[D.C. Council: setting the scene, rating the starters, assessing the subs, providing the analysis, and catching anything that you may have missed. Unlike the real DC Council, everything here is on the table. Game No. 68, Washington Wizards at Los Angeles Lakers; contributors: Conor Dirks, Rashad Mobley and Kyle Weidie via television broadcast.]
[D.C. Council: setting the scene, rating the starters, assessing the subs, providing the analysis, and catching anything that you may have missed. Unlike the real DC Council, everything here is on the table. Game No. 20, Washington Wizards vs Los Angeles Lakers in D.C.; contributors: Rashad Mobley and Adam McGinnis from the Verizon Center, and Kyle Weidie from behind the T.V.]
Days Like This.
Bradley Beal grimaces after a tough travelling call was made against him late in the game.
Here to provide the DC Council Opening Statements for Washington’s 20th game of the season against the Los Angeles at the Verizon Center are TAI’s Adam McGinnis (@adammcginnis) and guest John Ledesma (@JohnnyNBA), who writes about the NBA for blog called 62/33, and he is a big Lakers fan.
Wizards Starters (3-16):
Jordan Crawford, Bradley Beal, Martell Webster, Chris Singleton, Emeka Okafor
So the Wizards actually beat the Lakers earlier this year. On March 7, 2012, they pulled out a 106-101 victory in the District, led by Nick Young’s 19 points and a still career-high six assists off the bench. Trevor Booker also muscled his way to 18 points and 17 rebounds that night. And if you recall, the Lakers were up 21 points in the second half. It was Washington’s first victory over the Lake Show since Gilbert Arenas dropped 60 points in his hometown of Los Angeles on December 17, 2006.
In the March win, Roger Mason played the hometown hero by somehow going 4-for-7 from the 3-point line in 12 minutes (all in the second half, three in the fourth quarter). Thus, the Wizards managed to turn a crowd mostly in favor of the Lakers to start into an arena rocking for the comeback Wiz Kids in the end. Afterward, Kobe Bryant was understandably terse with the media, trying his best to “keep it to one-word answers.”
Now Kobe’s Lakers come to Washington with a 9-14 record, somehow with only two fewer losses than the 3-16 Wizards, and having lost to the Knicks in Madison Square Garden on Thursday night national television. New York put up 41 points in the first quarter, was up 68-49 at halftime, and ultimately won 116-107. Afterward, Kobe had this to say (via TNT):
“Every game for us has a lot of meaning to it, at this point. I don’t think it’s … Maybe if we were rollin’, playing well, it would probably have added significance [playing Knicks], but at this point, I wish we had the Washington Generals on our schedule.”
[Whether you're a Laker fan or a Thunder hater,
blows to the brain aren't anything to joke about.
An intense game between two Western Conference powers. A hard smack to one player’s head.
The Lakers’ Ron Artest in the middle of it.
But this was February 2011 in Memphis, not yesterday’s Thunder-Lakers game. And Artest was the player getting popped in the head, not the one dishing it out.
Obviously, names and circumstances have changed in the past year. Our understanding of concussion-related risks, too.
So when Ron Artest…er, “Metta World Peace”…threw an elbow into James Harden’s temple on Sunday, I didn’t ponder whether it was intentional. I didn’t quip about “World Peace” committing the most violent act of the season.
ShareBullets… a run-down of commentary on recent Wizards subjects, and links…
Kobe on the Rebuild in Washington.
The below video is a bit old… it’s from the Los Angeles Lakers locker room after they lost to the Wizards in D.C. on March 7 (The Lakers said WHAT?); Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher speak in the video, sort of. Kobe tries his best to keep his answers to one word (he’s even asked by if his post-game media session in Washington is the most “Belichick” he’s ever been), Gasol says the loss was “embarrassing,” and Fisher, playing in his final loss as a Laker, says, “I’ve been around long enough to realize that you can’t allow yourself to be defined by the changing opinions of the critics or media personal that cover our game.”
