DC Council 44: Wizards at Trail Blazers — Aldridge, Just What The Doctor Ordered | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council 44: Wizards at Trail Blazers — Aldridge, Just What The Doctor Ordered

Updated: January 25, 2015

Truth About It.net’s D.C. Council:
Grading Wizards players from Game No. 44: Washington versus the Portland on the Oregon National Historic Trail.
Contributor: John Converse Townsend from a fourth-floor walk-up in Brooklyn.


“It doesn’t change shit.” That was Marcin Gortat’s response to the news that LaMarcus Aldridge was going to skip surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb and suit up against the Wizards.

“We got to be ready to play,” Gortat continued. “He’s just one player—he’s really good but we’re going to go at him.”

That was nice and good, but Aldridge isn’t just the “straw that stirs the Blazers’ drink,” as Chris Lucia wrote in the Opening Statements, he’s the shot of MiO that ‘changes everything.’

The Blazers big man had a big game. Aldridge scored a game-high 26 points, leading all players with 16 in the second half, and went 8-for-8 from the free throw line.

Nene did a decent job crowding him from the opening tip, but his defensive know-how wasn’t enough. Aldridge hit shots and drew whistles all night and didn’t seem at all bothered by his bum left thumb. Nene fouled out in the fourth quarter, frustrated, scowling. And no other Wizards player was prepared to be the game-changer on defense, which was obvious to everyone watching: “Gortat really has no chance,” laughed the Blazers broadcast crew.

“I’m not into the rah-rah story,” Aldridge said post-game. “I just wanted to come back and play. I wanted to test it out at home, and versus [the Wizards] because I felt they were a physical team and if I could play against these guys that would be good. And I was OK.”

Understatement of 2015? Perhaps.

Here’s a definitive statement: There’s no way that the Wizards would have lost this game with Aldridge in a suit.



Washington Wizards



Portland Trail Blazers


Nene Hilario, PF

28 MIN | 7-11 FG | 1-3 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 15 PTS | +4 +/-

Nene is the best defensive player on the Wizards, but he still couldn’t contain LaMarcus Aldridge, a world-class basketmaker. Aldridge got off to a red-hot start, scoring eight points on his first seven attempts and, as you read above, stayed busy till the final whistle.

Nene’s best play of the game didn’t even count. He sold a corner 3 with a shoulder shrug, removing Aldridge from the equation entirely, and raced to the hoop for a big dunk. The problem? The shot clock expired before the ball went through the hoop. Turnover.

His worst play was fouling Myles Leonard in the right corner with 68 seconds to play in the fourth quarter. Leonard made all three free throws to extend the Blazers’ lead to six.

Paul Pierce, SF

30 MIN | 7-10 FG | 3-4 3FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 19 PTS | -1 +/-

Pierce hit a walk up 3 to open the night, then a pull-up jumper from the top of the key, then swished his next look. He tried some slightly suspect jab-and-heaves from the midrange area as the game went on, but he’s made a career out of those looks, so he gets a pass. Strong showing, just not enough.

Marcin Gortat, C

31 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | +3 +/-

For the second game in a row, Gortat failed to win a single trip to the free throw line. And although he rebounded fine, leading all Wizards, he’s become entirely dependent on handouts from John Wall on offense and made too many mistakes on defense: leaving his feet on pump fakes and not tracking the roll man with enough interest.

John Wall, PG

35 MIN | 10-17 FG | 5-5 FT | 4 REB | 9 AST | 1 STL | 3 TO | 25 PTS | +4 +/-

Twas a tale of two halves for John Wall. In the first, he did a nice job of distributing, penetrating well and dumping the ball off to his frontcourt players for easy buckets. The floater was working for him, too: the highlight was a high-arcing push-shot to end the first quarter, giving the Wizards a 30-18 lead.

The dribble-drive action that worked so well in the first half wasn’t there in the second. Neither was his jump shot. Worse, and especially frustrating: Wall only attempted two shots in the paint in his 35 minutes.

To cap off a very average second half, he double-teamed LaMarcus Aldridge on an inbounds play, leaving Lillard wide-open from the top of the arc. Lillard buried the shot—as you’d expect—to extend the lead to seven points with under three minutes to play. Later, after the Wizards gave up an offensive rebound to Portland with 17 seconds to play, Wall let 10 seconds come off the clock before fouling Lillard. Dagger.

Bradley Beal, SG

32 MIN | 7-15 FG | 1-4 3FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 2 TO | 16 PTS | -4 +/-

Bradley Beal, early in the first quarter, outran the entire Blazers squad for a transition dunk. Portland’s color commentator Mike Rice mistook him for John Wall. Not sure why Beal doesn’t flash that speed more often…

Another thing: He has a bit of a habit of picking up his dribble too early on drives, making shot attempts in the paint much more difficult than they have to be. This tendency also leads to more midrange jump shots than you’d ever like to see—in one stretch during the second quarter, Beal ended three possessions with midrange Js as the Blazers’ second unit was making a comeback.

Sad Panda misread screen action a few times, got caught up, and allowed West Matthews to have clean looks at the basket. This happened late in the game too, unfortunately. “All day, I’m gonna make that shot,” jabbed Matthews after one swish.

(Five of Matthews’ seven made field goals came from 3-point land.)

Kris Humphries, PF

19 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 STL | 4 PTS | -12 +/-

Humphries got absolutely scrambled by a Thomas Robinson dunk in the first quarter. I’m not sure he ever recovered because he missed open looks and was often out of position on defense and late on rotations. Rough night.

Martell Webster, SF

19 MIN | 1-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 5 PTS | -7 +/-

He ran round. He hit one 3, his second of the year. He also air-balled a wide-open 3 from the corner.

Rasual Butler, SF

16 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -3 +/-

Made a nice pass to referee Violet Palmer.

Kevin Seraphin, C

17 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 4 PTS | -1- +/-

The first real taste of the #KSLife came on the defensive end. Wild, right? He blocked a driving layup by Chris Kaman. That wasn’t a harbinger of a show-stopping night, though. On the possession where the Blazers took their first lead of the night, Seraphin doubled Wes Matthews for absolutely no reason, allowing LaMarcus Aldridge to have a wide-open shot from the top of the key—Humphries recognized the error but couldn’t make up enough ground to disrupt the shot.

His only made field goals were a pair of long 2s in the fourth quarter. That’s unacceptable because the second unit is entirely driven by Andre Miller post-ups, which didn’t work at all, and Serabot stuff. The Wizards desperately needed more.

Andre Miller, PG

13 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -9 +/-

Steve Blake made Andre Miller look slower than usual. Blake also broke The Professor’s ankles with an in-and-out move, finishing the play with a layup and a mean mug.

Miller did make a nice pass or two, but he is not John Wall.


Let’s remember the good Vines.


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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.