DC Council 64: Wizards at Hornets — Bugs Go SPLAT Against Washington's Wall | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council 64: Wizards at Hornets — Bugs Go SPLAT Against Washington’s Wall

Updated: March 10, 2015

 Truth About It.net’s D.C. Council:
Grading Wizards players from Game No. 64: Wizards versus Hornets in Charlotte.
Contributor: Troy Haliburton  from the heart of D.C.


For the first time in nearly two months the Wizards actually have a report card that is worthy of taking home to mom. The last Wizards win against a team currently seeded in the playoffs was on January 14 (a 105-99 win over the Bulls in Chicago), which seems like ages ago. The Wizards have since had to navigate many troubled waters, going 9-16 during that stretch, including nine straight road losses before breaking that streak last night.

The Wizards used defensive intensity to limit the Hornets to 69 points, the lowest point total allowed by the Wizards this season. Wiz fans can rest easy, if only for one night, even though they are not quite clear of danger just yet. The scheduling gods favored the Wizards by gifting them a fatigued Hornets team on their fifth game in seven nights.

But hey, an “A” on a curved grading scale is still an “A,” and a win is still a win. No more of the “dog ate my homework”-type of excuses for this Wizards team: just a prideful gleam as we hang a night of good marks on the refrigerator.


Washington Wizards


Box Score

Charlotte Hornets


Nene Hilario, PF

19 MIN | 4-5 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 9 PTS | +19 +/-

Once Hornets forward Cody Zeller left the game midway through the first quarter with an injured shoulder, after a tumble with Marcin Gortat, the Hornets pretty much went small the rest of the game, inserting Marvin Williams at the 4 spot. Nene took advantage of the sampling of post-up opportunities that he did receive and, of course, managed to add to his #NeneJams total.

The only thing that kept him from receiving an “A” is a lack of presence on the boards. And an egregious missed layup on a 2-on-1 fast break, where Nene barreled into the defender instead of passing the ball to John Wall.

Paul Pierce, SF

18 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +19 +/-

Pierce missed the morning shootaround after hearing grim news of a close friend’s passing, but being the entrenched veteran that he is, he was still able to positively impact the outcome of last night’s game. Pierce was very effective in his isolation situations, knocking down several tough, contested jump shots, and his defensive effort rendered Hornets small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist ineffectual.

Marcin Gortat, C

28 MIN | 9-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 20 PTS | +18 +/-

Gortat was the MVP of the game. He had the toughest defensive matchup, guarding the Hornets’ best player, Al Jefferson, and limited him to 14 points and five rebounds.

The Polish Machine was active in demanding the ball in the post, and decisive with his actions once he got it. When Gortat actually catches the ball with those big mitts, he has proven over time that he knows what to do with it.

John Wall, PG

29 MIN | 7-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 9 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | +20 +/-

John Wall had a look in his eyes early in this game that let me know that he meant business. I don’t know whether it was the inspiration of playing in front of his home-state crowd, pressure from family and friends, or motivation from criticism he had begun to receive as national writers pointed fingers at the Wizards lone All-Star for the team’s drastic decline.

Whatever it was, Wall was determined to stay aggressive on offense by attacking the basket and not settling for too many jumpers. He properly distributed the ball to his teammates, putting them in the best positions to make plays, and his defensive effort(1) on the hot-shooting Mo Williams did not go un-noticed.

If Wall continues to play in this manner, the Wizards can at least be competitive in every game, with a hope of gaining some momentum for the home-stretch.

Bradley Beal, SG

31 MIN | 7-16 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | +19 +/-

Beal continues to struggle with his jump shot, and last night it looked like it would be an awful night for him: he air-balled his first open 3-pointer of the game. But Bradley settled down and allowed the action to come to him as the game went along. The real moral victory is that Beal came out of this matchup against Wizard-killer Gerald Henderson with his ego intact.

