DC Council 32: Wizards at Thunder — T-Fest Ends in Tragedy for Washington | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council 32: Wizards at Thunder — T-Fest Ends in Tragedy for Washington

By
Updated: January 3, 2015

Truth About It.net’s D.C. Council:
Grading Washington players from Game No. 32: Wizards versus Thunder in Oklahoma City;
Contributor: Bryan Frantz (@BFrantz202
), from the DMV.

DC-Council-Logo-2

The Wizards held their own against the Western Conference heavyweight Oklahoma City Thunder, but they ultimately fell victim to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, as so many teams do. A lack of aggression on the offensive side of the ball was the biggest issue for Washington all game, and once it got down to the wire, OKC’s stars stepped up while the Wizards’ franchise players looked lost.

Washington was in the game up until the final minute, but the Thunder thoroughly outplayed the Wizards in the fourth quarter and crunch time. As a team that prides itself on defense, there was no pride unbroken against Durant in the second half. Referees getting a little overexcited limited Westbrook’s time in the second half, but once he got back on the court, he was as disruptive as ever and John Wall was noticeably rattled.

Despite losing for the second game in the row, there were some positives for the Wizards to take away from the game. They get a chance for revenge in less than three weeks, so we’ll know then if they learned anything from this outing.


Washington Wizards

102

Box Score

Oklahoma City Thunder

109

Nene Hilario, PF

27 MIN | 6-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | +2

Nene had a fine game overall, especially early, but he was far too passive throughout. He was hardly the only guilty party on Friday night, and he still threw down two highlight dunks off dimes from Andre Miller, but it would have been nice to see him be more assertive with the ball in his hands. After a 10-point first half, he managed just two points on 1-of-3 shooting in the second half with the Wizards desperate for the offense he could have provided.

Nene’s biggest contribution came in the form of a charge he drew on Russell Westbrook, Westbrook’s fourth personal foul, early in the third period. It was perhaps an iffy call, but it went Washington’s way and Westbrook was forced to the bench.


Paul Pierce, SF

20 MIN | 4-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | -1

The Truth made some of those savvy veteran plays he has become known for, such as a key outlet pass to John Wall off a defensive rebound who found Bradley Beal for a 3 in the closing minutes, but he also made Wizards fans realize the value of a lockdown perimeter defender.

Last year, Trevor Ariza would have been handed the uneviable task of marking Kevin Durant in the fourth quarter. Durant did what he does and knocked down deep 3s like they were layups, and the turnstile tandem of Pierce and Rasual Butler was useless against him. That’s not to say Ariza would have shut down KD, but he might have made the reigning MVP work a little harder for his 23 second-half points. Pierce also got caught up in foul trouble early, so he only logged 20 minutes in the contest.


Marcin Gortat, C

32 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +3

Believe it or not, Marcin Gortat played 32 minutes on Friday night. I understand if you’re hesitant to believe that, as it often felt like he wasn’t in the game, but I assure you that number is correct. He didn’t play especially poorly, he just didn’t seem to make much of an effort to get himself going, and didn’t exactly intimidate Westbrook out of the lane.


John Wall, PG

34 MIN | 5-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 12 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | -3

Wall is a tough one to grade. On the one hand, he put up a 14-12 statline with just one turnover, and he held Westbrook to just 8-of-23 from the field. On the other hand, his one turnover was the result of second-guessing and poor offense, and it essentially ended the game. He was the worst offender when it came to lack of aggression by the Wizards, but he made some quality adjustments in the second half and put together a nice game. In Wall’s defense, he got called for a couple of touchy fouls early and that could have had something to do with how he ran the game.

Still, Wall is at his best when he controls the pace of the game, runs the court and looks to create. In the first half, he seemed content to simply bring the ball up the court and let the offense try to create for itself. He needs to be the catalyst, he is the only true creator in the Wizards offense.

Six 3-point attempts (two makes) is perhaps ambitious, but he did drain one from deep late in the shot clock that put Washington up eight early in the second half. He had done a great job of attacking the rim the last two weeks or so, so it was discouraging to seem him abandon that at times.


