D.C. Council 59: Wizards at Sixers — Things Fall Apart in Illadelph | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

D.C. Council 59: Wizards at Sixers — Things Fall Apart in Illadelph

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Updated: February 28, 2015

Truth About It.net’s D.C. Council:
Grading Wizards players from Game No. 59: Wizards versus Sixers in Philadelphia.
Contributor: Rashad Mobley (@rashad20) from D.C.

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Back in 2001 when Denny Green was fired from the Minnesota Vikings, it would have been easy for him to criticize or take shots at the team he had coached for nearly 10 years. He had led them to the brink of a Super Bowl, he had just one losing record, which came in his final year, and yet he was still unemployed. Instead, he stood on the podium, used the third-person and said, “If you’re looking for Denny Green, look on the high road, because that’s where you’ll find me.” That same approach is appropriate when trying to describe the train wreck the Washington Wizards have now become after they lost their sixth straight game … to the 13-45 Philadelphia 76ers.

The Wizards are still occupying the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, after the Milwaukee Bucks lost to the lowly Los Angeles Lakers. Ramon Sessions and Otto Porter showed they have some fight in them, and Marcin Gortat rebounded with DeAndre Jordan-like abandon. And, most importantly, both Randy Wittman and Ernie Grunfeld are still employed with the Washington Wizards. That’s it. That’s the list. That’s enough of the high road.

Not even a team-building exercise disguised as a dinner outing could spare the Wizards from the humiliation which comes from losing to the second-worst team in the NBA. The Sixers were led by Robert Covington (13 points)—who has started 36 games this year after appearing in just seven games for the Houston Rockets last year—and two players who did not play in the NBA last year due to injury: rookie Nerlens Noel (14 points and 13 rebounds) and Jason Richardson (12 points on four 3-pointers). They made 12 3-pointers as a team, jumped out to a 13-6 lead just four minutes in the game, and bookended that by holding the Wizards without a basket the first three minutes of the fourth quarter.

It isn’t rock bottom, because this losing streak could stretch to double digits or someone like Wall or Beal could suffer a season-ending injury à la Derrick Rose. But for this team to be engaged in an Indiana Pacers-like free fall en route to the playoffs has to be disappointing for everyone from Ted Leonsis to John Wall to DeJuan Blair.

Tonight, the Wizards get their second crack in less than a week at the Detroit Pistons. But first, let’s whip out that evil red pen shall we?


 

Washington Wizards

81

Final

Box Score

Philadelphia 76ers

89

Nene Hilario, PF

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

There’s no one on the Sixers roster who can match the size and physicality of Nene and it showed the first few minutes of the game, when Nene had six points on easy baskets. He did not score the rest of the game, and managed to pick up four personal fouls with just five rebounds. With no Beal, no Pierce and Wall putting up the kind of bricks that John Starks would admire, the Wizards needed Nene to produce a dominant performance and he did the exact opposite in just under 20 minutes. Perhaps he was saving it for tonight against the Pistons.


Otto Porter Jr., SF

37 MIN | 8-19 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | -7 +/-

Before the blowout loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Coach Randy Wittman mentioned that he wanted the Wizards to be aggressive and to not overthink or worry about whether their shots were going to fall. It took a few games and a crack at the starting lineup, but Porter, who was starting for Pierce (bruised knee), did just that last night. From the opening quarter when he scored the Wizards’ first points via a 17-footer, Porter was looking to shoot the ball, and he did so with mixed results (8-for-19). In the fourth quarter when the Wizards trailed by eight points, Porter was the go-to guy, and scored seven of the team’s 12 points to cut the lead to just one. He all but disappeared the last four minutes of the game when Wall needed the most help, but given Porter’s inconsistent play this season, his baby steps cannot and should not be easily dismissed.


Marcin Gortat, C

35 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-2 FT | 14 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -6 +/-

Much like his fellow frontcourt mate Nene, Gortat was unable to establish a sustained offensive attack despite his size and strength advantage over the Sixers frontline. He scored four points in the first quarter, another four in the third, and that is all he had to offer in the scoring department. He could have had 12 points, if it weren’t for the outstretched arms of Nerlens Noel throwing two of his shots right back in Gortat’s face. But unlike Nene who had nothing of note to contribute, Gortat grabbed 14 rebounds—10 coming in the second half as the Wizards tried to first keep and then regain a lead.


