DC Council 66: Wizards vs Kings — A Historic Reversal in Washington | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council 66: Wizards vs Kings — A Historic Reversal in Washington

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Updated: March 16, 2015

Truth About It.net’s D.C. Council:
Grading Wizards players from Game No. 66: Wizards versus Kings in Washington.
Contributor: Adam McGinnis from the District.

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Old Kentucky bros share laughs before tip off (picture by Adam McGinnis)

At halftime on Saturday evening, Washington was on its way to another embarrassing home performance. The Sacramento Kings, who were 10-point underdogs, led the Wizards 64-46. Kings All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins was demolishing the Wizards’ undermanned crew of bigs. Andre Miller, returning to D.C. for the first time since being traded away last month, sliced up the porous Wiz defense with seven first-half assists. The Kings delivered a season-high 39-point second quarter.

The miniature bit of momentum that the Wizards had earned with two previous blowout victories, and the hope that the team had maybe found its early season groove again, appeared to be lost. The groans from the frustrated Verizon Center crowd increased in volume and #WizardsTwitter was on the edge of another breakdown.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the most remarkable turnaround in NBA history somehow transpired. Washington completely dominated Sacramento in the second half, outscoring them 67-33. Washington’s slumping long-range game heated up for nine 3-pointers. Paul Pierce and John Wall went H.A.M. all over the Kings, combining for 27 points in the third quarter. Cousins lost his cool on several occasions and fouled out. The crowd roared throughout the comeback, with the players feeding off their positive energy. The contingent of Marcin Gortat fans there for Polish Heritage Night enthusiastically waved their country’s flag. Wall repeatedly motioned to the stands for more celebratory noise and the All-Star guard capped this night off by screaming “This is my city!”

The game ended up being super fun and fans left happy. It was like entering a time warp of where the first 24 minutes of basketball never happened. However, there is always a BUT in analyzing this professional basketball squad. Washington’s reversal of fortunes was impressive BUT if they want to improve their playoff positioning over the final four weeks, they can’t put themselves in 18-point deficits to 22-win NBA teams.

Now, time to throw some positive pixels around in player grades.


 

Sacramento Kings

97

Final

Box Score

Washington Wizards

113

Drew Gooden, PF

26 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | +13 +/-

With Nene out, Drew earned the start and it was an off night for him offensively. “Drizzle” found ways to contribute by pulling down nine boards, grabbing three steals and hustling on defense.


Paul Pierce, SF

23 MIN | 7-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | +2 +/-

Pierce was the man to make shots on Saturday evening. The Future Hall of Famer ignited the second half surge with back to back 3-balls. He also showed off some of his “old man game” with an array of successful fadeaways and leaner shots created by slow pump fakes. This is the Pierce that the Wizards need in order to make a strong postseason run.


Marcin Gortat, C

32 MIN | 6-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | +7 +/-

Gortat was plagued by foul trouble and it looked like his Polish Heritage Night would be a dud, similar to his Super Gortat action figure night. Marcin eventually picked up his game, helped finally slow down Boogie Cousins and his people showered him with Polish pride.


John Wall, PG

39 MIN | 9-15 FG | 9-10 FT | 2 REB | 12 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 5 TO | 31 PTS | +9 +/-

When the summary of John Wall’s 2014-15 season is written, this could be the week we all look at as a major turning point. The team’s struggles have been well-documented and, since the All-Star break, it has been quite apparent something has been off with Wall as well. But John was simply sensational against the Kings, fueling the improbable comeback victory.

He made multiple corner 3s, had 10 free throw attempts, and was again a highlight machine. His stat line was comparable to two of the top league MVP candidates. In a recent loss versus the Milwaukee Bucks, Wall’s body language was awful and his trademark smile was gone. During victories against the Hornets, Grizzlies and Kings, he flashed his grin and the Wizards joy has returned (for good?) to Fun Street.


Bradley Beal, SG

34 MIN | 4-13 FG | 4-5 FT | 6 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | +16 +/-

The Washington Post’s Michael Lee wrote a feature article chronicling the main critiques about Beal that many of us at TAI have communicated:

Unfortunately, Beal has been a great three-point shooter who too often settles for long midrange jumpers and an even better free throw shooter who rarely attacks the rim to get to the line. Wittman’s inability to devise a scheme that maximizes those strengths has been a hindrance, but Beal also shoulders blame, held back by being too willing to defer and blend. That will have to change for the Wizards to take the next step.

