D.C. Council 46: Wizards at Lakers — The Stomach Punch That Wasn't | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

D.C. Council 46: Wizards at Lakers — The Stomach Punch That Wasn’t

Updated: January 28, 2015

Truth About It.net’s D.C. Council:
Grading Wizards players from Game No. 46: Wizards versus Lakers in Los Angeles.
Contributor: Sean Fagan from Brooklyn, NY.


“Tell me when you recognize the guys in red, white and blue.” —Steve Buckhantz to Phil Chenier midway through the second quarter.

Watching the transformation of Steve Buckhantz as an announcer who used to describing the exploits of a terrible basketball team to an announcer who expects success has been a truly fascinating experience. Gone are some of the beloved tics that were evident during the Wizards’ dark days: the exasperated sigh after a terrible pass, the indignation over a boneheaded play, and the disbelief when the Wizards managed to lose yet another heartbreaker to a buzzer-beater from an opponent’s seventh-best player. Buckhantz expects and demands a level of consistency from the current team because he has been through the tunnel (along with Phil Chenier) and has emerged into the light to finally cover a team that he can announce and analyze without caveats and predicting gloom and doom.

However, it was nice to have old Buck back last night, at least for one half, as the Wizards came out cold and quickly found themselves staring down a 19-point deficit to a injury-ravaged Lakers team. Buckhantz was not scathing in his commentary, but it was obvious that his annoyance was growing after each improbable made Wayne Ellington jumper and the fact that Robert Sacre, of all people, was outmaneuvering the Wizards in the post.

That the Wizards stormed back into the game on impressive performances from John Wall and Bradley Beal was almost as enjoyable as Buck discussing with Chenier about how unneccessary the run should have been considering the quality of competition and how Randy Wittman had probably hoped to rest his starters for most of the game. At close to 1:00 a.m. on the East Coast, one realizes how lucky D.C. fans are to have the broadcast duo calling the game, because while a win is a win, they were both unafraid to call the team out on its shortcomings.





Los Angeles


Nene Hilario, PF

26 MIN | 2-7 FG | 2-3 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | +9 +/-

It was not the type of night that Nene will want to put on his CV when he returns to Brazil and raises the most lowly of souls to heights of basketball bliss. The spin moves to the posts were stripped by the likes of Robert Sacre, the passes were errant (if downright sloppy), and the shots were a tad ill-advised. Yet there were the huge rebounds at the end of the game, the conversion of unexpected free throws, and the fact that Nene always manages to make that one “glue play” that reminds you of his benevolent worth.

Otto Porter Jr., SF

30 MIN | 5-9 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | +6 +/-

Surprise starter Otto Porter looked the part of a young ingenue for almost the entirety of the first half, getting lost in transition, muscled down by larger big men, and looking a tad overmatched against the dregs of the Lakers frontline. Quote from Phil Chenier when Otto was backing down guard Jordan Clarkson: “Wizards taking advantage of the big-small mismatch … uh, well, Otto is taller.” But then second-half Otto appeared and the clouds parted and all was right with the world. It was ungainly, it didn’t inspire concrete confidence, but Porter managed to not break anything permanently while he was on the court.

Marcin Gortat, C

29 MIN | 5-7 FG | 1-1 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +8 +/-

The Polish Hammer ran into his arch-nemesis on the evening, the dreaded zebra. Gortat was whistled for a shady blocking foul and went full Nene on the referee, barking at him from the prone position. Gortat did enliven the Wizards fans in attendance by demonstrating the team had a pulse in the second quarter with a furious jam off of a John Wall assist.

John Wall, PG

36 MIN | 8-12 FG | 5-12 FT | 9 REB | 13 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 21 PTS | +9 +/-

If the end result of the game had been any different, John Wall may have received a C, for the simple matter that his free throw shooting form departed him on the evening: he clanged six shots off the back of the iron. As it stands, the rest of Wall’s performance was transcendent as he willed the Wizards back from a 19-point deficit, locking down on defense, exploiting Jeremy Lin, and getting to the basket at will. Wall basically strapped the team on his back and refused to let them lose the game. Not much more can be asked of your franchise player, and for now, you can blame the free throws on the migraine Wall complained about after the game.

Bradley Beal, SG

38 MIN | 9-18 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 19 PTS | +8 +/-

Somewhere in the last week Bradley Beal had a personality transplant and is starting to do the things that people have been pleading for him to do for the last several months. Beal went on his own personal 9-0 run in the third quarter, but it was the way he did it that has to excite Wizards fans. With his outside shot not falling, Beal went to the basket early and often and for once did not shy from contact. Some of the resultant shots were ill-advised, but you take the bad with good if Beal has finally decided to add slashing to his repertoire.

Kris Humphries, PF

26 MIN | 2-5 FG | 4-4 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +1 +/-

I see you, Kris Humphris. I see those 11 rebounds. I appreciate that you did not take too many 20-footers. I also appreciate your efficiency at the line. You sir, are a true mensch.

Martell Webster, SF

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

After a knee-to-knee collision with Jeremy Lin, Webster was taken back into the Wizards locker room to be evaluated. It was disappointing to see as Webster appeared to finally be finding his footing in the offensive scheme and was giving his best effort on defense. As an X-Factor for the rest of the year, Webster’s continuing to develop comfort in the system Wittman has in place.

Kevin Seraphin, C

15 MIN | 2-6 FG | 3-4 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -6 +/-

#KSLife attempted to do too much in the Wizards’ first aborted attempt at a comeback. He settled in nicely to give Nene valuable rest in the fourth quarter.

Randy Wittman

Wittman was probably hoping for a Wizards blowout, which would have allowed him to rest his starters a bit before crucial “measuring stick” games against Phoenix and Toronto. However, the Wizards’ performance was so dreadful in the first half that Wittman may have realized that losing to the Lakers and a once-in-a-lifetime Wayne Ellington performance was bound to have resounding psychological consequences for his team. So he rolled out the starters for the majority of the third quarter and his imploring of the Wizards to lock down on defense resulted in a bevy of Lakers turnovers. It wasn’t pretty, but Wittman always values a W over a learning experience.




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Sean Fagan
Reporter / Writer/Gadfly at TAI
Based in Brooklyn, NY, Sean has contributed to TAI since the the dawn of Jan Vesely and has been on the Wizards beat since 2008. His work has been featured on ESPN, Yahoo and SI.com. He still believes that Mike Miller never got a fair shot.