DC Council 54: Wizards at Raptors — Fossilized In The North | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council 54: Wizards at Raptors — Fossilized In The North

Updated: February 12, 2015

Truth About It.net’s D.C. Council:
Grading Wizards players from Game No. 54: Wizards versus Raptors in Canada.
Contributor: John Converse Townsend from Hipsterville, U.S.A.


Three up, three down. But not in the way you’d like to draw it up if you were, say, a head coach of a professional basketball team—say, Washington Head Coach Randy Wittman. Because “three down” in this context means three losses to the Toronto Raptors, now three and a half games ahead of the Wizards in the East.

“(Beating Toronto) would be great for us,” John Wall said earlier this week. “We could have beaten them [in D.C.] last time, first time they blew us out. This is the last time we play this team until we maybe play them in the playoffs, so you have to go out there and let this team know they don’t have full advantage and they can dominate you any time they want.”

Yeah, that didn’t happen. Full advantage: Drake and the Dinosaurs. It can’t get much worse than that.

Or maybe it can … since coaching was again, in my humble opinion, a big reason why the Wizards dropped another winnable game on the road. You want specifics, eh?

Drew Gooden played 12 fourth-quarter minutes. Garrett Temple played 11:47. Those two play with a lot of heart and hustle, but are they are not better, objectively speaking, than Marcin Gortat and Otto Porter, neither of whom saw a second of floor time in the final quarter.



Oh. OK then.

Wednesday night’s game was close, at least: 14 lead changes, a two-point margin of victory.

But this is what a #MoralVictory looks like:

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 12.03.57 AM




Washington Wizards



Box Score

Toronto Raptors


Nene Hilario, PF

25 MIN | 7-8 FG | 0-2 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | -3 +/-

TAI’s Kyle Weidie, in the third quarter, tweeted: “I really like this year’s Nene, BTW. Better than any other Nene’s in any other year.” Co-sign.

Nene has looked spry—so spry—in his last few games: dunking, jumping passing lanes, dancing past dudes in the post. Plus, his defense is usually terrific and it didn’t disappoint against the Raptors frontline.

However, despite being 7-for-8 from the field, Nene didn’t get a shot off in six fourth-quarter minutes. That’s less on him as it is on the bench mob dominating possessions in an effort to seal the deal—too much responsibility, not enough ability.

Paul Pierce, SF

30 MIN | 7-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 2-4 3P | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | +3 +/-

The free throw Pierce missed with the Wizards down four, 89-93, hurt. But not as bad as Pierce giving up a 16-foot jump shot to DeMar DeRozan with 12 seconds left on the clock. DeRozan beat Pierce with his own move: the crossover, the pump fake, the step-through, the leaner. Pierce, to his credit, did everything he could to contest the shot—it just wasn’t enough.

The good: Paul made as many 3s as the rest of the Wizards in the second half (just two), tipped in a miss at the rim, anticipated and cut off driving angles to the hoop, and finished the game with more points than all but three players (Lou Williams, DeRozan, and Wall).

Marcin Gortat, C

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

The Polish Machine had a strong start to the game. He was playing good defense, for the most part. He did give up two baskets to Jonas Valanciunas. The first time, Gortat was pissed and fired the ball back into play from the baseline. The second time, he hung his head and yelled obscenities.

Note to Gortat: You play basketball, dude. You’re going to give up points in the paint as a big man. Chill. You’re way too hard on yourself sometimes. It’s not good for your game, on either end.

But the close-range jumpers were falling, and Gortat was blocking shots and rebounding the ball. He had nine points and eight rebounds after three quarters, before Wittman decided he needed MOAR Drew Gooden. The ol’ ball coach would later defend the decision to bench Gortat for the final 12 minutes.


John Wall, PG

36 MIN | 7-15 FG | 1-6 3P | 6-8 FT | 4 REB | 8 AST | 1 STL | 5 TO | 21 PTS | -7 +/-

John Wall pushed the pace, found open players, made the game as easy as possible for his teammates, and, when he saw an opportunity, sprinted past the entire Raptors team for buckets.

