DC Council 38: Wizards vs Spurs — Super Seraphin Sinks San Antonio | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council 38: Wizards vs Spurs — Super Seraphin Sinks San Antonio

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Updated: January 14, 2015

Truth About It.net’s D.C. Council: Grading Washington players from Game No. 38: Wizards versus the Spurs in Washington D.C. Contributor: Rashad Mobley  from the Verizon Center.

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To say the Wizards had a losing streak against the San Antonio Spurs prior to Tuesday night is akin to saying Charlie Brown cannot kick a football while Lucy is holding it. A loss to the Spurs—in San Antonio or D.C.—was as expected as the visual of Charlie Brown flying and flailing in the air after putting his all into a kick that had no chance of connecting.

The Wizards’ last victory against the Spurs came in November of 2005, when Gilbert Arenas went for 43 points and Tim Duncan shot just 3-for-18. Washington won that game, 110-95. Arenas’ successor, John Wall, had gone 0-for-his career (seven games) against the Spurs over a span of almost five years.

So when the Wizards lost both their momentum and their 11-point lead in the third quarter, and the Spurs pulled within three points at the start of the fourth quarter, there was reason for the Wizards and the Verizon Center to be nervous.

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But in fourth quarter, one player managed to reverse the 10-year streak of futility. It wasn’t Wall, who carried the Wizards with 25 points and seven assists through the first three quarters but was scoreless with just one assist in the fourth. It wasn’t the Truthful veteran Paul Pierce, who went scoreless in his 2:48 of play in the fourth quarter, and it definitely was not Nene, who was on intangible duty last night (rebounding, finding cutters, occasional scoring) and not completely on his game. The savior on this night was Kevin Seraphin, who had 11 points, five rebounds, and a blocked shot in the decisive quarter of the contest.

Before the game, Coach Gregg Popovich discussed the Spurs’ White House visit, the evolution of John Wall’s jumper as it related to Tony Parker, and the “Golden Era” of the NBA. After the game, all Popovich and his players had on their minds was the performance of young Seraphin.

“He did a good job with nobody on the board except our five men, and we need somebody else on the board. He either scored or he went and got his own rebound and stuck it back in. He was huge for them down the stretch. He did a great job.” —Gregg Popovich

“He brought a lot of energy. He had a good game. They are happy for him. He is improving every year. I know he works hard, and he wants to have a good role on this team. He looks like he found his way, and he is playing better and better.” —Tony Parker

“When a coach knows what to expect from you and knows how to use you, it is definitely helpful, and he’s going to trust you more and put you on the floor. Tonight he was pretty consistent during the whole game and definitely an offensive threat. He’s still a big kid I think, but you learn from experience. He’s been here a number of years and I think year after year he’s learning.” —Boris Diaw

And now, without further delay, there are grades to be distributed to Seraphin and his teammates…

 


San Antonio
Spurs

93

Box
Score

Washington
Wizards

101

Nene Hilario, PF

24 MIN | 2-9 FG | 3-3 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 7 PTS | +11

Usually the knock on Nene is that he scores, passes, but puts up skimpy numbers in the rebounding department. Tuesday night, Nene was unable to find a rhythm with his shot (2-for-9 from the field), and even when he made a pretty pass to a cutting Bradley Beal late in the fourth quarter, he was denied the assist when Tiago Splitter committed the foul. But Nene, being the true pro that he is, found a way to contribute with 10 rebounds—just his second double-digit rebound game this season (he had 11 against the Bulls on Friday night).


Paul Pierce, SF

27 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | +3

The good news is that Paul Pierce was instrumental in the Wizards’ fast start with eight points on good, clean looks in the first quarter. The bad news is that those eight points came in a two-minute span, and he did virtually nothing else of consequence on the offensive side of the ball the rest of the game. Pierce also continued to be a liability on defense by committing bad reaching fouls, and he was slow to jump out on the Spurs 3-point shooters. The months of December and January are notoriously slow for veterans, so perhaps Pierce is waiting until after the All-Star break to spread his wily veteran-ness. But the Wizards sure could use at least one burst of sustained greatness during this difficult stretch.


Marcin Gortat, C

28 MIN | 3-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +7

Much like Pierce, Gortat did most of his damage in the first quarter when he grabbed six of his 11 rebounds and scored six of his seven points. He was effective at drawing Tim Duncan out of the paint and when the Wizards threw him ball, he scored with relative ease. But in the fourth quarter, Kevin Seraphin was more decisive and more efficient, which meant Gortat played just 53 seconds. This just means he’ll be fresh and ready to go against Gasol, Noah, and the rest of the Bulls frontline on Wednesday.


