | 2-3 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +13

It was a quiet night for the blessed one. He wasn’t called upon to break up any fights or do any heavy lifting on offense or defense, but that does not mean Nene did not have an impact on the game. Midway through the second quarter the Celtics went on a 5-0 run to cut the Wizards’ lead to 17 points, and Randy Wittman inserted Nene, John Wall, and Bradley Beal back into the game. Nene immediately scored on a driving reverse layup, got fouled and completed the three-point play. The next time down the floor, he found a wide open Rasual Butler for a 3-pointer, drew another foul on Evan Turner on the subsequent offensive possession, and just like that Nene had the Wizards’ lead back up to five points.

Paul Pierce, SF

19 MIN | 6-9 FG | 2-4 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 17 PTS | +16

Pierce must have read my TAI colleague Chris Thompson’s post-Knicks game comments about him being sluggish, because after eight points in the first 2:30 of the first quarter, he and his offensive game looked spry. It was as if Pierce knew the potential was there for a Wizards letdown after Christmas Day, and he decided to jump-start the team a bit. He reprised his role as the battery booster early in the third quarter when the Celtics cut the Wizards’ lead to 16: a step-back jumper and a free throw pushed the lead back up to 19 points. Pierce’s night ended with 4:38 left in the third quarter when he missed a 3-pointer, fouled Jameer Nelson, and took a seat on the bench.

Marcin Gortat, C

27 MIN | 3-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | +13

Just like the rest of the Wizards’ starters, Gortat started quickly by dominating the boards in the first quarter (seven rebounds) to go along with five points. Thanks to the juggernaut that was Kris Humphries, Gortat’s services were not needed the remainder of the night, but he still managed to draw the ire of Coach Wittman with his lazy defense. On two different occasions towards the end of the second quarter—once at the 2:26 mark and the other with 16.9 seconds left—Gortat was two steps slow in his run out to the 3-point line, and Jared Sullinger made both shots. The shots cut the Wizards’ lead from 22 points to 17, and they could have potentially swung the momentum back to the Celtics in the third quarter. Coach Wittman literally ran in front of Gortat before he could duck into the locker room for halftime and had some choice words with him.

John Wall, PG

28 MIN | 6-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 12 PTS | +18

In the NFL, if someone comments on how well a quarterback managed the game, it is usually a nice way of saying, “Thanks for not blowing it.” Wall did not blow it with his game management last night: he controlled the tempo by constantly pushing the ball up the court and keeping rookie Marcus Smart and veteran Jameer Nelson on the their heels. Wall, however, was a bit careless with the ball in the first half with four turnovers, which kept the Celtics in the game much longer than they deserved given their poor play. But when Boston began to resemble a coherent offensive team in the third quarter, Wall scored eight points—including two via yet another brilliant spin move—and helped to shut down the Celtics. He sat the entire fourth quarter, but actively cheered the offensive exploits of Humphries and Otto Porter.

Bradley Beal, SG

29 MIN | 4-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +19

Beal reverted to his passive ways last night, and unlike Nene and Gortat who get passes for being passive in a blowout, it would have been nice to see Beal break out of his slump. He hit a big 3-pointer late in the third quarter to stretch the Wizards’ lead to 18 points, but that was his only impactful play all evening, despite being guarded by Avery Bradley, who is four inches shorter. Beal’s offensive services will be needed at some point during the upcoming five-game trip through the Western Conference—but there has not been much to suggest he’ll rise to the occasion.

Kris Humphries, PF

24 MIN | 9-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 18 PTS | +9

After last night’s game, all of the Celtics shared the same sentiment: the Wizards hit them in the mouth, had more hustle, had more physicality, and hit every shot in sight. That accurately described the 24 minutes of hell Kris Humphries gave the entire Celtics roster last night, and it started as soon as he checked in the game late in the first quarter. On three consecutive possessions, he hit 19- and 18-footers and then a driving layup. Later in the quarter, he kept offensive possessions alive by manhandling Kelly Olynyk and Brandon Bass for rebounds. Said Coach Stevens of Humphries’ first-quarter performance, “He came out and just really tossed us around for a few possessions there right in front of our bench and scored.” In the fourth quarter, with the game virtually over, Humphries rebounded a 3-point miss by Jae Crowder, emphatically dunked a missed Rasual Butler 3-pointer, then stole the ball from Jared Sullinger in just a 26-second span. He was an admirable fill-in for Nene off the bench, but for the second consecutive game, he’s proven to be an even bigger asset off the bench.

Otto Porter Jr., SF

19 MIN | 6-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | -6

Early in the fourth quarter, Evan Turner was having his way with Otto Porter. He pushed him around off the ball, he bodied Porter when he had the ball, and at one point when Porter grabbed a rebound, he collided with Turner and damn near lost his goggles. Porter stood with his hands on his hips, clapped to himself, and the next time down the floor, he hit a 21-footer right in Turner’s eye. Much was expected out of Porter in his second year and a cynic could easily be dismissive of his performance, considering 10 of his 12 points came in serious garbage time. But the last time the Celtics were in town, the Wizards bench blew a 16-point fourth-quarter lead. Porter’s shooting single-handedly prevented that from happening again, and he scored the most points (12) since a Nov. 15 game against Orlando, when he had 13.

Rasual Butler, SF

29 MIN | 3-9 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -3

If John Wall is entitled to lesser offensive production in a blowout, Rasual Butler—who has been the anchor of the bench this entire season—is entitled to that as well. Humphries (18 points), Porter (12) and Seraphin (10) did the heavy bench-lifting tonight, and it masked the rare off-performance from Butler.

Kevin Seraphin, C

19 MIN | 5-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 10 PTS | +9

Seraphin had his typical shaky beginning at the start of the second quarter. He committed an unnecessary foul on Kelly Olynyk which got Coach Wittman out of his seat, and he later lost the ball out of bounds which left Coach Wittman shaking his head. But later in the second quarter, he settled down in the post, and scored with relative ease over both Brandon Bass and Brandan Wright. On one particularly impressive possession, he tried repeatedly to back down Bass but was unable to move him. He kicked the ball back out to Andre Miller, reposted, got the ball back and scored on a jump hook. It’s the little things.

Garrett Temple, SG

3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 0 PTS | -9

Garrett Temple checked into the game with 2:43 left—the Wizards were up 22. In his first three plays, Temple committed an offensive foul, allowed Marcus Smart to hit a jumper in his eye, turned the ball over, fouled Marcus Smart, then fouled Jae Crowder. The lead went from 22 to 13 in 1:30 thanks to Temple’s handiwork. This had to be mentioned.

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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.