Here to provide the DC Council Opening Statements for Washington’s 15th game of the season against the Miami Heat in D.C. are TAI’s Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) and guest Surya Fernandez (@SuryaHeatNBA), who writes about the Heat for the SB Nation blog Hot Hot Hoops.
Wizards Starters (1-13):
A.J. Price, Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza, Chris Singleton, Emeka Okafor (More changes to the starting crew in consideration? We will see.)
Sometimes I wonder if LeBron James’ spirit animal is Mitt Romney. I’m not quite sure what this means — and not to get all ‘political’ — but just bare with me. Romney was born into a rich family, and LeBron was born rich with physical gifts that the NBA has never seen before. Both, I’m sure, had to work hard to get to where they are. Both, I have seen, are capable of having emotional expressions on their face which appear obsessively calculated and robotic. (But who doesn’t have silly expressions on their face sometimes?)
What it boils down to is this: Can you see a young “Glove” Romney having all the fun in the world with a dollar bill, a fishing lure, and an inner city street near a homeless shelter? Certainly. And perhaps that’s the visual elicited from the below LeBron GIF-ery performed against the Wizards last night. Let’s watch…
Wait, what just happened? Let’s watch from another angle…
[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. Preseason Game No. 7, Washington Wizards at Miami Heat (in Kansas City, MO); contributors: Adam McGinnis, Rashad Mobleyand Kyle Weidie.]
Jordan Crawford can pass? Yes, Jordan Crawford can pass… to Jan Vesely, a GIF.
[The DC Council -- After each Wizards game: setting the scene, rating the starters, assessing the bench, providing the analysis, and catching anything that you may have missed. Unlike the real DC Council, everything here is over the table. Game 66 contributors: Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20) from behind the television screen and Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis) and Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) from the Verizon Center.]
On Saturday night in South Beach, the Washington Wizards beat a LeBron James/Chris Bosh/Dwyane Wade-less Miami Heat team, 86-84. The Wizards improved to 17-46 on the season without Trevor Booker, Roger Mason Jr., Andray Blatche and Rashard Lewis, as Ted Leonsis might remind you (playing without Blatche… very funny, Ted). Showing signs and giving hope that this current set of players is more worthy of playing together as a team going into next season, the Wizards now hold the second-worst record in the NBA after the seven-win Charlotte Bobcats and before the 20-win Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Hornets. With three games left, beating the Heat also gives Washington their first three-game win streak of the season. The Wizards won three in a row once late last season over the Cavaliers, Bobcats and Pistons. Prior to that, a streak of three wins or longer hadn’t been accomplished since victories over the Heat, Bulls and Pistons in April 2008. Below is the reaction to that rare third win.
With nine assists and zero turnovers in the fourth quarter (13 and five on the night), how could I not give the MVP to John Wall (especially after I spoke bad about his passing on Twitter)? Also, credit the strength of Nene’s hands and his ability to finish with agility; four of Wall’s assists in the final period were off pick-and-roll action to the Brazilian, including the game-winning layup with 0.5 seconds left. But, ultimately it was John’s blazing bursts of speed that Mario Chalmers could not touch which gave the Wizards better chances, and the win. Wall still has major lessons to learn about creating and seeing passing lanes, and his jump shot continued to look bad (0-for-5 outside the paint; 13 points on 6-for-11 FGs), but he was active on defense (four steals) and put his body on the line to draw a key charge against Udonis Haslem late in the game. Wall had what it took to win on this night.
Intro: The Clippers had to know what they were getting with Nick Young, right? In 1,211 minutes with Washington this season, Young had a FG% of 0.406 and an eFG% of 0.468; he also picked up 1.4 assists per 36 minutes. In his hometown of Los Angeles, Young’s FG% has dropped to 0.373, his eFG% to 0.444, and his assists/36 to 1.0. With a nice recent run of eight wins to one loss (vs. the Lakers), the Clippers are 9-4 since Young made his debut (although, 0-3 when Young starts). So… how’s that trade working out? (Bonus if you miss Brian Cook.)
