DC Council Round 1, Game 1: Wizards at Raptors — The Year's Best Dinosaur BBQ | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council Round 1, Game 1: Wizards at Raptors — The Year’s Best Dinosaur BBQ

Updated: April 19, 2015

Truth About It.net’s D.C. Council:
Grading Wizards players from Game 1 of the Wizards vs. Raptors series
Contributor: John Converse Townsend from the District.


Paul Pierce, who paced all players with 20 points, was the hero. “He’s ‘The Truth’ for a reason. He built that name for a reason,” said John Wall post-game. If there was a villain, it was probably the Wizards themselves. (A familiar narrative.)

Washington stole the lead late in the second quarter, thanks in large part to Pierce’s red-hot shooting, and built a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter. But, as we’ve come to learn, late concessions and comped passes to overtime are part of the standard Wizards entertainment package. The Wizards, since the All-Star Break, have averaged about 20 points per fourth quarter, the worst mark in the league. They have an embarrassing minus-140 point differential in the final frame, too, in addition to one of the worst clutch-time records in the Association.

The underdog visitors, in command for much of the game, were outscored 26-17 in the fourth, allowing Toronto to come back, bit by bit, even without Kyle Lowry, to tie the game at 82. And then come within an inch or two of a regulation win—a Terrence Ross tip-shot rolled off the rim as time expired.

Winning basketball games in the NBA is never easy, and Head Coach Randy Wittman let people know it time and time again in the regular season. It matters less that in Game 1 the Wizards didn’t do much to make it easier on either end—especially late in regulation—but that they did, in fact, win.

“It takes the pressure off us and puts it on them now,” said proud fire-starter Pierce, who passed Big Game James Worthy on the all-time postseason scoring list in the process.

Game 2 is on Tuesday night, but Saturday’s grades are right here and now.


Washington Wizards



Box Score

Toronto Raptors


Nene Hilario, PF

21 MIN | 6-13 FG | 0-2 FT | 13 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | +10 +/-

Nene’s decision to sit out the last seven games of the regular season paid off on Saturday afternoon. He pulled in rebounds like a professional pickup artist: seven in the first nine minutes, 13 by game’s end (his highest total since March of 2013). NBA fans, looking back, might only remember the whirling, very suspect step-back jumper he took in overtime, the two free throws he missed moments later, or the very typical whining from the opening tip, but Nene was great: a double-double, dino trouble, and a game-high plus/minus.

Paul Pierce, SF

37 MIN | 7-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | +6 +/-

“Maybe we’ll shoot more 3-pointers in the playoffs because the paint is going to be pretty much clogged up,” Pierce said in the run up to the 2015 postseason. A textbook use of the royal “we.” In Game 1, the Wiz attempted 21 shots from deep and the Hall of Famer was responsible for seven attempts and four of Washington’s six makes. The Wizards are now 5-1 in games in which Pierce scores 20 or more points. The Truth hurts.

Marcin Gortat, C

26 MIN | 3-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | +2 +/-

Early foul trouble meant that the Polish Machine would idle on the bench for long stretches in Game 1. But Gortat delivered when called upon, converting on three of his six field goal attempts (all contested) and stepping up as the Wizards’ best rim protector. Gortat allowed the Raps to shoot 72.7 percent at the rim (on 11 attempts), which seems high, but that was the best DFG% among players on either team challenged more than five times.

John Wall, PG

44 MIN | 5-18 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 8 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +6 +/-

John Wall couldn’t buy a bucket. He went 3-for-10 on contested attempts and, somehow, shot even worse when left open (2-for-8). This does not mean that Wall hurt the Wizards. His swaying set-up moves, which predictably ended in isolation jumpers, came in the ‘flow’ of Randy Wittman’s offensive system, long rusted over, and, as the only player capable of creating his own shot, he gets a presidential pardon. A 10-point, 6-rebound, 11-assist (including 3 hockey assists) afternoon with a single turnover means the Leonsidata bounces back with a positive approval rating, even without a single free throw attempt.

Bradley Beal, SG

48 MIN | 6-23 FG | 3-5 FT | 9 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 16 PTS | +8 +/-

The ball wasn’t bouncing Bradley Beal’s way, either: six makes in 23 attempts. Eight tries were taken in the paint, seven came behind the 3-point line, and the other eight came from #PandaRange, where he made just two. He did, however, manage to get Kyle Lowry kicked out of the game, pulling up from midrange and selling minimal contact like Derek Fisher. And Beal covered more ground than any other player, by more than half a mile, while playing solid denial defense against DeMar DeRozan, Toronto’s dangerous swingman. An ‘A’ for effort, but, considering the ton of bricks, a ‘B’ overall.

Drew Gooden, PF

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

The offense probably shouldn’t run through Drizzle, but it so often does. He had more touches (46) than all but two Wizards players—John Wall and Bradley Beal. And most of his shot attempts, which he missed, regrettably came from long-Drew range. But forget all that: Gooden blocked a two-handed dunk attempt from Jonas Valanciunas back to Utena, Lithuania, early in the fourth quarter. Massive.

Otto Porter Jr., SF

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

Otto Porter, based on his Game 1 play, hasn’t yet been taken to the “hood” by John Wall or punched in the face by Paul Pierce. Still learnin’, still just out there, Porter scored his first points on an awkward, hanging, transition layup attempt that, at takeoff, looked like it’d be a two-handed flush. That was inside the last minute of the first quarter. He wouldn’t score again till the final minute of overtime, creeping into the paint for a five-foot floater assisted by John Wall: Dagger.

Kevin Seraphin, C

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

Seraphin was the only Wizards player to finish the game with a negative plus/minus. He converted on half of his rebound chances and field goal attempts, including a 15-foot jump shot with about six minutes left in the game, which led Randy Wittman to shoo Gortat, then at the scorer’s table, back to his spot on bench. Trigger-happy Seraphin spent too much time on weird, bench-heavy lineups, but that’s no fault of his own. As Raptors writer Blake Murphy noted in his recap of the game, Pierce and Seraphin were a minus-8 in three minutes as a frontcourt, while Pierce with Nene or Gortat as the de facto center went plus-nine in 14 minutes.

Ramon Sessions, PG

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

Sessions made a layup, missed a layup; made a 3, missed a 3. He was a distributor in the basic sense of the word, passing the ball on 31 of his 34 non-shooting touches.

Randy Wittman

The ol’ ball coach played Pierce at the 4, after ignoring that opportunity during the regular season as if it’d been advertised by a telemarketer. Asked whether he was saving that offensive wrinkle for the playoffs, Wittman said: “You want me to give you the secrets that we’re going to have for Game 2 also?”


This was Wittman during the game:

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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.