DC Council 72: Wizards vs Pacers — Another Tragic Meltdown | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council 72: Wizards vs Pacers — Another Tragic Meltdown

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Updated: March 27, 2015

Truth About It.net’s D.C. Council:
Grading Wizards players from Game No. 72: Wizards versus Pacers in Washington.
Contributor: Adam McGinnis from the Verizon Center.

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Wittman, Washington Wizards, NBA

(All pictures by TAI’s Adam McGinnis.)

Oh my goodness … NOT AGAIN! Something seemed off on Wednesday evening when, hours before tip off, I saw not one but two seflie sticks inside the Verizon Center, each followed by the phantom purple blur of a shameghost. I proceeded to partake in my usual routine of taking pictures of warmups along the baseline. The denizens of #WizardsTwitter need their Rasual-Butler-dribbling-pixel fix, right?

Unfortunately, the unease I felt when entering the arena proved ominous.

Bradley Beal would roll his ankle in a terrifying fall—a failed Eurostep—and Washington would blow a double-digit fourth-quarter lead to a struggling Indiana team on a six-game losing streak. Randy Wittman’s coaching blunders, and behavior, would make him an easy target for the national sports media. Another elite All-Star performance from John Wall went to waste.

But enough about my intuitiveness and discerning aura reads. Let’s slide the corpse of this game out on my internet slab and conduct an autopsy.


 

Indiana Pacers

103

Final

Box Score

Washington Wizards

101

Nene Hilario, PF

28 MIN | 3-8 FG | 4-6 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -8 +/-

Nene did a great job helping to negate Roy Hibbert and David West on the defensive end. But he continued to take many questionable long jumpers and passed up several opportunities to drive to the hoop.

I have always defended Nene against any detractors because, while his numbers might not be flashy, he is the most valuable player on this team not named John Wall. However, I can not justify his decision to duck out on answering questions to the media again. Instead of explaining what happened on the last key play where he, along with Martell Webster, allowed Hill to drive to the rim for a game winner, Nene took off to meet Argentina’s national soccer team, who were in attendance.

Last season the Brazilian famously called out young players for not being professional enough, and having their heads up their butts, but here was the veteran, who makes $13 million a season, not owning up publicly to his mistakes so he could take pictures with soccer players from Brazil-rival Argentina.

Wall had to explain the last play to the media for him. Lord Nene disappointed his flock of supporters.


Paul Pierce, SF

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

Pierce seemed like a decoy on offense when the team could have used his playmaking ability with Beal out after the first quarter. If the Wizards, who seem destined for the 5-seed, continue to falter, it could be soon time to shut down The Truth until the postseason.


Marcin Gortat, C

30 MIN | 7-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTS | +2 +/-

Gortat had an excellent outing and was instrumental in Washington’s second-half rally. He put in 10 third-quarter points and had the Pacers D befuddled by some of his post moves. The only one who appeared able to slow Gortat down was his own coach, who (once again) limited his crunch-time minutes.


John Wall, PG

41 MIN | 11-21 FG | 10-11 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 34 PTS | -1 +/-

You can sometimes run out of superlatives to describe the play of John Wall. He was simply sensational.

He became more of a scorer than a distributor over the third and fourth quarters, which is exactly what the Wizards needed Wall to be, and his jumper was wet.

At one point early in the final period, Wall had scored 14 of Washington’s previous 16 points. John attacked the Pacers in transition, got to the free throw line, and came up clutch with a game-tying 3-pointer with 11 seconds left on the clock.

If the Wizards really are sinking under the weight of their expectations like the Titanic, as Tony Kornheiser said on PTI last night, then John Wall is strapping on a jetpack and an industry-grade chain trying to pull the team out of those deadly, ice-cold waters.


Bradley Beal, SG

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

Beal rolled his ankle on a nasty spill while planting and trying to go around the defense in transition in the first quarter. He never returned. Beal later walked out of the locker room without crutches or an air cast but will still probably be “day-to-day” for an eternity.


Drew Gooden, PF

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

The cheesy dance song lyrics in “Party Rock Anthem” come to mind when watching Drew play. He is trying hard to do stuff (everyday he’s shuffling) but he can’t always execute successfully. Coach Wittman can never question his effort, just maybe his poor defensive awareness that was exposed repeatedly by the Pacers bigs.


