DC Council 45: Wizards at Nuggets — 'Thank You, Kenneth' | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council 45: Wizards at Nuggets — ‘Thank You, Kenneth’

Updated: January 26, 2015

Truth About It.net’s D.C. Council:
Grading Wizards players from Game No. 45: Wizards versus Nuggets in Denver.
Contributor: Conor Dirks from his D.C. abode.


The Wizards beat the Nuggets with their feet full of bullet holes. By turns encouraging and disappointing, and wholly excruciating, the “craziest game of the year” (according to John Wall) culminated in a rare moment. After Denver’s Wilson Chandler hit a 3-pointer with three seconds remaining to bring the score within two (117-115), Paul Pierce hurried to inbound the ball and threw it right at Ty Lawson, creating a really unfortunate situation: a wide-open Lawson, with 3 seconds left, taking a shot to tie it. But instead of getting to the basket, or dishing to one of his frontcourt teammates to his left, Lawson pulled up from 13 feet out, and … missed. He just missed, plain and simple.

Despite the basketball histrionics, there was joy to be found, even before the relief settled in. Pierce, whose left eye was swelling shut after an encounter with one of Nene’s limbs, had recently received an unsolicited vote of confidence from TNT’s Reggie Miller, false prophet, holder of bad opinions (at least for the night).

That Wall went on to control the game, both with his passing and his defense, while Pierce almost fumbled away a hard-won victory, makes Miller a GREAT player that just can’t have the phone in his hands in end of game situations. #JustMyOpinion.

The overtime caper wasn’t the first escape of the evening. With under two seconds remaining and the game tied in regulation, Kenneth Faried was at the line with a chance to hit a pair of potentially game-winning free throws. He … missed both of them. What else can you say?

Pierce, after the game, summed it up well to media in Denver: “Thank you, Kenneth.” And then, on Lawson’s miss to end overtime: “Thank you, thank you, Ty Lawson.”

Let’s break out the red pens.







Nene Hilario, PF

30 MIN | 7-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 14 PTS | +3 +/-

The Nuggets traded Nene for JaVale McGee just months after signing him to a long-term, expensive deal. “Buyer’s remorse” was the word out of Denver, as the Nuggets struggled to reconcile Nene’s missed games with the financial commitment.

But the script has officially flipped, and the Nuggets surely have seller’s remorse after watching Nene deliver another virtuoso performance, showcasing his relationship with Wall, his defensive presence, and his ability to get to the basket despite being surrounded by defenders.

And Javello Magoo? I’m not sure he even came up in the conversation, much less the game. All in a Nene’s work.

Paul Pierce, SF

33 MIN | 4-9 FG | 10-14 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 19 PTS | -7 +/-

With the offense sagging, Pierce pressed the issue, getting to the line five more times than the rest of the team combined.

The Wizards signed Pierce in no small part for late-game situations, for finding baskets that just aren’t there, and for making his own luck. The free throws are great evidence of that. The botched inbounds play? Not so much.

Marcin Gortat, C

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

Gortat saw fewer minutes than Kris Humphries in the contest, largely because Humphries was on fire. But hopefully the Polish Machine was entering some data into his mainframe, because Humphries, limited as he is in some ways, showed what Washington needs more from Gortat: ripping, tearing, offensive rebounding, and tip-ins at the basket. Gortat also allowed opponents to shoot 60 percent at the rim, while Humphries held opponents to 37.5 percent.

Accumulating 28 minutes in an overtime game is a nice reprieve from a health perspective, but it’s also telling. Gortat’s pick-and-roll game with Wall hasn’t yet become automatic (as it is between Wall and Nene), and without that in place, Gortat’s value decreases.

John Wall, PG

42 MIN | 8-16 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 16 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 19 PTS | +5 +/-

Wall had a hand in 10 of Washington’s 12 overtime points, either assisting or scoring on all but the first basket of the extra frame. He also shot 70 percent on attempts inside the 3-point line, found his teammates over and over again, and, most encouragingly, seemed to be testing out a probing dribble that worked like gangbusters from the jump. With his team down two in the final minute of regulation, Wall pushed the ball toward the basket, recognized he no longer had a lane, kept his dribble alive while pulling the ball back out, and then drove the other direction, opening a seam just big enough for Nene to catch and stretch to the basket for a layup.

And the 3-point attempts? Keep them coming, especially when they’re wide-open.

Bradley Beal, SG

28 MIN | 6-11 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | +2 +/-

At this point, it’s clear to me that Beal has a Bluetooth device snugly lodged in his ear that plays Aloe Blacc on repeat. Everyone who has watched Beal play knows he could be a fantastic NBA player one day, but if you watch enough of the team, you see the hard work scattered at his feet, yet to be taken up. As a defender, Beal gets caught out of position far too much, and still “ball watches,” even in late-game situations. In losses to the Thunder and Blazers, that was made manifest. As a shooter, he settles, again and again, for the easy way out, and struggles to finish through contact.

Against the Nuggets, Beal tried, valiantly, to get position on a driving Kenneth Faried in the waning seconds of regulation. He was still moving when Faried collided with him, and the Nuggets got two free throws while Beal was exiled after picking up his sixth foul. In a sense, he saved the game: Faried missed both.

Kris Humphries, PF

33 MIN | 9-13 FG | 3-4 FT | 14 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 21 PTS | 0 +/-

Secret Weapon! Kris Humphries may look goofy at times, may run like he’s being prodded by newly sharpened pencils, and may throw his hands up dramatically every time he’s touched, but he has a certain toughness to him nonetheless. Or at least a willingness to create opportunities from mistakes and oversights by the other team, and to put himself in a position to benefit. Like Jon Lovitz in “The Wedding Singer.”

Otto Porter Jr., SF

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

It was Martell’s turn to play.

Martell Webster, SF

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

It was Martell’s turn to play! And for the first time this season, Webster turned in a good performance. Flashes of the Webster of old showed up against the Blazers, where Webster cut to the basket over and over for Andre Miller.

Against the Nuggets, Webster hit a few uncontested shots, and didn’t look like he was going to limp off the court at any moment.

Rasual Butler, SF

28 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | +8 +/-

Butler was more of a cog than a trebuchet against the Nuggets, playing his part in the ball movement offense that the Wizards attempt to run. His shot is falling off, but not precipitously enough for concern just yet.

Kevin Seraphin, C

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

With almost as many points as minutes, Seraphin held up his end of the bargain. While Wittman may feel that it is a deal with the devil at times (Seraphin is not a willing passer), Seraphin’s passion for scoring has finally become a useful tool.

Andre Miller, PG

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

The Andre Miller I know and love doesn’t miss as many layups as this guy has over the last week. In the last four games, Miller is 1-for-9 at the rim. He, however, did hit a jumper in Jameer Nelson’s grill.

Randy Wittman

Perhaps the team should spend some practice time on inbound plays. Washington almost turned it over on several occasions late in the overtime period, and then actually turned it over late in the overtime period. All the cumulative “Faces of Randy Wittman” in the world would not have compared to the despairing glare should Ty Lawson have nailed that final shot.



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Conor Dirks
Reporter / Writer / Co-Editor at TAI
Conor has been with TAI since 2012, and aids in the seamless editorial process that brings you the kind of high-octane blogging you have come to expect from this rad website. The Wizards have been an assiduous companion throughout his years on the cosmic waiver wire. He lives in D.C. and is day-to-day.