John Wall, PG

38 MIN | 7-26 FG | 7-8 FT | 5 REB | 11 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 21 PTS | -10 +/-

Wall bounced back from his lowest scoring output of the season (five points) in Minnesota to score 21 points to go along with his 11 assists. He played 38 minutes and did his best to keep the Wizards in the game late in the fourth quarter. That’s the good news. The bad news is he missed 19 shots—nine of which came in the lane, including two layups. As my colleague Chris Thompson alluded to in his Key Legislature piece, on a few occasions it looked like the weight of the Wizards’ losing ways was on Wall’s shoulders and some bad body language was visible. To his credit, after the game, Wall stayed positive and said that he wouldn’t quit or point fingers, but it’s clear he needs help in the form of Bradley Beal.


Garrett Temple, SG

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

The house of cards that is Garrett Temple’s offense was finally toppled in Philadelphia. He didn’t have any magic from the 3-point line or from anywhere else on the court. In the fourth quarter, Coach Wittman opted to go with Ramon Sessions and left Temple on the bench.


Drew Gooden, PF

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

Kris Humphries, his jump shot and his rebounding were out with a strained left groin, which meant there were more minutes for Drew Gooden to pick up the slack. He was a moderate presence on the boards, but he had nothing to offer offensively, except a missed tap-in, and some long 2s which also missed.


Martell Webster, SF

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

Martell used to be a shooter. He did not make or attempt a shot in seven minutes of play, but continues to get a pass because recovery from back surgery can be a slow process.


Rasual Butler, SF

26 MIN | 3-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | -14 +/-

Rasual, like Martell, used to be a shooter earlier in the season, but has yet to regain his touch from anywhere on the floor. He scored just two points in the second half.


Kevin Seraphin, C

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

No points, three rebounds, three fouls, and two turnovers. Seraphin is usually good for several productive offensive possessions in the post but not even he could get things going against the Sixers. That’s how bad the Wizards are struggling.


Ramon Sessions, PG

21 MIN | 4-10 FG | 5-7 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | -2 +/-

Sessions job as the backup point guard is to steady the second unit and to maintain the fast pace which John Wall has presumably established. Sessions did just that in the second quarter. When the quarter began, the Wizards trailed 28-25, and when Wall checked back in the game with 7:23 left, Sessions had pushed the Wizards to a 36-33 lead. In just 4:37 of play, he had eight points, and three trips to the free throw line. He was aggressive, he looked like the fastest guy on the court, and, for a brief period of time, he got Rasual Butler to come back to life. Coach Wittman rewarded Sessions by playing him the entire fourth quarter in place of Garrett Temple, and while he could not recreate his second-quarter magic, he scored six points and showed what he can contribute to this team. In other words, he was the only player who actually succeeded at doing his job last night.


Randy Wittman

It was tough watching Coach Wittman during the postgame presser last night. He rolled out the usual platitudes about his team not making shots, lacking confidence and not putting in the necessary work it takes to break the slump, but he did not place any of the blame on himself as coaches are wont to do at times. His body language—which is never particularly good or demonstrative—looked like that of a man who is physically and mentally tired of answering the same questions, the same way, over and over again. To his credit, Wittman did finally let go of his Garrett Temple crutch, and he played the majority of the fourth quarter with a lineup of Wall, Sessions, Porter, Butler and Gortat. That lineup did not win the game, and it did not result in any interior scoring, but it showed Coach was at least open to trying something new—for one night at least. In the bigger picture it means nothing except that his team has lost six straight games and there doesn’t appear to be any reprieve in sight.


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Rashad Mobley
Reporter/Writer at TAI
Rashad has been covering the NBA and the Washington Wizards since 2008—his first two years were spent at Hoops Addict before moving to Truth About It. Rashad has appeared on ESPN and college radio, SportsTalk on NewsChannel 8 in Washington D.C., and his articles have appeared on ESPN TrueHoop, USAToday.com, Complex Magazine, and the DCist. He considers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a hero and he had the pleasure of interviewing him back in 2009.