At this point in the season, Beal just needs to get up as many shots as possible so that he can get his legs underneath of him for a post-season run.

Drew Gooden, PF

24 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +9 +/-

There wasn’t a lot of Drizzle last night, but that is the beauty of Drew Gooden. Even in a drought he finds a way to affect the outcome of the game. His energy is infectious and he’s definitely an inspiration to his teammates. Gooden is deserving of minutes because he makes the correct basketball play (almost) every time. If a teammate is open, he passes it. If he’s open, he shoots it. He hustles on the boards and runs back on defense. He has filled in admirably while Kris Humphries nurses an injured groin. I just hope that he has enough gas left in the tank.

Otto Porter Jr., SF

23 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | +8 +/-

Otto Porter had a little bounce in his step last night—and that is the player the Wizards desperately need him to be on a nightly basis. Porter must continue to stay aggressive on the offensive end, not just stand in the corner waiting for wide-open corner 3s.

Last night he used a few good head-fakes to create space for some dribble penetration, which allowed for him to break out a newfound floater and also distribute the ball to his teammates.

If the Wizards are to be the team they think they are, then Otto has to play with that same level of effort and attentiveness every night.

Rasual Butler, SF

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

It took Rasual Butler’s shooting numbers to fall off a Grand Canyon-sized cliff before Randy Wittman realized it would be best to allow the wily veteran time for his legs to recover. Butler’s five minutes were in blowout garbage time—nothing more than a nice calisthenics workout.

Kevin Seraphin, C

20 MIN | 6-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | +8 +/-

The Hornets went small. Kevin Seraphin’s eyes got big. The jump hook was falling, and when that is the case, Seraphin can have a major impact on games.

The thing that all Wizards fans want to see is how he can impact a game when that jump hook is not falling. Last night’s seven rebounds were a push in the right direction.

DeJuan Blair, C

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

DeJaun Blair giveth and DeJaun Blair taketh away. In limited early action, Blair created an important second possession on an offensive rebound by competing and knocking the ball off Al Jefferson, but, a few possessions, later he played some of the worst pick-and-roll defense east of the Mississippi.

In a blowout win, Blair somehow managed to be the only Wizard to not finish with a positive plus/minus at minus-3.

Ramon Sessions, PG

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

As the fictional character Stringer Bell from HBO’s “The Wire” so eloquently put it, “Don’t nobody give a f*ck about a 40° day,” and Ramon Sessions has given a lot of 40° days in a Wizards uniform.

Session has yet to find his groove as a Wizard, and hopefully he figures out a way to heat up the Wizards’ second unit before Will Bynum’s hamstring heals.

Garrett Temple, SG

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

Temple continues to give maximum effort on defense, but that 0-for-3 showing from 3-point range could have been a killer on any other night. It’s hard to be a quality 3-and-D player without the 3-point component in that equation.

Martell Webster, SF


Webster did not play. Coach’s decision.

Randy Wittman

People are fairly vocal and critical of Wittman when the Wizards lose, so it is only right to defend the man when the Wizards win, and he actually did some things right.

Wittman showed some flexibility with the Wizards’ lineup when the Hornets lost Zeller and decided to go small. Witt countered with a little small-ball lineup of his own and even broke out a Wall-Beal-Temple combination on the wings that seemed to wreak havoc on the Hornets’ perimeter offense.

The only negative mark on Wittman was he was a possession, or two, too late getting his starters back in at the end of the second quarter, allowing the Wizards lead to get cut from 17 to 10 at just moments before halftime. If Wittman continues to be more innovative with lineups, sooner or later he’s going to find a mix that works.



  1. Steady enough.
Troy Haliburton on Twitter
Troy Haliburton
Troy Haliburton is a native Washingtonian, and graduate of Gonzaga College High School and Morehouse College. He is going into his second season writing for Truth About It, and also writes for sports analytics website numberfire.com. You can find him in a district bike lane in the Northwest neighborhood of Bloomingdale.