Bradley must not have read it because he started the game passive and missed several terrible midrange shots. At one point during the first half, he had more air balls (2) than makes (1). Paralleling the team’s prosperous second-half run, Beal finally knocked down a couple 3s and earned five trips the free throw line. If the Wizards want to accomplish their preseason goals, Beal must finally become an Alpha Dog.


Otto Porter Jr., SF

13 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -7 +/-

Otto didn’t do much and he sat the entire second half. If Porter can make that corner 3 on a consistent basis, there will be a role on this team for him.


Rasual Butler, SF

27 MIN | 6-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | +4 +/-

Rasual’s outside shooting had fallen off a frozen cliff, resulting in limited playing time. His ice cold stroke finally thawed out against the Kings and he shot 60 percent from the field. His defense in the second half was solid and he picked up a key charge that constituted Cousins’ sixth foul and subsequent exit from the game.


Kevin Seraphin, C

17 MIN | 5-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +5 +/-

With Kris Humphries still injured and Nene out spending time with his wife, a new mother of twins, it was a significant relief that Seraphin was not suspended for his flagrant foul on Thursday night. The Wizards needed his body on Cousins and, more importantly, his fouls.

Kevin was perfect from the field and provided an offensive bench spark.


DeJuan Blair, C

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

This has been a forgettable season for Blair with his only memorable moments being mostly negative. With Gortat and Seraphin in foul trouble, Blair was summoned in the second half and actually had a positive impact. He finished around the rim, pulled down a bunch of rebounds and even made a floater.


Ramon Sessions, PG

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

Against his former team, Ramon had a subpar outing and still is struggling with finishing on his drives to the hoop. His only made shot was a big one in the fourth quarter that gave the Wizards the lead for good.


Randy Wittman

The Wizards shot 26 3-pointers and made half of them. MOAR of this offense, Coach, and less long-2s, por favor.


Quotes.

“I told them I have to go to church tomorrow because of some of the things that I said and thought at halftime, so I’ll make sure I’ll do that tomorrow.

“We have to defend, we have to be physical. We were down at half in rebounds, we ended up winning the rebounding battle by six. That’s what it is, in a nutshell, that I keep preaching. We didn’t have any of that in the first half—second half we totally turned it around. What is it, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?”

—Coach Randy Wittman

“Yes, but he got us in foul trouble as well. It was tough. A lot of weird things went on out there in the game. He is a very good big man. Probably the best.”

Gortat on Cousins

“I’ve known Andre (Miller) a long time, and I know he must’ve been disappointed by the trade, but I think Andre is happy he’s reunited with George Karl. For a long time he lived in Sacramento, so he’ll be closer to his family. I think it will work out for him.”

—Paul Pierce

“At halftime, I said Wall is going to come after us, I think, because at the end of the second quarter, they were giving the ball to him. Shots started going in and our offense, they tried to push us out. Never could get a good offensive flow, and our transition defense got broken down because we missed so many shots, so then the turnover factor which is probably our number one nightmare. Sustaining it on the road is a difficult thing to do, especially when you are shorthanded.”

—Kings Coach George Karl

“We want to beat one another, we want to be able to go back later on in the summer and talk trash about it. He had an incredible performance. He came out and led his team in the second half. He pulled out a tough win.”

—DeMarcus Cousins, on playing against Wall

“I think it all started with me. I didn’t have any energy after the All-Star break. The way I play is the way this team goes. I was not playing well and we were playing pretty bad. I am starting to get my legs back and play better defensively.”

—John Wall

Pictures.

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Black and White Boogie

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Gortat speaks to Polish media before the game while a young fan looks on.

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These fans freaked out in glee after getting autographs from Wall before the game. “John Wall, you are the best,” is what the young boy said to the All-Star guard.

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Picture of a Picture

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Friendly seat reminders to renew those season tickets

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Young ballers ready for a 3-on-3 game

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Polish flag swag

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Walter, the “Pump It Up Man,”  is always into in the game.

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Vet on vet advice

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The long embrace of close friends after the game.

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Gortat in the crowd of his Polish fans.

All pictures by Adam McGinnis.

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.