Otto Porter Jr., SF

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

I am not a part of the loud “why doesn’t Otto play more?” fan club, but I am closer to becoming a member. With Beal out, Webster ineffective, and Butler struggling, Porter should have at least gotten some burn. His only action was in the last minute to play defense. The small moral victory: “Frozen Otto” did not do anything embarrassing to earn another appearance on Shaq’s blooper reel.


Martell Webster, SF

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

Good Martell: quick hands that produced a few steals … and he still has the ability to draw fouls on his jump shot attempts.

Bad Martell: pretty much everything else.

The confidence in his shot is lost, his passes are predictable, and the guy’s lateral quickness is toast. He is not a very useful NBA player right now, but somehow he was guarding the Pacers’ best player on the most pivotal sequence of the game. Go figure.


Rasual Butler, SF

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

Rasual got into double-digits in scoring, which is a positive. Yet his long-range marksmanship is glaringly off and he should probably no longer be in the rotation. But, as Jordan Crawford so aptly put it, “who else gon’ shoot?”


Kevin Seraphin, C

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

Seraphin got some boards and for once, and didn’t seem to piss off his coach.

Did you hear #KSLife is back on Instagram?


Ramon Sessions, PG

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

Ramon didn’t light up the stat sheet but I was impressed at how good he looks on the court with Wall. Even if he can’t always finish, Sessions often attacks the rim and draws contact (he did make a nice transition layup down the stretch). Sessions also rarely takes a bad shot. He, perhaps, deserved more playing time in the closing moments, as he may have been a better option on defense versus George Hill than Webster (faster feet).


Randy Wittman

There have been several negative TAI pixels produced about Wittman’s coaching lately. His broken offensive system is painfully apparent, and the borderline delusional “effort” explanations he provides about his team’s woes insult your basketball intelligence.

First, some proper context on Coach Wittman’s tenure with the Wizards.

When he led an undermanned Washington team to a franchise-worst 4-28 record, I argued strongly to evaluate him with a full squad. During Washington’s sluggish start in fall of 2013, the national media vultures wanted his scalp. I lashed out at their rush to judgement and urged patience. After he led Washington to an improbable playoff series victory over Chicago in five games, I lauded him for out-coaching the Bulls. I supported his contract extension, considering the success he achieved at helping turn a doormat franchise around.

Throughout the ups and downs of the current season, fans often peppered me with angry questions about replacing the coaching staff, and I’ve always said to wait until their playoff run concludes to fairly assess their overall performance. However, this does not mean Wittman is above criticism for his in-game decision-making; he deserves much scorn for what I witnessed on Wednesday night at the Phone Booth.

With the Wiz up six points, the Sessions-Butler-Webster-Seraphin-Gooden lineup started the fourth quarter. Indiana immediately made a 3 and Wall soon checked back in for Webster. Somehow the Wizards offense was able to keep the lead because Wall was still on fire, and Gooden and Sessions had put in some buckets. The big man duo of Seraphin and Gooden was a defensive liability, however, and it was only a matter of time before the levees broke. Wall then hit another jumper, and the Pacers called timeout with the Wizards leading, 90-80, with 6:46 left in the game.

That lineup was living on house money and that juncture would have been the perfect time to put in Nene or Gortat, or even Pierce, to close this game out. Nope, not Randy, the same five returned to the court, and the Pacers continued their comeback by dominating inside with easy buckets. Gooden looked completely lost on defense. Nene didn’t return until the 4:31 mark and Gortat at 4:00. At that point, Washington’s lead was down to four and Indiana now had offensive momentum.

Pierce finally checked in at 2:53 mark for Webster, whose terrible pass had just allowed the Pacers to trim the Wizards’ lead some more. Butler, who had been off all night and should have been subbed out for Sessions, turned the ball over and Indiana was then in front.

Perhaps the general plan is rest team veterans as much as possible, but when you are desperate for a win and have a chance to put away a struggling Indiana team at home in the final quarter, you stomp them out. Not putting Wall on Hill on the game’s deciding play, subbing out Gortat, and his players’ inability to execute a trap versus George Hill was all justifiably scrutinized, but Wittman’s major screw up was not finishing out Indiana with his best lineup when he had the chance.


Pictures.

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Jimmy Clutch.

Defensive Breakdown.

Short and Sweet and Sour.

Vines.

Big Panda Pain.

Wittman needs to hit up Church more to increase his faith in half court shots. 

 

Post-game Interviews.

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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.