DC Council 82: Wizards at Cavaliers — How Brendan Haywood Got His Groove Back | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council 82: Wizards at Cavaliers — How Brendan Haywood Got His Groove Back

Updated: April 16, 2015

Truth About It.net’s D.C. Council:
Grading Wizards players from Game No. 82: Washington Wizards
versus the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.
Contributor: Conor Dirks from the District.


Brendan Haywood finished off the Wizards in the final seconds of overtime in the last game of the 2014-15 regular season while wearing a Cavaliers uniform. This is how the season ends. How it was meant to end. A good end.

Just 82 games ago, before all of the victories and the losses, and before a season’s worth of content and pixels burst through the door of your internet (welcome or unwelcome) with a salted bagel that you just know was dropped on the floor, this was what the basketball gods intended. Brendan Haywood, who used to delight in lassoing LeBron’s neck with overstuffed arms, rising up for a seven-foot “jump shot” that looked more like a question than a basketball play and fucking drilling it with ten seconds on the clock, putting the Cavs in the lead, 109-108.

Wait. No. That’s not how it ends. Because there were 10 seconds left. THIS is how it really ended: after that Haywood make, the Wizards were slapped in the face by the defeathered wing of the rarest of birds: a five-second call on the resulting inbounds play. And it was barely five seconds, leading to delightful incredulity from Comcast’s play-by-play great Steve Buckhantz. It was fitting, and it was good.

What’s that? There’s more? There is. The five-second call was not an appropriately barbaric end. Anyone still watching the overtime of a meaningless contest peppered with end-of-bench players like our old friend Haywood (who was acquired by the Wizards in 2001 for Laron Profit and a first-round draft pick) deserved worse. From atop the celestial mountain, the poor sap deity who drew the “god of hoop-based American sport” straw at the beginning of time wanted to make sure that anyone paying attention was punished accordingly. The playoffs call, and no one is answering because they’re all too worried about players getting injured in completely forfeitable contests.

The Wizards fouled Matthew Dellavedova, who hit two free throws—111-108, Cavs. No matter, said the Wizards. But again, the Wizards didn’t even get to attempt a shot. Instead, Martell Webster threw a whisper of a pass across the nostrils of an excellent defender, and said excellent defender (Shawn Marion) quite literally smiled as he bounded down the court for the last basket of the Cavaliers season—113-108, Cavs. Marion was subsequently pounced by his teammates as if he’d just hit a shot to make the sweetest of Sweet 16s.

And so it comes to pass that before the playoffs begin, and the Wizards season is reborn with specific purpose like Rand al’Thor, one last set of grades will be generated. You won’t care, and that is wise. This is the potato sediment at the bottom of a bag of chips. This is the Now That’s What I Call Music 923,702. This is the dead link at the bottom of a Ted’s Take post. This is me googling whether Mountain Dew can cause breakouts at midnight in an incognito tab. This is Kevin Love shuddering with infinitesimal sadness and impossible alacrity due to a technical glitch on the Comcast broadcast. This is an end before a more important beginning and goddamn man just get on with it already.


Washington Wizards



Box Score

Cleveland Cavaliers


Kris Humphries, PF

29 MIN | 4-7 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | 0 +/-

Secret Weapon, as some call him, will be oh so important against the Raptors. The Wizards are a mid-range heavy team, and Humphries is their most reliable option. He shot 3-for-5 from mid-range against the Cavs.

Rasual Butler, SF

45 MIN | 7-19 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 17 PTS | +9 +/-

Listen, this is all I want. I want Rasual Butler, who seems to be the only Wizard with enough wherewithal to volume shoot 3-pointers (5.6 attempts per 36 minutes), to get playoff minutes. I want them to be brief, but I want them to be deadly. I want the Wizards to lure the Raptors to sleep like the lullaby of a dowdy dowager countess sung softly over the overly ornate crib of a toddler, and then I want Rasual Butler to come out like “Here’s the thing, I’m going to shoot 3-pointers” and for the Raptors to be like “whaaaaaa” and for the Wizards to subsequently score points. Oh yeah, Butler opened the game with a 3-point make, and would go on to take seven more of those things while leading the dang team in minutes.

Otto Porter Jr., SF

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

Animal not quite as substantial as an elephant in the room: Otto Porter got hurt in this one. Someone’s gotta take the court, as the NBA doesn’t allow forfeits. But this sucks. After the game, Wittman told media that the injury was “minor,” but it’s also a sprained ankle. So we’ll see.

