DC Council 55: Wizards vs Cavaliers — There Will Be Bloody Pixels | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council 55: Wizards vs Cavaliers — There Will Be Bloody Pixels

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Updated: February 22, 2015

Truth About It.net’s D.C. Council:
Grading Wizards players from Game No. 55: Wizards versus Cavaliers in Washington.
Contributor: Adam McGinnis from the District.

washington wizards, cleveland cavaliers, nba, john wall, nene, otto porter, truth about it

photo courtesy of Monumental Sports

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Friday night was set up for a entertaining time on Fun Street. Washington’s nemesis, LeBron James, was in town and the match-up between between All-Star guards John Wall and Kyrie Irving is always a treat. Both teams continue to battle for positioning in the Eastern Conference standings and a future tiebreaker for playoff seeding was potentially on the line. The game was televised in primetime on ESPN and played out live in front of a sold-out crowd.

But instead of entertainment, the evening ended up being a debacle for Washington. The Cavs dominated the hapless Wizards in every facet of the contest. James and Irving got to the hoop at will, Washington missed their first 13 3-pointers, and the Cavaliers knocked in 14 long-range shots.

To make matters worse, infamous Wall-hater, agent David Falk, strutted around the arena like he owned the place. I witnessed him take a “selfie” with CNN’s Wolf Blizter. The actual owner of the Wizards, Ted Leonsis, appeared oblivious to the beatdown and behaved as if he were at a Hollywood cocktail party by chumming it up with Jamie Foxx next to the team’s bench. For a successful business man who prides himself in marketing to his loyal customers, it is a bad look and opens himself up to a justifiable line of criticism. Ted knows better, too.

In Randy Wittman’s postgame press conference, he said that his team lost their “edge” and “nastiness” over the All-Star break. But honestly, this style advantage has been gone for awhile now. After beating the Spurs and the Bulls in a back-to-back in mid-January, the Wizards were blown out in the following game at home by the subpar Brooklyn Nets. Including that defeat, the Wizards have won just six of their last 16 games. The six wins have been against the Nets twice, the 76ers, the Nuggets, the Lakers, and the Magic. Those teams currently have a combined record of 85-187, a .310 winning percentage. The 10 losses have been to teams with a combined record of 251-181, a .590 winning percentage. Put differently: The Wizards can’t beat good teams.

During Washington’s 2015 fall to mediocrity (11-13 record this calendar year), “Is it time to panic?” has been thrown around as a legitimate debate question. This inquiry might be the wrong way to approach the Wizards’ struggles, as this team may simply be regressing to what they’ve been set up to be all along. The Wizards have more bad teams coming up on the schedule (Hi, Philly and Flip!) that will help pad the win column while they will likely continue to fall short against elite squads(Golden State comes to town on Tuesday), especially without Bradley Beal.

To quote an ex-Wizard, Mike Miller: “It is what it is.”

OK, let’s grade Friday night’s atrocity.


 

Cleveland Cavaliers

127

Final

Box Score

Washington Wizards

89

Nene Hilario, PF

25 MIN | 8-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 18 PTS | -5 +/-

There were few positive takeaways and the play of Nene was one of them. He had a strong opening quarter and finished well around the hoop. There was a scare when Nene came up limping in the second half and #Pray4Nenes were flying around #WizardsTwitter. It turned out to be a cramp. WHEW.


Paul Pierce, SF

28 MIN | 3-10 FG | 3-3 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 9 PTS | -6 +/-

Pierce was a defensive liability and could not knock down any open shots. The break didn’t make him look any younger, either.


Otto Porter Jr., SF

30 MIN | 3-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 4 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | -8 +/-

Young Simba got the starting nod for the injured Bradley Beal and was able to show some useful things. He was active in passing lanes and cut well to the hoop. However, his shooting weakness is still apparent, and I’m still unsure if he is a rotation player down the stretch of the season.


Marcin Gortat, C

27 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -28 +/-

Just when you think Marcin had busted out of his 2015 slump, he throws out another dud. He was indecisive on offense, lost on defense, fumbled away multiple easy loose balls, and was completely outplayed by the Cavs’ big men. Gortat finished with a plus/minus of minus-28. His center counterpart, Timofey Mozgov, was a plus-42. Sure, those on/off numbers always need proper context, but a 70-point difference? Good grief, Gortat.