Wizards watchers will remember this game (for a few days) as the one where Wall missed a desperation 3 at the end of the game, after Wittman’s “elevator doors” went absolutely nowhere (no respect for execution). But Washington’s best player led the team in scoring for the 23rd time this season and, two minutes before the final buzzer, hit a 3 to tie the game at 93.

“We just have to do a better job of closing out quarters,” Wall said. Totally. (Having your starting center in the game might help in that regard.)

Garrett Temple, SG

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

Temple was bought into the game to slow, or stop, Lou Williams. Which he didn’t do early, giving up shots (makes) inside and outside and didn’t do late: Williams scored a game-high 8 points in the fourth quarter.

Also, Lou Williams swatted a Temple layup attempt at the hoop. So, yeah, Wittman’s “utility infielder” totally lost his one-on-one battle.

Drew Gooden, PF

29 MIN | 5-12 FG | 0-1 3P | 1-1 FT | 12 REB | 3 AST | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -5 +/-

Gooden had a great game! He put his body in harm’s way—in front of Patrick Patterson, never an enviable task—and contributed in other ways, including completing a home-run pass to John Wall for a transition layup and raining long 2-pointers in the fourth quarter.

…Did you sense the “but” coming?

He choked on a crucial late-game possession. Nene found Gooden in the corner, wide-open, but he turned down the look and put the ball on the floor. Which was fine, a reasonable enough idea, I suppose, until he then decided to fake a pass to Nene (now under the hoop) before firing an awkward floating push shot, which hit the backboard, the side of the rim and fell harmlessly into the outstretched arms of Patterson.

The score was tied at 93. There were 35 seconds left in the game.

Otto Porter Jr., SF

21 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-3 3P | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 TO | 6 PTS | +4 +/-

Otto had the hops to finish two alley-oops from Optimus Dime, which was cool. He also missed four wide-open looks from all over the floor, which was not so cool. Even Phil Chenier and Steve Buckhantz were like, ‘C’mon, son, you’ve got to make those.’

Rasual Butler, SF

18 MIN | 2-10 FG | 1-4 3P | 3 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | -5 +/-

Rasual Butler made the Wizards’ first 3-pointer of the game in the second quarter, and then missed shot after shot after shot after shot after shot….

Kevin Seraphin, C

17 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -4 +/-

Kevin Seraphin was destroying Tyler Hansbrough in the first half. He was too big, his touch too soft: unstoppable. He was also rotating with real purpose on the defensive side of the floor, rejecting rubes, and even demonstrated a developing understanding of the law of verticality. Unfortunately for the Wizards, and Seraphin, Hansbrough didn’t play at all in the second half.

Another thing: For all of Seraphin’s newfound willingness to pass the ball, he’s often slightly off target, which cancels out any positive effects of otherwise productive ball movement. See, his teammates are forced to focus to gather a short hop, or leave their feet to pull down a pass that’s high, wide and not at all handsome.

Andre Miller, PG

12 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-1 3P | 2 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +5 +/-

Andre Miller’s first real action of the game was an attempt to post-up Greivis Vasquez, who’s four inches taller than the Professor and a much better athlete. Not the wisest decision but … no, really: the possession ended in an airball a few seconds later.

On another possession, Miller surprised everybody in the building by shifting into third gear, gliding into the paint and kissing a lefty layup off the glass. He made some nice passes too, including a sweet dish to Gooden, but that take to the hole was as good as it got.

Randy Wittman

“They fought down the stretch and made one more play than we did,” Wittman said post-game.

That’s true. And there’s nothing that the Wizards players or coaching staff could have done about that.

(OK, that last part isn’t true.)



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John Converse Townsend
Reporter / Writer / Co-Editor at TAI
John has been part of the editorial team at TAI since 2010. He likes: pocket passes, chase-down blocks, 3-pointers. He dislikes: typos, turnovers, midrange jump shots.