Bradley Beal, SG

37 MIN | 7-15 FG | 4-4 FT | 10 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 21 PTS | +1

Beal had by far the best game among starters. His 21 points led all Wizards and his 10 rebounds led all players, not to mention he was just four assists away from a triple-double. The young guard was all over the place against OKC, especially early, when he went 3-of-4 for 10 points in the first quarter.

Then, as the theme would suggest, he got passive. Beal missed seven of his final 11 shots and knocked down just one shot (on two attempts) in the fourth quarter. He had his highlights, such as the 3 he knocked down with the help of the ultimate shooter’s bounce and the alley-oop he finished from Wall, but he initially seemed poised to challenge the 33 points he’d put up just a few days earlier.


Kris Humphries, PF

24 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-1 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -11

It was another solid game for Kris Humphries, who offered his typical supply of midrange jumpers and rebounds. Early on, he settled for too many long jump shots without allowing any offensive rhythm to develop, but all was forgiven once he started knocking them down. He also added another put-back dunk to his highlight reel, one that was reminiscent of, but far less exciting than, the one he threw down against the Boston Celtics just a few games ago.


Martell Webster, SF

5 MIN | 0-0 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 1 PTS | -8

Martell Webster is still recovering from back surgery and is clearly not ready to play significant minutes. He did manage to turn it over once in his five minutes of action, however, so there’s that.


Rasual Butler, SF

30 MIN | 4-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | -3

Rasual Butler did Rasual Butler things on Friday. He knocked down 3-of-6 from 3-point range, and he threw down a monster slam on Serge Ibaka. He also did this weird double-clutch layup thing that I can’t find a replay of at the moment, but he airballed it. Butler forced a few long jumpers that weren’t even close and transformed into full-on Hero Ball mode pretty early.

His statline hardly warrants a C+, with the 4-of-12 and no assists being especially jarring numbers, and his defense on Durant was like watching my middle school JV squad take on the Monstars from Space Jam. However, 35-year-old Rasual Butler absolutely posterized Serge Ibaka. If that’s not worthy of a C+, I don’t know what is.


Kevin Seraphin, C

10 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | -11

Kevin Seraphin led the team in concussions dealt to fans Friday night, as countless head injuries were reported from Wizards fans slamming their heads into walls watching Seraphin play. In just 10 minutes of action, Seraphin managed to miss three of four shots and commit two turnovers and two fouls, all while picking up a plus/minus differential of minus-11. Remarkable.

On a related note, can we talk about the Seraphin hook shot for a moment? It’s a thing of beauty when it goes in, like a majestic gazelle gliding toward the basket. Then there are the times it doesn’t go in, and it looks like Albert Haynesworth on ice skates. The gazelle did not make an appearance Friday night.


DeJuan Blair, C

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

He played! In the first half, no less! DeJuan Blair came in for Nene for about two minutes toward the end of the first half, picking up a rebound and a foul in the process. That’s basically his game though. Rebounds and fouls. So kudos on the execution, DeJuan.


Andre Miller, PG

20 MIN | 5-9 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | -4

Forget Wall and Beal, Durant and Westbrook. This game was all about the Andre Miller show. Not only does he still have the handle, he’s still got the hops on the jumper.

The 15 points he scored in 20 minutes of action does not adequately describe his impact on this game, as he was often more effective than Wall on offense. His defensive deficiencies will always limit him, but this was yet another lesson on how to be the best backup point guard in the NBA by Professor Andre Miller.


Otto Porter Jr., SF

DNP – COACH’S DECISION

Webster’s return, though he is still recovering, makes Otto Porter’s life difficult going forward. The Wizards now have Pierce, Webster, Butler, and Porter who all play small forward by nature, and there are simply not enough minutes to go around for all four. Porter received his first healthy scratch of the season against the Thunder, though it might be the first of many if he doesn’t change Randy Wittman’s mind soon.

Vine Alert.

 

Bryan Frantz on EmailBryan Frantz on LinkedinBryan Frantz on Twitter
Bryan Frantz
Reporter / Writer at TAI
Bryan is a D.C. native with a degree in something or other from UNC. He has important, interesting hobbies, but mostly he just weeps over D.C. sports teams. You can find him on the Metro, inevitably complaining about Red Line delays.