Marcin Gortat, C

14 MIN | 4-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +8 +/-

Whenever Gortat gets a question about in-game fatigue, or whether he wants to rest, or really anything to which an affirmative answer would attribute a level of sissyness, he answers that he is fully capable of playing 48 minutes every single game. I believe him! Without the mohawk, his head almost resembles a hard hat. I can see the lunch pail, with Gortat hanging out on a steel beam hundreds of feet in the air, eating a ham and mayo sandwich, while everyone else avoids him because it’s not a good idea to share a suspended steel beam with a dude who is seven feet tall. Gortat made sure he played in all 82 games this season after playing in 81 of 82 games last season. Whether it’s important to Gortat to be “worth” what the Wizards spent on him (and amount of games played is an incredibly valid way to prove that when you are as consistently good as Gortat) is unknowable until someone asks him. Otherwise, Gortat was maybe just a little too amped about being a road grader: he took some glee in hitting short jumpers over Kevin Love, but probably took less satisfaction in missing two shots from each elbow.

Ramon Sessions, PG

37 MIN | 4-8 FG | 4-6 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | -7 +/-

I like Ramon Sessions. From what I saw of the game in between incantations of curses laid upon myself for watching the game at all, Sessions took two of the most casual, slow-dribble, happen-to-be-open after a halfhearted screen, unassisted pull up jumper 3-pointers, and hit them both. The first one was contested by a recovering Kevin Love. The second one was watched from afar by Dellavedova, who was too busy being Australian on the continental drift of a moving Kevin Seraphin screen. Sessions still isn’t a great answer to the question of “who can run a cogent backup offense when John Wall isn’t in the game?” But he’s careful enough with the ball, and dangerous enough as a scoring option, to provide valuable minutes.

Martell Webster, SF

36 MIN | 5-9 FG | 7-8 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 20 PTS | -4 +/-

Holy shit. Webster had 20 points on nine shots, went 3-for-5 on 3-pointers, and shot eight free throws. In what has to have been an incredibly, incredibly, incredibly disappointing season for Webster after having surgery on his back in the offseason, piecing together an immaculate game like this one must feel like its own kind of rebirth. And so, in light of that, I dedicate a verse from the first poem everyone reads in college to Webster. Because who the fuck am I to think I know what anything means to him?

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it towards some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all;
That is not it, at all.”

DeJuan Blair, C

24 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -5 +/-

DeJuan Blair got the ball under the basket with no defenders in the area. Dunk city. Except he just laid it up. Curious, until you realize he didn’t dunk the ball because he can’t dunk the ball. Anyways, the more you know (jingle plays in background, star races across your mind trailed by all of the colors of the rainbow, you remember that song from Disney’s Pocahontas, you realize you have never heard a wolf cry to a blue corn moon, you wonder why animals are being fed corn instead of grass when it’s basically indigestible, you discover the United States government has been subsidizing corn crops for decades and that there is a national surplus of the stuff, you go to the vending machine and press the letter button and the number button, contaminating each with a cold you developed last weekend).

Kevin Seraphin, C

39 MIN | 6-13 FG | 0-1 FT | 12 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 5 TO | 12 PTS | -11 +/-

Twelve points, twelve rebounds, twelve percent chance he plays meaningful playoff minutes, twelve percent chance he re-signs with the Wizards this offseason. His defense is poor enough to counterbalance what is, quite literally, the best lil’ hook shot in the league. Seraphin may, however, be just froggy enough to get tossed from a playoff game.

Will Bynum, PG

21 MIN | 5-15 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 8 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | -13 +/-

Will Bynum dribbles quite a bit. I’ve heard him described as a cannonball, but that’s not quite right. He’s more like one of those magnetic hematite spheres, searching for its pair. But he can be useful, and with Garrett Temple’s injury (which seems to be of the eternal sort), Bynum could be called upon to be a playmaker (and that is where he’s stood out, if he’s stood out, with the Wizards) in the dregs of a few playoff games.

Le Vine.

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Conor Dirks
Reporter / Writer / Co-Editor at TAI
Conor has been with TAI since 2012, and aids in the seamless editorial process that brings you the kind of high-octane blogging you have come to expect from this rad website. The Wizards have been an assiduous companion throughout his years on the cosmic waiver wire. He lives in D.C. and is day-to-day.