DC Council 41: Wizards at Nets — Bigs Carry Load on Bridge Out of Brooklyn | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council 41: Wizards at Nets — Bigs Carry Load on Bridge Out of Brooklyn

Updated: January 19, 2015

Truth About It.net’s D.C. Council:
Grading Washington players from Game No. 41: Wizards versus the Nets in Brooklyn.
Contributor: Kyle Weidie from the District of Columbia.


A Wizards 99-90 win over the Nets on Saturday was the greasy, post-hangover breakfast that helps slightly cure the ills of Friday night, when a 22-point loss to the very same team happened. The win was still not an ideal arrangement for Washington’s body of work to date, 41 games into a 82-game regular season—they need to treat the temple better (although 28-13 isn’t bad). In this battle, they simply had the larger temple in the front court, and just enough fire from everyone else to see where they were going.

Kevin Garnett came out cooking on the midrange grill from Brooklyn while the Wizards investigated effectiveness (and ineffectiveness) of long jumpers. Would it last? Good question, but a 26-23 first quarter was the start the Nets needed—their defense was able to complement ball movement from the Wizards that didn’t really pop. Brooklyn held their own in the second quarter, too. Joe Johnson was more engaged, giving Bradley Beal trouble with his size, so Randy Wittman started sending double-teams. Jarrett Jack kept the problems he generally gives to Washington consistent, showing nice pick-and-roll rapport with Mason Plumlee in putting on the pressure. But the Wizards’ big man depth—speaking about Kris Humphries and Kevin Seraphin—each scored five in the second quarter to help keep Washington down just one point at half. That duo still struggled on defense, however, and the Wizards were minus-3 over their 15 minutes together.

The third quarter changed the game for Washington. John Wall, Beal, and Wittman’s play-calling, had helped establish Nene from the game’s beginning. But more importantly, Nene helped establish himself. Nene scored eight points in the period after intermission (seven in the first half, 20 on the night) and helped turn the tide once the Nets had built a seven-point lead in the third. Defining moment: Marcin Gortat made the extra cross-court pass to Beal for a 3 on the right wing, but he missed. Nene positioned himself for the offensive board, secured it, and strong-armed the rim with a dunk. Wall next displayed his ability to make needed plays with a floater. Brooklyn called timeout but it was too late at that point, Washington’s starters clicked just enough, winning the quarter 27-19.

Seraphin grabbed attention with seven points in the fourth quarter, taking advantage of a slow-footed Brook Lopez. But it was Nene’s steadfastness on the evening and bounce-back energy from Gortat, who was embarrassed on Friday night, that dug Washington out of the trenches. Nene, Gortat, Humphries, and Seraphin combined to score 55 of their team’s 99 points.

The Wizards didn’t walk out of Brooklyn triumphantly. Instead, they crawled out a ditch with necessity to return home. While totally acceptable, this team continues to search for ways to stand up.

Let’s grade.







Nene Hilario, PF

28 MIN | 8-12 FG | 4-8 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 20 PTS | +8 +/-

Touch of gray beard Nene put the Wizards on his shoulders Saturday. Well, not too much, say his internal monitors of wear-and-tear and what they will allow. Sometimes you wonder if Nene is too methodical, too plodding, too much of an assessor, but then you realize that’s what makes him so great. He’s got a balanced game—sure he’s a diva, but he doesn’t need to conduct himself as athletes usually do when craving attention. Nene knows his body best, and on Saturday he did a great job at using it to shield ball from defender as he maneuvered in paint. He puts more value in demoralizing an opponent than he does on his fingers. His barely elevating, rim-assaulting dunks can’t be kind on the digits, but the way he pauses after a monster dunk nicely rubs in his presence. Is Nene intimidating the opponent? Who knows. Whatever he needs to keep himself going is the real answer.

Paul Pierce, SF

26 MIN | 2-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 7 PTS | +4 +/-

Pierce was relatively ineffective against his former team, but sometimes his mere presence, even in missing threatening shots, is enough. Would’ve been nice for him to make more 3s (2-6), even if those two make came at the right times. Of course, worth noting that Pierce’s 38.7 percent from deep this season is his best since 2009-10 (41.4%) and the seventh-best percentage of his 17-season career. Appreciate the veteran, but hope that he’s careful (perhaps taking MLK Day vs the 76ers off). Pierce had more of an old man game on Saturday, and not the good type but in a ‘dribbling the ball off a foot turnover’ and ‘tripping Gortat in offensive transition’ type.

