DC Council 68: Wizards at Jazz — Wall, Wiz Kids, Find Midrange Hot Spring in Utah | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council 68: Wizards at Jazz — Wall, Wiz Kids, Find Midrange Hot Spring in Utah

Updated: March 19, 2015

Truth About It.net’s D.C. Council:
Grading Wizards players from Game No. 68:
Washington Wizards versus the Utah Jazz in SLC.
Contributor: John C. Townsend from BKNY.


The Wizards won, again! Who is happy about it?! 

That makes five in a row, their first five-game winning streak since early December. Some will point to more aggression and effort on defense, given the Wizards have held their last 11 opponents under 100 points. But the Wiz defense has been good, if not great, for a while now (and really never went anywhere, as TAI’s Conor Dirks discovered).

No, it comes down to making shots: open shots, contested shots, good shots, bad shots. See, the Wizards have only scored more than 100 points in four of their last 11 games and five times in their last 16.

Last night, John Wall bailed out his teammates (more on that below) by earning trips to the free throw line. It didn’t matter who was in front of him—say, Dante Exum or Rudy Gobert—Wall was going to the tin and hearing whistles.

“He’s an All-Star, so he’s superior to a 19-year-old kid in a lot of ways,” said Utah’s head coach, Quin Snyder. “John Wall, he’s just always putting pressure on you. It’s a big challenge for Dante. Really, it’s a challenge for our whole team because he’s so effective in transition. No one guy’s going to be able to stay in front of him. He’s got to see bodies and you’ve got to give help.”

The midrange mean mugs came next.


“John was big,” said Randy Wittman said. “Made some big plays. Made some big shots. And defended. The whole gamut there. Stepped up at the end.”

He almost bobbled the game away at the end, but didn’t! Franchise savior.

On to the grades.


Washington Wizards


Box Score

Utah Jazz


Nene Hilario, PF

33 MIN | 3-7 FG | 2-6 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 5 TO | 8 PTS | -4 +/-

Nene, as if lifted by angels (perhaps Otto’s), posterized Rudy Gobert in the first quarter. Few humans can ever say they’ve done that, or ever will. He also attempted six free throws—twice his average this season—but made just two. Those were the positives.

Nene was held to just two first-half points. He was forced to foul Utah’s big men on several occasions, was whistled for an offensive foul, a traveling violation and led both teams in turnovers (5).

What happened, in seven words? Derrick Favors got the better of him.

Paul Pierce, SF

28 MIN | 6-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 18 PTS | +4 +/-

Pierce, even at 37, is still a pretty good defender. He forces opponents to shoot 2.7 percent worse from the field overall. He knows what he’s doing … but the way he was sagging off perimeter threats in the first quarter caught my attention. It ended up being OK, given Utah shot just 34-for-82 (41.5%) from the field and 4-for-22 (18.2%) from 3.

Sure, Gordon Hayward had his way with Pierce (Hayward is really good), but The Truth stepped up with timely, game-changing buckets. He made three 3s in a three-minute span during the third quarter to give the Wizards a 63-54 lead, their largest of the night, and one they would hang on to—but just barely.

He gets docked points for traveling on a side-out with 20 seconds to play, wins some back for making two clutch free throws with 12 seconds to go, but docked again for giving Hayward an open look from the corner. Had Hayward made the 3, it may have won the Jazz the game.

Marcin Gortat, C

36 MIN | 2-4 FG | 3-5 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 7 PTS | +8 +/-

Marcin Gortat is everyone’s favorite big-money role player. (Not mine, but mostly everyone’s.)

His first offensive touch was a fast break dunk, assisted by Wall, and-1. He missed the free throw. And then he did … well, pretty much nothing till late in the fourth quarter, aside from grab some boards. (He had 16 chances at rebounds and came down with 9, not bad.)

First he stepped in front of a charging, rolling Derrick Favors just in front of the restricted circle to win a charge call and, about a minute later, moved his feet fast enough to force Rodney Hood to lose the ball out of bounds in transition.

Oh, he also hit a wild, Dirk Nowitzki-like step-through jumper—which he’ll probably never do again. But that’s how the night went for the Wizards.

John Wall, PG

37 MIN | 9-13 FG | 6-7 FT | 9 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 24 PTS | +7 +/-

If you forget that Wall dribbled the ball out of bounds with 11 seconds to go, his Wizards up just two points, then you’d say he had a great game. And he did, even with that lost ball turnover. It just didn’t happen they way you might have expected, or preferred.

He didn’t even get going till the second half, ending the first half with five points (3 FGA), three rebounds, and three assists. He finished the game with 24 points (13 FGA), nine rebounds, and six assists.

Forcing the issue in transition, initiating contact and capitalizing at the free throw line got Wall in a ‘scoring rhythm.’ And then his jump shot started falling. On one play, he tried to use a Gooden screen to get to the center of the floor, but Hayward went over it. Wall reset, cut back to the left and pulled up from midrange: butter. The Wizards’ lone All-Star cashed in from 19, 20, 20, 17, and 21 feet in the second half (missing a 3 and a shot from 16 feet).

Big-time players have to make big-time shots. Wall, who swished 6-of-7 (85.7%) contested attempts, did just that.

Bradley Beal, SG

40 MIN | 4-10 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 9 PTS | -2 +/-

Beal played 40 unremarkable minutes. Yep, sure did.

He used quick footwork to avoid a traveling violation on a 2-on-2 fast break layup attempt. Big Panda ended the first half 4-for-5 from the field—his lone miss coming from 3-point land—but wouldn’t score again.

He also had a few *impressive* turnovers that raised eyebrows, including missing a wide-open John Wall in the corner (Wall took blame) and making an odd, unnecessary, overhand pass straight to Rudy Gobert (which led to a Favors transition finish).

Drew Gooden, PF

18 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +8 +/-

The offense shouldn’t run through Drew Gooden, but it so often does!

Last night’s AARP Benefits included seven points off the bench in the first quarter, a charge call and … uh, one made shot in the third. His plus-8 plus/minus was tied for the game-high, so there’s that, too.

Otto Porter Jr., SF

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

Otto Porter, or Jan Vesely?

Rasual Butler, SF

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

Slammed home a transition alley-oop from Wall. Grabbed a handful of rebounds. That was it.

Kevin Seraphin, C

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

The Walking Hook Shot shuffled his feet and took hook shots (and one short jumper).

Ramon Sessions, PG

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

It’s kind of amazing to see Sessions hit 3s, since he shot 21.4 percent from beyond the arc in Sacramento. You just don’t expect them to go in. But he buried one in Salt Lake City Wednesday night. Amazing. He’s now shooting 38.5 percent from 3 as a Wizard.

He got to the line once and also hit a floater.

Ramon Sessions is NOT Eric Maynor. He’s a little bit better.

A Wall of Long 2s.

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John Converse Townsend
Reporter / Writer / Co-Editor at TAI
John has been part of the editorial team at TAI since 2010. He likes: pocket passes, chase-down blocks, 3-pointers. He dislikes: typos, turnovers, midrange jump shots.