DC Council Round 2, Game 6: Wizards vs Hawks — The Traumatic End, Nothing Lasts Forever | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council Round 2, Game 6: Wizards vs Hawks — The Traumatic End, Nothing Lasts Forever

By
Updated: May 21, 2015

Truth About It.net’s D.C. Council:
Grading Wizards players from Second Round Playoff Game No. 6:
Washington Wizards versus the Atlanta Hawks in D.C.
Contributor: Adam McGinnis from the Verizon Center.DC-Council-Logo-2

All of the SIGHS … because Washington’s 94-91 series-ending loss to Atlanta is going to sting for awhile. A very long time. Similar to Coach Wittman’s weekend fog, I needed a few days of grieving before being able to process and react.

For the fourth straight playoff game of the Eastern Conference Semifinal, the outcome came down to a shot in the final moments, and, once again, Washington finished on the short end. Pierce’s off balance, game-tying corner 3-pointer rolled in at the buzzer and blasted the Verizon Center crowd into a cosmic state. Nervous energy soon mixed into the air as everyone waited for the official decision—did he get it off in time? The seconds of anticipation felt like minutes, while the “Phone Booth” still possessed a party atmosphere due to another classic Truth Bomb.

The ref took off his headset, waved off the shot, the MC mumbled the final score, and the Hawks began to celebrate.

Game over. Series done. Season complete.

The rocking vibe hushed Wizards fans into a paralyzed state of disbelief. Thousands of fans, shocked, began to file out like zombies and others stayed in their seats, struggling to accept the reality of the situation before ushers attempted to snap them out of it. The immediate reaction was not one of sadness or anger, but an empty feeling. Nothingness. It seems only live sporting events are able to produce these odd emotions.

The anticlimactic ending overshadowed a valiant fourth-quarter comeback by the home team and stellar performances by Washington’s two young stars. John Wall and Bradley Beal were sensational in erasing Atlanta’s 10-point fourth-quarter lead. Unfortunately, the Wizards’ elite defense was unable to get two crucial stops in the final minute, allowing the Hawks to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time.

This loss completed last week’s trifecta of painful defeats on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Randy Wittman summarizes my mood during media exit interviews: “It just sucks.

Enough of the melancholy, let us D.C. Council…

paul pierce, jose andres, game 6, washington wizards, atlanta hawks, playoffs, truth about it

Paul Pierce is grabbed by Chef Jose Andres (picture courtesy of Washington Post)


Atlanta Hawks

94

Final

Box Score

Washington Wizards

91

Nene Hilario, PF

26 MIN | 2-7 FG | 1-4 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -8 +/-

Atlanta was a bad matchup for the Brazilian big man and his many struggles in the series are still hard to sugarcoat. However, redemption was on the table for Lord Nene for in Game 6. He played a key part in Washington’s fourth-quarter surge with excellent defense and he pulled down several key rebounds. It then all fell apart in such dramatic fashion that he’s possibly stained his D.C. legacy. Nene missed two huge free throws and blew a costly defensive assignment in the final minute. This defensive lapse caused John Wall to shoot him a dirty look when they came to the bench afterward. On Washington’s next possession, down two, with fifty seven seconds remaining, Nene took an inbound pass and instead of passing it to Bradley Beal or Wall, he drove to the hoop and threw up an ugly miss. This costly decision and the Game 5 missed rebound will linger in the mind of Wizards follwers for a long time.


Paul Pierce, SF

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

During the postgame media session, the eyes of Pierce swelled up when discussing the emotional toll his profession puts on his family. His sullen and introspective words hinted that this could be the last game of Paul’s illustrious career. Pierce has a $5 million player option for 2015-16. This would be a terrible way for “The Truth” to go out, and not specifically because his 3 being ruled to have come after the final red light. Simply, Pierce was awful in Game 6. He threw up forced shots, highlighted by an air ball, and was absolutely roasted on defense. Aside from Wall’s injury, Washington not having answer for Paul Millsap (often Pierce’s mark) all series was the main reason Atlanta is now facing Cleveland. The “I called game” memory will never be forgotten, but hopefully Pierce wanting to make up for his porous attempt at defense motivates him to come back for a final season.


Marcin Gortat, C

12 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -16 +/-

The venom on #WizardsTwitter was biting when Gortat sat out the majority of the second half. Fans, who were over watching Nene look old, could not understand why their $60-million center was riding the pine with the season on the line. We found out later that Gortat was battling a virus (food poisoning) and spent the previous night getting fluids through an IV. Credit to Gortat that he tried to battle through his illness, but what an unfortunate way for his rocky but productive season to conclude.


John Wall, PG

44 MIN | 7-21 FG | 6-7 FT | 6 REB | 13 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 6 TO | 20 PTS | -5 +/-

Two Sundays ago, the Wizards were steamrolling contenders with an unblemished playoff record. After five games, they possessed the top-ranked offense and the second-ranked defense in the postseason. Wall was being praised as the top performer of the playoffs. With other Eastern Conference elite squads showing vulnerabilities, Washington had a legit path to the NBA finals. Those exciting plans became obsolete when Wall injured his wrist, forcing him to miss Games 2, 3 and 4. The Wizards competed in his absence, but they were no longer a team in control. Wall’s return to the series was legendary stuff, yet it will probably lose some shine due to the outcomes.

Wall’s performances with a broken left hand/wrist should not go overlooked; he was electric in Game 6. He attacked the rim, got teammates involved, and fired up the crowd with his Vine Machine highlights. The All-Star played almost the entire game. He did lose DeMarre Carroll on a back-cut that will probably stick with him all summer.

