DC Council 70: Wizards at Kings — Embarrassed in Sactown | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council 70: Wizards at Kings — Embarrassed in Sactown

Updated: March 23, 2015

Truth About It.net’s D.C. Council:
Grading Wizards players from Game No. 70:
Washington Wizards versus the Sacramento Kings in Sleep Train Arena.
Contributor: Troy Haliburton from the other coast.DC-Council-Logo-2

The Wizards keep finding ways to embarrass themselves. Sunday’s loss to the Kings hurts just as bad, if not more, than that that terrible night in Philly on February 27. At least the game against the 76ers was semi-competitive and the Wizards made a legitimate run toward the end to try to avoid being upset. At Sleep Train Arena against Sacramento the Wizards were run out of the gym by a team that is 20 games under .500. The second-half Washington Wizards looked more like the Washington Generals, as the Kings threw down highlight dunk after dunk. Boogie Cousins mean-mugged, Rudy Gay looked like a guy fulfilling the obligations of a franchise player’s contract, and the Sacramento crowd roared.

This game should have been an easy way to boost road confidence before the playoffs. Instead, we spend the next few hours before a game against the NBA’s best team trying to figure out if last week’s five-game winning street was a sign of growth or just a lucid dream.

demarcus cousins nene

Washington Wizards



Box Score

Sacramento Kings


Nene Hilario, PF

19 MIN | 3-8 FG | 5-8 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 11 PTS | -15 +/-

Nene did not bring the low-post scoring threat and physicality that the Wizards have grown to expect from him. It is especially perplexing that more offensive plays weren’t drawn up for him to take advantage of the fact that the Kings started Rudy Gay at power forward. More recently Nene has been settling for too many of those midrange jumpers and struggling to finish through contact at the rim.

Oh yeah, and this happened:

Paul Pierce, SF

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

Aside from an outburst of 3s in Utah, Pierce has looked exceptionally old on this road trip. Maybe he just needs some rest, because his legs were sturdy for long stretches of the five-game winning streak.

The Wizards need Pierce to hit his 3-point shooters, as he’s stepped up as their de facto designated shooter over the last month. Pierce’s 0-for-3 showing from deep on Sunday was a letdown, even if that is more indicative of Washington’s team 3-point dysfunction than any expectation on Pierce individually. Even more of a grievance than the missed 3s was the fact that in two consecutive games, Pierce has given up momentum-swinging flagrant fouls. Being a 17-year veteran, The Truth has to be aware that these mistakes can be costly in closer games.

Marcin Gortat, C

23 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-2 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -19 +/-

Two minutes into the game, Gortat was doing his patented head-scratching after a mistake—something Wizards fans did a lot of after the game. Gortat and Nene struggled to defend DeMarcus Cousins all night long, and Gortat’s hands let him down this game, as the ball seemed to be constantly be slipping through them like a greased pig.

John Wall, PG

33 MIN | 3-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 8 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 9 PTS | -21 +/-

A clear off night for Wall shooting, but the real sign of a superstar is how they positively impact their team even when their shot is not there. As the leader of the Wizards, John is still learning how to gracefully shift in and out of gears on the court and take over games. He didn’t do either last night, though he has had success doing both in the recent past.

Wall’s swarming defense on opposing point guards was a main reason for the five-game winning streak, but he seemed to be a step behind Kings starter Ray McCallum, who outplayed Wall by going 5-for-9 from the field and scoring 13 points.

Bradley Beal, SG

27 MIN | 8-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 19 PTS | -12 +/-

If there was one positive takeaway from this game, it was the fact that Bradley Beal looked like he had a little spring in his step and actually played with some fluidity in an immobile Wizards offense. Beal used his athleticism to bounce of screens and make decisive cuts to the basket, allowing him to finish at the rim instead of fading away into long 2s. Beal even was able to show some play-making skills of his own, dishing out four assists.

The one negative drawback from Beal was going 1-for-4 from deep. In order for the Wizards to have postseason success, Beal is going to have to join Pierce on the 3-point gunship.

Drew Gooden, PF

23 MIN | 5-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -2 +/-

Gooden continues to fill in as admirably as he can (at this stage of his career) for the injured Kris Humphries, who missed his 12th straight game. In the first half of action, Gooden was active on the boards and the jump shot was falling.

Toure’ Murry, SF

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

Murry may have missed his best opportunity to prove his value to this team and latch on for the rest of the season after his second 10-day contract expires. With the way Otto Porter and Rasual Butler have played recently, Murry needed to show that he could do something (anything) positive for the Wizards on the wing. This was Murry’s first significant game action since the four minutes he played against Memphis the day he was signed. With Garrett Temple expecting to come back soon from a hamstring injury, I suspect this may be the last non-transaction word written about Murry this season.

Otto Porter Jr., SF

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

Porter played only garbage-time minutes, and for the first time this season I understand why he was not plugged into the game. The way he failed at staying with Hedo Turkoglu (the captain of the “keep getting those checks” team) in Los Angeles was embarrassing, and he did not earn earn the right to significant playing time yesterday.

Martell Webster, SF

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

I must have been dreaming, but did Martell really show flashes of 2013-14 last night? Albeit in garbage time, Webster looked like an NBA small forward. With the Wizards glaring needs at the wing position, Webster has earned a legitimate shot at 10-15 minutes of playing time over the next few games to see if he can crack the playoff rotation. If he can even give the Wiz 75 percent of what he was two seasons ago, that is an upgrade for the bench.

Rasual Butler, SF

20 MIN | 1-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -9 +/-

Rasual may have fooled us all with some nice moments during that five-game winning streak, but he has been unreliable for much of 2015. I still think the best way to utilize whatever Rasual has left is by putting him on total ice until the playoffs, and then breaking out the ice pick in emergency-only cases.

Kevin Seraphin, C

21 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -4 +/-

Yesterday was a jump-hook-not-falling kind of day for Seraphin, and when that happens he tends to have little to no impact whatsoever on the outcome of games.

Ramon Sessions, PG

26 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | -7 +/-

Well, what do you know? Ramon Sessions can make a contested layup … and runners (unlike Eric Maynor, who is apparently now playing in Italy).

Randy Wittman

After the game Randy Wittman refused to answer questions about the offense, stating that it was the defense that was the problem. Those types of comments are criminal given the 86-point offensive output.

Wittman’s offense seemed as stagnant as ever, with almost no motion besides a few nice Beal basket cuts. He was out-coached from the tip when George Karl went with Rudy Gay as his stretch 4 and, as usual, it took Wittman longer than necessary to make adjustments.

Washington’s shot chart was filled with patented Wittman-ball long 2s, and the Wizards only scored an abysmal 0.87 points per possession. Maybe Wittman should think about becoming a full-time motivational speaker since #effort and #focus are what he preaches in wins and losses alike. But it’s damn sure more complicated, and more about basketball realities, when his Wizards lose like this.

Wizards shot chart

Troy Haliburton on Twitter
Troy Haliburton
Troy Haliburton is a native Washingtonian, and graduate of Gonzaga College High School and Morehouse College. Bylines on bylines on bylines.

Will write for food.