DC Council 81: Wizards at Pacers — Washington Fails to Win Best Supporting Actor | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council 81: Wizards at Pacers — Washington Fails to Win Best Supporting Actor

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Updated: April 15, 2015

Truth About It.net’s D.C. Council:
Grading Wizards players from Game No. 81: Washington Wizards
versus the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis.
Contributor: Sean Fagan from some New York City borough.

DC-Council-Logo-2

Having no sense of agency is a strange and abnormal situation for either an individual or a team. One always like to consider oneself the primary actor on life’s stage. Humans, after all, are inherently selfish creatures and reflexively consider the impact of every action on one’s person first and others second. To be stripped of agency and relegated to a prop or stand-in for a “better narrative” is by turns both diminutizing and terrifying. We all want to be Jason or one of the Argonauts; no one wants to be the Golden Fleece.

Today, the Wizards stand as the Golden Fleece because the primary narrative is all about the Indiana Pacers and how their victory in double overtime over the errant team from D.C. puts them one win from snatching an improbable playoff seed.

The pixels generated will focus on the key moment in the first overtime where Paul George hit a jumper with 22.4 seconds left to send the game to its second extra frame. George was extended over his minutes limit to chase the win (he played 18 rather than his trainer-recommended 15) and much will be made of the gutsiness of Coach Frank Vogel to risk his superstar in pursuit of the postseason. Pixels are also being churned over the heavy usage of Indiana’s three key starters—David West, C.J. Miles, and George Hill—who Vogel ran into the ground by playing each over 40 minutes, but each were key in the defeat of the Wizards. There will even be pixels generated about the play of poor Roy Hibbert, who once again pulled a disappearing act for the first three quarters of the game, only to emerge in the fourth quarter and overtime as a semi-competent center capable of dissuading the Wizards from attempting layups, who’s also able to dive onto the floor like a spritely point guard.

The excitement, as they say, is in the chase. And the Pacers have earned all the pixels currently being thrown at them as the narrative of “tired but still fighting” team is spun further and further out into the web.

But where are the Wizards in this narrative? Reduced to a Washington Generals-type status following the conclusion of the game, there appear to be no (or too few) pixels being generated in how the Wizards coughed up a nine-point lead with only 7:07 left in regulation. No questions are aimed at why Washington kicked away the lead by reverting to their season-long stratagem of taking long 2-point attempts, or their inability to keep George Hill from driving into the lane seemingly at will, or the Wizards’ inability to muster any type of offense in the first overtime, when the entire team accumulated a staggeringly low total of four points.

It would be bad form to point out how Washington’s own superstar, John Wall, failed to convert a free throw attempt with 0:54 left in the first overtime, which would have given his team a three-point lead, or how even after Drew Gooden secured the offensive rebound after the miss, the Wizards were unable to run a coherent and productive offensive set. Because the narrative is about the Pacers’ triumph over adversity and not Washington’s own Charlie Brown-like tendency to lose games in the most inexplicable of circumstances.

Of course, Charlie Brown had his own comic. The Wizards, as comprised, are not interesting enough to garner their own narrative. (Look at the headlines over the course of the year. It’s always ‘Bulls lose to the Wizards,’ or ‘Indiana claws past Washington in double OT.’) One always held out hope that Charlie Brown would kick the football (he never did), but one’s own hopes become dimmer by the day at the prospect of the Wizards holding onto a large lead in the fourth quarter.

In tonight’s finale, the Wizards have one last shot at defining their own narrative as they close out the regular season against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Attention of course will be focused on LeBron James and his love/hate relationship with fellow superstar Kevin Love (although it’s unclear whether either will play). Much will be made about the Instagram pictures generated by James, or the fact that Love prefers to sit at home and watch documentaries rather than hit the teeming Cleveland nightlife with his teammates. The Wizards will remain an anonymous backdrop to this melodrama, and one could only hope that John Wall and company (if they play, which is again unclear) have a plan to wrench the spotlight away in the final seconds before attention turns to the playoffs.

Keep scrolling for grades…


 

Washington Wizards

95

Final
(2OT)

Box Score

Indiana Pacers

99

Drew Gooden, PF

38 MIN | 2-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -4 +/-

Gooden was not the magic tonic for the Wizards against the Pacers as he has been against other opponents during Washington’s recent run of semi-success. Perhaps with his ability to shoot from long-range stripped away from him, so too was Gooden’s Superman cape. However, even without scoring, Gooden was valuable on the evening, securing offensive rebounds that could have seen Washington extend its lead if only the Wizards were able to run a proper offensive set.


Paul Pierce, SF

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

There doesn’t seem to be much desire for Pierce to unveil “playoff” Paul Pierce at the moment, and one has to wonder whether the fuel tank on the savvy veteran is finally registering “empty.” Pierce looked slow and disengaged for most of the evening, as his minutes continue to be siphoned off to young Otto Porter.


Marcin Gortat, C

44 MIN | 8-13 FG | 3-4 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 19 PTS | -14 +/-

I’m not sure whether it’s to Gortat’s credit that he shut down Roy Hibbert for a majority of the game or whether Hibbert was so lousy that his sudden emergence in the latter portions of the contest points to Gortat being lured to sleep by Hibbert’s ineffectiveness. Or maybe credit is due to Hibbert’s heart for finally managing to register a pulse.


John Wall, PG

44 MIN | 7-23 FG | 2-3 FT | 2 REB | 11 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 16 PTS | -13 +/-

It is hard to pin the loss on the only Wizards player to show up consistently throughout the season, but the five missed bombs and the vital missed free throw in the first overtime have to be weighed against Wall. After carrying the team on his back all season, one has to wonder at the need to play him 44 minutes with the Wizards’ playoff seeding already established.


Bradley Beal, SG

42 MIN | 7-24 FG | 3-4 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | -11 +/-

The uptick in usage continues to climb for the (bamboo) shoot-eating Panda, but the accuracy has yet to register. Going 7-for-24 from the field is enough to make anyone cringe, but the Wizards are in a position where they are going to ride or die on the shooting of Mr. Beal.


Kris Humphries, PF

19 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -1 +/-

Kris Humphries, running Nene plays, taking 17-foot jumpers in key moments of the game, running Nene plays, missing shots, sometimes making them.


Otto Porter Jr., SF

43 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | 0 +/-

Otto’s ghost returned to haunt the Wizards and he was irrelevant in a game in which he participated for 43 minutes. However, even a ghost is more effective for lengthy periods of time than Paul Pierce’s corpse. And yes, Otto did punch Roy Hibbert in the mouth.


Randy Wittman

Once again a late-game lead splatters against the tarmac. And once again one is left to question what exactly Randy Wittman is saying in his timeouts to inspire the Wizards to kick away games. I’m assuming the advice is something akin to “Why don’t you guys find an open shot and take it?” or “How about we let George Hill into the lane again?” Very effective.


End of Vine.

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Sean Fagan
Reporter / Writer/Gadfly at TAI
Based in Brooklyn, NY, Sean has contributed to TAI since the the dawn of Jan Vesely and has been on the Wizards beat since 2008. His work has been featured on ESPN, Yahoo and SI.com. He still believes that Mike Miller never got a fair shot.