John Wall, PG

32 MIN | 8-16 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 9 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 4 TO | 18 PTS | -11 +/-

Plenty of blame to go around for this whooping, but don’t point the finger at No. 2. Wall did his All-Star starter stuff by racing to the hoop and filling up the stat sheet. His defense could have been a tad better versus Kyrie Irving, but both of them put up similar offensive numbers. Irving triumphed in this battle of former No. 1 overall picks because he had a better supporting cast, but, somehow, Wall finished with nine assists when his teammates were ice cold from outside.


Kris Humphries, PF

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

Secret Weapon made little impact, and he might still be bothered by his sore back, which he hurt against the Magic on the Monday before the All-Star break.


Drew Gooden, PF

12 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -8 +/-

Gooden got most of his run when the game was out of hand in the second half. He still was able to earn on a spot on the bloopers with this messed up sequence. I chucked a stats sheet up in the air after he tossed a cross-court pass five rows into the stands. It was one of those nights.


Martell Webster, SF

20 MIN | 1-5 FG | 2-4 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -32 +/-

Usually, a professional athlete plays much better than his musical endeavors. Unfortunately, the opposite is happening with Martell. The guy can flow on the microphone and has produced solid creative beats. His lackluster outing against the Cavs, however, was another example of how his NBA career has hit the skids. The Wizards are in desperate need for a wing player to contribute and Webster hasn’t been the answer for a long time.


Rasual Butler, SF

18 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -30 +/-

Casual Fridays Butler was exposed for his true identity once again. He is a minimum salary veteran that over-performed earlier in the season and is probably being counted on more than he should be at this point of his career. He rushed shots, got destroyed by LeBron off the dribble, and his minus-30 plus/minus was horrific.


DeJuan Blair, C

14 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -18 +/-

Blair’s eight second-half points tied Wall’s for the team lead. I have been critical enough, so no reason to elaborate any further.


Ramon Sessions, PG

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

Sessions made his Wizards debut at the six-minute mark of the fourth quarter with Washington down 32 points. It is impossible to evaluate his performance in this scenario.


Garrett Temple, SG

9 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -22 +/-

Temple subbed in for Wall to begin the second quarter and Cavs immediately went on a 14-2 run to blow the game open. Garrett is helluva teammate and a great person, but he should not be a backup, or even third-string, point guard on a contending NBA squad.


Kevin Seraphin, C

DNP FLU-LIKE SYMPTOMS MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | +/-

#KSLife was out with a sore thumb from Snapchatting so much. Just kidding. He didn’t feel well and they could have used his offensive spark on the second unit. Being declared out with “flu-like symptoms,” he still, for some reason, sat on the bench next to teammates.


Randy Wittman

My Twitter mentions are constantly bombarded with “Fire Wittman” comments. Coach might still possess a flip phone, so I know he is not monitoring his name online. Regardless, my response to his critics is always the same: Wait until the season concludes to fairly evaluate this staff. Otherwise, critique on Randy can be address on a game-by-game basis (with a few philosophy frustrations thrown in).

Since the last time the Wizards beat the Cavs, Cleveland has added J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, and Mozgov, while the Wizards just swapped Andre Miller for Sessions. It is difficult to lay roster inefficiencies on Wittman. Cleveland is a better team right now, but this does not give Wittman pass on getting beat in such an embarrassing fashion. My current beef: Wall and Nene are by far the team’s most superior players—the metrics back this up—and with Beal out, one of them has to be on the court at all times. If not, the Wizards quickly sink.


Pictures.

washington wizards, cleveland cavaliers, nba, espn, truth about it, jamie foxx, ted leonsis

washington wizards, cleveland cavaliers, nba, espn, truth about it, kyrie irving, lebron james

washington wizards, cleveland cavaliers, nba, espn, truth about it, mike miller, brendan haywood

washington wizards, cleveland cavaliers, nba, espn, truth about it, kyrie irving, mike miller

washington wizards, cleveland cavaliers, nba, espn, truth about it, cnn, wolf blitzer

 

Vines.

 

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Adam McGinnis
Reporter / Writer / Media at TAI
Adam is a bro from the Midwest who's been bopping around the District of Columbia for years. He's down with a range of sports, etc. and has covered the Washington Wizards for TAI since 2010.