This post is certainly a couple days late and definitely several dollars short amidst the pixels urgently begging for your attention as soon as it happens. But words last forever and video preserves them further. This is what Randy Wittman, Erik Spoelstra, Shane Battier, Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Mo Evans and Nick Young said after they played on Friday, Feb. 10, 2012 in a 106-89 Miami Heat win over the Washington Wizards.
x “My challenge is always finding a way to be aggressive.” x “Every team plays hard against us, they bring their ‘A’ game against us. We understand that.” x “We’re always a day late and a dollar short.” x “I think that’s what the fans came to see. They love to see their favorite players do amazing things, and they got a chance to see that on both sides … Hopefully everyone that came to the game, paid their hard-earned dollars for their ticket, and got their money worth tonight.” x “I’m the best 3-point shooter in the world.”
The message of patience should not be lost from the big picture of this Washington Wizards rebuild. After all, John Wall is a nice piece the franchise is lucky to have. Still, this does not take away from smaller areas of function, or dysfunction, that create understandable impatience. After Miami’s win over Washington on Friday, both LeBron James and Dwayne Wade spoke with John Wall. In the locker rooms afterward the involved parties touched on what arose from that conversation.
“They take his leadership. Even though he’s a young guy, they take his leadership,” said LeBron James. Hopefully this is a concept Wall works on with leadership through body language, in addition to hustle.
Dwyane Wade encouraged Wall to learn from Sam Cassell. “All it takes is one player, and then another player, and then another player. D.C. is an unbelievable city, and obviously they have a young great player in John Wall,” Wade also said. “There’s some other pieces they can build on. So it’s just about being patient, it’s about getting the right opportunity, the right pieces, and it could change around,” said Wade, highlighting the fact that the Wizards franchise could suddenly have great potential fall in place just like it did recently for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Veteran Shane Battier might’ve put it most succinctly, “Take every advantage now of learning, and keep the young core of this team positive. Nothing wrecks a team quicker than bad attitudes.” And presumably the team is working on that as well.
LeBron James is in D.C. tonight to take on the Washington Wizards. He’s bringing some other guys with him, the Miami Heat, and they are favored by 13 points. The key for the Wizards is really if they choose to lose honorably or dishonorably. That’s what it boils down to (and containment, surely Randy Wittman is thinking, as he did versus the Knicks). Not saying the Wizards can’t win — there’s always an ‘any given night’ thing in the NBA – but it’s probably advisable that on this Friday night, Washington cleans the wound, bites down on a towel, and hopes the doctor extracts the bullet as soon as possible. For today’s 3-on-3 we have Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) of The Heat Index/ESPN.com, along with TAI’s Markus Allen (@mayminded) and John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend). Three questions, three answers starts now…
#1) Miami has already scored at least 50 points in the paint in nine games this season — a mark they hit 11 times all of last season. Washington has given up 50 or more points in the paint in six games this season. Against a likely frontline of JaVale McGee, Trevor Booker and Chris Singleton, will the Heat ride roughshod over the Wizards defense to score at least 50 in the painted area? How much fight will the home team have?
HABERSTROH: The Heat will have a much easier time piercing the paint than they did on Wednesday against Dwight Howard, that’s for sure. McGee might block shots, but he’s nowhere near the type of presence as Howard. There are two kinds of points in the paint: points scored in the halfcourt and points scored on the break. The Heat have struggled recently generating the former. Something tells me the Wizards might be waking up a sleeping giant.
ALLEN: Given their record, the Wizards are not that bad in points allowed in the paint, coming in at 40.2 (20th in the league). JaVale McGee had two games last year against the Heat in which he had four blocks in each, one of those performances coming in a close game that Washington lost 94-95. If JaVale stays out of foul trouble, the Wizards can definitely hold them to under 50 points in the paint; if he gets into early foul trouble, due to contact from LeBron or D-Wade driving, then Kevin Seraphin will certainly not be able to hold it down.