Marcin Gortat, C

32 MIN | 5-6 FG | 0-2 FT | 16 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +10 +/-

It was an appropriate recovery for Marcin Gortat—give him a gold coin, replace the rubber mallet with an actual hammer, oil up the machine. He mechanically worked on the glass in the beginning—Gortat is damn athletic, so no reason not to rack up tip-backs, 50-50 rebound saves, and sprints past Brook Slowpez. Gortat’s jumpers can be a confidence-building delight for all, as long as he does the willing passer thing (which he is so good at*) and allows those jumper chances to come only as an offensive release valve and not via a first-touch look.

* Stats Only: Washington’s assists per 100 possessions rate is second-best with Gortat on the court—19.5, second to Bradley Beal’s 19.7 (min. 100 minutes played).

John Wall, PG

36 MIN | 5-15 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 6 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 11 PTS | +10 +/-

One of the skirmishes that helped define the competitiveness of the game was John Wall’s inability to stay in front of Jarrett Jack (who scored 22 points on 18 shots with eight assists but also five turnovers; Jack had 26 points on Friday night). While it’s true that the second line of defense could help more in certain situations, television’s Phil Chenier once called out Wall after an open complaint about such—he gambled wrong, it was his fault. The handful of times that Wall couldn’t staying in front of Jack—even without the threat of a screen—along with getting beat on a back cut, hints that Wall, for whatever reason, wasn’t as engaged on defense as he can be, especially when Wall is in a more marquee match-ups. But, seeing as he is the better player than Jack, he won this battle, although Wall’s 24 total points (25 shots), 12 assists and six turnovers over the back-to-back set versus Brooklyn (along with the 1-1 draw) doesn’t really make a convincing case.

On Saturday, Wall still managed the game fairly, pushed the pace early, got teammates involved as necessary (especially Nene), and displayed bursts of his jet engine late in the game to help put Washington just over the top.

Bradley Beal, SG

39 MIN | 5-12 FG | 5-6 FT | 9 REB | 8 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | +13 +/-

Playing against the herky-jerky Joe Johnson, Beal displayed some of his own hesitation and stop-and-go moves on Saturday. He missed some open jumpers early, took some unideal shots, but made some buckets in smooth baby panda hair manners. His command of offensive spacing is slowly increasing, Beal just needs to keep that 3-point line in mind. He made one long 2 with his toe on the line, and later had to be reminded by Nene to further space the floor (and still almost got caught inside the 3-point line before making a nice extra pass to Pierce, who hit a 3). Most impressive was Beal’s display of his known complete game: rebounds (9), free throw trips (5-6), and dimes (8)—two to Pierce for 3s, two to Nene, and the rest to four different Wizards.

Kris Humphries, PF

19 MIN | 6-7 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | 0 +/-

Humphries came off the bench tipping in free throw misses and soon after was rewarded for running with John Wall by getting a lob pas for a dunk. Then came the jumpers. More jumpers. MOAR JUMPERS! He hit from 19, 19, and 20 feet before missing another 19-footer that was somewhat of a heat check. Humphries is shooting an amazing 50 percent on 2-pointers beyond 15 feet this season (67-134).

Otto Porter Jr., SF

9 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -4 +/-

Literally all he did was slinky himself a rebound and stumble onto an assist. Otherwise, I’m not sure Otto actually played.

Rasual Butler, SF

23 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +5 +/-

Rasual came off a screen for a jumper early in the second quarter—when you’re Washington’s offense and you have a guy hot for the season, run plays for him. Butler hit a crazy moonshot 3 to end the third quarter and put the Wizards up seven. I would like to see, per sports science, how quick Butler’s release is compared to a Kyle Korver’s. Butler got a slashing bucket late in the fourth quarter, making Brooklyn respect him. He was just what was needed.

Kevin Seraphin, C

16 MIN | 5-7 FG | 2-4 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | -1 +/-

Feed Seraphin. This is very important. He has such great touch; is getting better at taking his time on offense; and has un-learned playing next to the likes of Blatche, McGee and Nick Young. And, contrary to popular belief, is willing to make the extra pass. Seraphin is also confident on offense—sometimes too confident—but it has to be built somehow and on occasion, who else is going to shoot, Jordan Crawford?

The skills of #KSlife were on display in Brooklyn and he helped charge the game-winning stretch in the fourth quarter. On 2-pointers beyond 15 feet this season, Seraphin is third best on the team (44.7%). Better yet, he’s killing the NBA on hook shots within nine feet of the basket, leading all 42 players who have attempted 25 or more at 75.6 percent. The next four behind him: Thaddeus Young (67.9%), LaMarcus Aldridge (63.6%), Amar’e Stoudemire (63%), and Roy Hibbert (62.5%). Even better, you could audibly hear Seraphin talking on defense over television. Time to admit: Seraphin is pretty good, sometimes.

Andre Miller, PG

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

Andre Miller tried his best by not attempting a single shot.



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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.