John Wall, PG

36 MIN | 9-15 FG | 5-6 FT | 1 REB | 8 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 25 PTS | +1

Before the game, Coach Gregg Popovich praised John Wall’s maturity, his decision making, and he compared the evolution of Wall’s jumper to Tony Parker’s. Wall then went out and did his very best Tony Parker impression. He scored 25 points, and as Marv Albert is wont to say, he showed the full repertoire. He shot and made consecutive 3-pointers, he hit Parker-like teardrops in the lane, he drove to the basket when he saw openings, and he even posted up and easily scored on Parker. On defense, Wall did not have any steals but he had two big blocks, and he drew a key charge on Danny Green. He was not much of a presence in the fourth quarter, but Super Seraphin bailed him and everyone else out.


Bradley Beal, SG

37 MIN | 4-10 FG | 5-6 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | +9

Randy Wittman removed Bradley Beal from the game with 5:56 left in the first quarter in favor of Rasual Butler—presumably so he could be the focal point of the offense when the second team was in the game. But once the second quarter started, Beal had two quick turnovers, had his shot blocked, and looked out of sync without Wall leading the way. In what seemed to be a theme for every player not named Wall, Seraphin, or Humphries, Beal never found his offensive rhythm. He did, however, find alternative ways to be effective. He had a key block on Parker in the fourth quarter and a big steal on Ginobili a few minutes later. A little bit of offense would have helped the Wizards out greatly, but a well-rounded game beats sulking any day.


Kris Humphries, PF

24 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | -3

Humphries continues to be the quintessential bench/hustle player. He hit consecutive jumpers from 15 and 16 feet respectively in the first quarter and helped to jump-start the scoring from the second unit with six points. He scored just four points in the second half, but he had seven rebounds, a block on Tony Parker towards the start of the fourth quarter, and he later had an important layup to put the Wizards up 92-87. On a night where Nene and Gortat did not seem totally engaged, Humphries stepped in nicely.


Martell Webster, SF

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

Tony Parker talked about how earlier in the season he tried (and failed) to play at full strength with a bum hamstring. Some days he felt like himself, other games he knew he had to sit out more, but he understood it was a process. Martell Webster was out with a back, not a hamstring, but he’s in the throes of that same laborious process, and he really can’t be counted on to do much except play himself into shape.


Rasual Butler, SF

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

When Butler checked in with 5:56 left in the first quarter and hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key 38 seconds later, it appeared as if the Spurs were going to be witnesses to yet another shooting exhibition from the late-blooming veteran. Not so much. Butler was a non-factor on offense, and in what seems to be a recent trend, he continued to struggle against quicker players.


Kevin Seraphin, C

20 MIN | 6-8 FG | 5-5 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | +2

Two seasons ago, last season, and even at times during this season, Kevin Seraphin would often find himself on the wrong end of Coach Randy Wittman’s rants. Seraphin would score via a solid post-up, but then he’d rush a shot, have a defensive lapse or two, and Nene, Gortat, Humphries or Gooden would be checking him for him—but not before Wittman gave him a piece of his grumpy, exasperated mind. In the second half of a losing effort against the Hawks, and more significantly last night in a victory against the Spurs, Coach Wittman trusted Seraphin over Gortat and got much better results. Seraphin scored on post-ups, offensive put-backs, and he put the Wizards on his shoulders in the fourth quarter against Tiago Splitter, Jeff Ayers, and Boris Diaw. Of course, it will take more than two stellar games to win Coach Wittman’s complete trust, but performances like the one Seraphin produced against San Antonio can only help his case. Simply put, Seraphin won the game.


Andre Miller, PG

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

It is kind of cute to call Andre Miller the Professor and occasionally marvel at how bad he can make players like Austin Rivers look despite his advanced age. Then there are nights like Tuesday night when the opposing team’s point guard (Patty Mills, or Cory Joseph) is doing more than outperforming his age, he’s actually influencing the outcome of the game with his offense, his speed, and his annoying style of defense. And when you throw in the fact that Nate Robinson and Jameer Nelson—two older guards with spark left in the tank—were briefly available for the Wizards, it is even more depressing to look at Miller’s lack of influence against the Spurs. Maybe he (like Pierce) is waiting for the All-Star Break before he turns his game up a few notches.


 

‘The’ Vine

 

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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.