Injuries dogged Wall throughout the first three seasons of his career and his spotty health became a talking point for his detractors. Surely, his 2015 post season should shut up all those haters.


Bradley Beal, SG

43 MIN | 11-24 FG | 4-4 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 29 PTS | -3 +/-

During the regular season, the criticism on “Big Panda” was the need for him to shoot more 3s, stop settling for long 2s, and be more of a play-maker off the dribble. In Game 6, he checked all those boxes. Beal hit big shots, made plays, and was noticeably more aggressive. The most impressive part was what he did on the defensive end by shutting down Atlanta’s sharpshooter Kyle Korver. For the second straight postseason, Beal was outstanding in the playoffs and now is the need for him to carry another stellar May-time performance into next season. Oh, maybe they could also put him in bubble wrap until training camp to avoid any injuries.


Drew Gooden, PF

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

Gooden bounced back from a horrendous Game 5 in Atlanta with solid contributions in Game 6. He knocked down a 3, which opened a few driving lanes for his teammates. For the most part, his suspect defense was actually not a liability. “Drizzle” flourishing in his new stretch-4 role could make him a candidate to return next season.


Otto Porter Jr., SF

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

The “OT-TO POR-TER” chants were out in full force when the fan-favorite continued to out-scrap Atlanta for loose balls. Porter finished with a game-high six offensive rebounds. His dunk on a fast break produced the loudest sounds of the evening until Pierce’s corner 3. Otto gave all his skinny frame would allow on the court. The only negative was Porter missing two big open 3s that he had been making in previous games.

Helluva post season by Otto. Our Young Simba is growing up!


Kevin Seraphin, C

28 MIN | 6-11 FG | 1-2 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | +8 +/-

In what could have been Seraphin’s last game in a Wizards uniform, Kevin was exceptional. He provided his team with an offensive spark in the first half and even wasn’t a disaster of defense. The Wizards came up short, but #KSLife went out with a bang.


Ramon Sessions, PG

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

With Wall and Beal combining for 87 minutes, there was little burn for Ramon. Sessions still needs to run the team better but, overall, he was positive addition to the team by the front office and should continue to serve as a nice backup off the bench next season.


Garrett Temple, SG

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

Temple was inserted for defense and he made two clutch free throws that allowed Washington an opportunity for an improbable comeback.


Randy Wittman, Quoted:

“I am really proud of our guys. The heart they showed this year, taking this step again and ending up basically where we were last year. We had three 1 possession games in this series. We won one and they won two of them. We did not come out particularly sharp today in the first half. We got down 15 and we just kept playing. I am just so proud of their heart to stay in and fight and give themselves another opportunity to win. We just have to keep knocking on that door. We are going to knock it down. I like where we are at. Disappointed obviously like you are at any time at the end of the year but love their heart and fight that they gave me.”


Pictures.

Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, NBA Playoffs, Adam McGinnis, Game 6, DC, Verizon Center, John Wall, Rasual Butler

Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, NBA Playoffs, Adam McGinnis, Game 6, DC, Verizon Center, Bradley Beal, Program, May 15 2015

Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, NBA Playoffs, Adam McGinnis, Game 6, DC, Verizon Center, Bradley Beal

Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, NBA Playoffs, Adam McGinnis, Game 6, DC, Verizon Center, Truth About It, fans

Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, NBA Playoffs, Adam McGinnis, Game 6, DC, Verizon Center, Truth About It, Otto Porter, Robin Ficker

Robin Ficker’s Sign behind the Hawks Bench

Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, NBA Playoffs, Adam McGinnis, Game 6, DC, Verizon Center, Truth About It, Robin Fickers

Robin Ficker’s outfit

Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, NBA Playoffs, Adam McGinnis, Game 6, DC, Verizon Center, Truth About It, Chris Broussard, Michael Eric Dyson

ESPN’s Chris Broussard chatting with Michael Eric Dyson before game.

Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, NBA Playoffs, Adam McGinnis, Game 6, DC, Verizon Center, Truth About It, Will Bynum, Rasual Butler

Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, NBA Playoffs, Adam McGinnis, Game 6, DC, Verizon Center, Truth About It, John Wall, Garrett Temple, Paul Pierce, Rasual Butler

Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, NBA Playoffs, Adam McGinnis, Game 6, DC, Verizon Center, Truth About It, Drew Gooden, Bradley Beal

Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, NBA Playoffs, Adam McGinnis, Game 6, DC, Verizon Center, Truth About It, John Wall, Nene, Will Bynum

Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, NBA Playoffs, Adam McGinnis, Game 6, DC, Verizon Center, Truth About It, Ramon Sessions, Paul Pierce

Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, NBA Playoffs, Adam McGinnis, Game 6, DC, Verizon Center, Truth About It, John Wall

Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, NBA Playoffs, Adam McGinnis, Game 6, DC, Verizon Center, Truth About It, Paul Pierce, Pat Sullivan

Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, NBA Playoffs, Adam McGinnis, Game 6, DC, Verizon Center, Truth About It, Kyle Korver

Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, NBA Playoffs, Adam McGinnis, Game 6, DC, Verizon Center, Truth About It, Ted Leonsis

Mr. Ted Leonsis was nervous too.

Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, NBA Playoffs, Adam McGinnis, Game 6, DC, Verizon Center, Truth About It, Game Over, Jumbotron

The End: Season Over

Videos.

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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.