The most pertinent question for Wizards fans, however, is when Kobe’s asked what needs to happen in Washington to get the franchise to the point of respectability. “Got to make the right decisions,” said Kobe plainly. “You got to make the right decisions from a management standpoint, the players you bring in here. That’s all it is, just making the right choices.” With calls for Ernie Grunfeld’s job reaching the generic sports column platform of the Washington Post, you have to wonder how the current team president’s track record of decision-making has been evaluated by current team ownership.
Nick Young passing (a career-high six assists), Kevin Seraphin putting in disciplined big man work (a career-high 14 points, a tied career-high of nine rebounds), Trevor Booker becoming an unmasked monster (a career-high 17 rebounds, eight offensive), and the big hero, Roger “How U” Mason catching fire (4-for-7 on 3-pointers, 3-for-6 in the fourth quarter)… Just what got into these Washington Wizards on Wednesday night in their 106-101 come-from-behind victory over the Los Angeles Lakers?
The perfect union of normally fractured Wizards efforts came together as one against the super powers of the Lakers, aided by Kobe Bryant jacking shots (which you can read about in a piece by yours truly on ESPN Daily Dime). Kobe went 1-for-1o in the fourth quarter, 3-for-18 in the second half, after scoring 20 first half points (14 during a blazing first quarter start in front of what seemed to be Lakers jerseys out-numbering Wizards jerseys 10-to-1 in the Verizon Center). Any John Wall? Presumed by me to be the Wizards’ only advantage, and chance, going into the game? He finished with a mere four points on 1-for-8 shooting with nine assists and five turnovers. Instead, the Wizards got 55 points off their bench. So whatever it was, after being down 20 points with about six minutes left in the third quarter, they’ll take it.
Randy Wittman after the game: “Hopefully this can go a long way for us in terms of that mentality of staying in the game, playing as hard as you can. You never know in an NBA game what’s going to happen, doesn’t matter who you’re playing.”
A turning point for a young team? A brief glimpse of unfulfilled potential? A rare alignment of stars allowing Washington to beat stars? Only time will reveal these answers… as it always does. The Wizards said WHAT? Exactly.
The ever-turning world of the Los Angeles Lakers comes to the District tonight, fresh off an overtime loss in Detroit last night. You think Kobe and Co. will be motivated to take care of business? Otherwise, Washington’s Nick Young will be showing off in front of his hometown team, and former Maryland Terp Steve Blake will once again be returing home, in a sense. Hey, did you know that in the 2011 calendar year, the Wizards and Lakers did not play each other? That’s the first time the two teams have gone a year without a matchup since forever (dating back to when the Washington franchise was known as the Chicago Packers in ’61-62). Note: This happened because both WAS-LAL games in the 2010-11 season came in December 2010. The last time the Wizards beat the Lakers in Washington came on December 26, 2005… that’s like 2,263 days ago. For today’s 3-on-3, we have Andy Kamenetzy from ESPN Los Angeles’ Land O’ Lakers blog (@ESPNLandOLakers), along with TAI’s Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20) and John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend). Three questions, three answers starts now…
#1) The Lakers weren’t able to slow down Pistons PG Rodney Stuckey, who gashed LA’s defense for 34 points in a Detroit overtime win last night. It looks like an opportunity for John Wall to live up to his “Game Changer” moniker. What would have a bigger impact for the Wizards: 20-plus points or 10-plus assists from Wall?
[Editor's note: The two interesting, or curious, developments in the John Wall injury recovery process is that he is looking into getting his own personal trainer to help with his knee, etc. issues, per the Washington Post's Michael Lee, and that he has shut himself down for an indefinite amount of time. Wall speaks with CSNWashington's Chris Miller in the video below. -Kyle]
[After last week’s Wizards loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, I asked Derek Fisher, Ron Artest and Shannon Brown their impressions of John Wall's game. Wall did not play in the defeat, but had a stellar outing in their previous match up in LA.
Brown commended of Wall’s ability, Fisher heaped high praise on John’s character, and Artest had a comedic response. -Adam]