Boston's 3 Party Bags Wittman & Co. — Wizards at Celtics, DC Council 13 | Wizards Blog Truth About

Boston’s 3 Party Bags Wittman & Co. — Wizards at Celtics, DC Council 13

Updated: November 28, 2015

The D.C. Council… TAI’s highlights, seen and heard, from each Washington Wizards game. Now: Wizards at Celtics, Game 13, Nov. 27, 2015 at TD Garden in Boston, Mass., via John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend).


Jared Dudley. See, because John Wall let players waltz past him like a New York City subway turnstile, and Bradley Beal dulled fast after a razor-sharp start, Dudley’s nomination as the Most Valuable Player comes without contest from any other Wizard.

That does not mean, however, that this accolade, mostly meaningless in a 33-point blowout, was not earned or justified. Dudley was shouting defensive orders to his teammates, including “ICE,” in which the strategy is to pressure the pick-and-roll ball handler away from the center of the floor. He may not have been the only one communicating on defense, but he was certainly the loudest, clearly heard on the broadcast. This is standard operating procedure for the vet, a great team defender who prides himself on verbal synchronization. Dudley, in man-to-man matchups, pressured the ball effectively, even against much taller opponents like Kelly Olynyk, and came up with two blocks.

On the other side of the ball, Dudley was aggressive as a ball handler, attacking the paint, drawing fouls and even keeping his head up for the extra pass (did have four turnovers). And he was always willing to initiate early screen contact, even on the slow break, to free John Wall from the ball-and-chain that is Avery Bradley. And he was eager to screen again, before flaring out to the wing or popping into space above the key. Dudley had 19 points off the bench (6-for-7 from the free throw line, 3-for-4 from 3) with about two minutes left in the third, but by then Washington was down 20 points.


Whatever Celtics Coach Brad Stevens DID NOT tell Randy Wittman last December. Remember, after the Wizards wrapped up their 2014-15 series against Boston, fishing 2-1, Wittman asked Stevens for advice, specifically on the offensive side of the ball. This was, perhaps, the precise moment of enlightenment for a coach loathe to innovate. Now, the Wizards, committed to the spread offense adopted by every NBA team except for the Los Angeles Lakers, look like a Conestoga wagon bumping along a dirt road with a splintered wheel. They’re a televised basketball tragedy, or dark comedy about dysentery, depending on your perspective. This season has been a disaster. The Celtics look like a cast steel locomotive, intimidating, loud and powerful with a powdered soot finish.

Stevens’ sons like Jae Crowder are taking three dribbles to start a fast break, heaving the ball 50 feet up-court to a big man like David Lee, who knows to push-pass the ball to the corner, where a stretch 4 like Olynyk will be ready to make an open 3. Boston arguably looks even better in the half-court: they ran Washington’s defense ragged, five players scrambling to close-out, switching out of necessity rather than researched design to prevent open dunks or 3-pointers. The C’s made 12 of their 33 attempts from 3, good for 36 points, Washington’s first-half point total. That works.

What doesn’t is the Wizards’ tendency to rely far too much on a soft pick-and-pop between John Wall and Kris Humphries, which creates no space, an action which eventually funnels the basketball to limited playmaker Gary Neal. And, somehow, Marcin Gortat continues to be as imposing as a garden gnome on defense and a complete afterthought in this offense, a part of just 27 roll-man possessions this season.


Marcin Gortat. 

“I think Gortat is going to end up in a James Bond movie, y’know, before his career is done,” Boston play-by-play man Mike Gorman said.

“He’s got that villainous look,” color analyst Tommy Heinsohn added.

But seeing Gortat’s start to this season, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t scare Miss Moneypenny. Gortat got dominated in the paint by Jared Sullinger, who posted a double-double in the first half. He lost tip-ins to Sully, tapped out rebounds to Celtics players, committed offensive fouls, even let David Lee finish an alley-oop layup over him, and missed just about every shot he took. He was 1-for-8 from the field and 1-for-7 on contested field goal attempts. And while he did lead the Wizards in total rebounds, he only grabbed nine in 24 chances. Sullinger picked up 15 boards in 19 chances and Washington lost the rebound battle by 12 (58-46).

That Game Was … Over By Halftime.

The Celtics led 54-36 by halftime and led by as many as 38. The Wizards’ largest lead? Well, uh, see … they never had one.

It was also an exercise in obstinacy, or tone deafness, from the head coach.

“I feel like we can’t have me and Brad sitting, that’s just my opinion,” Wall said after the loss in Charlotte. “Coach makes the decision he feels is best for us. I just feel like one of us has to be in in that situation because when you’re on the road, this is the time when you can step on them.”

Two days after franchise’s worst-ever collapse, as soon as he was able, Wittman repeatedly played lineups in which both John Wall and Bradley Beal watched from the sideline. The head coach can’t prevent every turnover, and certainly can’t guarantee that his players will make open shots, I can’t say that he’s done a good enough job tweaking the offense, defense or rotations (foul machine DeJuan Blair played 15 minutes). If he’s trying to teach his star guards a lesson, it’s being lost on them. And the Wizards, as a unit, responded by shooting 32 percent from the field against Boston, collecting only 16 assists on the night, and committing 22 turnovers.

The Celtics have now outscored the Wizards 229-176 in 96 minutes.

After the game, Wittman once again accused the Wizards of hanging their heads and pouting after missed shots. “You can’t play this game solely based on if you’re making or missing shots. We have energy to start the game, but when we miss shots we lose that,” he said.

The losses are piling up and habitual prodding and finger-pointing hasn’t motivated Wittman’s millionaires, nor should we expect it to. The only thing it seems to be inspiring is a lack of faith.




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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.