[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. 54, Washington Wizards vs. Houston Rockets; contributors: Adam McGinnis and John Converse Townsend from the Verizon Center and Rashad Mobley from his favorite game-day seat.]
Here to provide the DC Council Opening Statements for Washington’s 54th game of the season at home against the Houston Rockets are TAI’s Rashad Mobley (@rashad20) and guest Michael Pina (@MichaelVPina) who writes about the Rockets for Red94, an ESPN TrueHoop Network blog.
Wizards Starters (16-37):
John Wall, Bradley Beal, Martell Webster, Nene, Emeka Okafor
[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. 19, Washington Wizards at Houston Rockets; contributors: Rashad Mobley and Kyle Weidie from behind the T.V.]
The rumored-to-be Wizard who never was, James Harden.
Here to provide the DC Council Opening Statements for Washington’s 19th game of the season against the Rockets in Houston are TAI’s Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) and guest Michael Pina (@MichaelVPina), who writes about the Rockets for the ESPN TrueHoop blog Red 94.
Wizards Starters (3-15):
Jordan Crawford, Bradley Beal, Martell Webster, Chris Singleton, Emeka Okafor
John Wall is a high concern for the Wizards.John Wall’s backup — whether Wall is healthy or injured — is a high concern for the Wizards. So much of a concern that they made a calculated decision to sign A.J. Price as backup in late July, which is way early in the time allowed to make roster decisions before the season. John Lucas III got more money from the Toronto Raptors, Keyon Dooling ultimately retired, and it didn’t look like the Houston Rockets would be parting ways with Shaun Livingston, at the time. What other backup point guard options were there?
And then Wall goes and gets injured. Timing is everything.
To compensate, the Wizards signed the 32-year old Jannero Pargo, and ultimately cut their 34th overall 2011 draft pick, Shelvin Mack, after training camp and preseason. About Pargo, the ever-lurking John Hollinger writes in his 2012-13 season preview on ESPN Insider:
Pargo played well for Atlanta last season but obviously his combination of age (32) and track record make him a somewhat risky investment. That said, this was by far the best point guard candidate left on the market and Washington did well to get him so inexpensively. I’d argue he was a better solution than Price, in fact.
Yao Ming’s last game as a Houston Rocket was significant, and it happened right before our eyes in Washington, D.C.
November 10, 2010. Rockets versus Wizards. Yao versus Yi (Jianlian) on NBA TV. Millions and millions watching back in China.
Ming started for the Rockets that night alongside Ish Smith, Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, and Shane Battier. Houston’s bench featured Jordan Hill, Kyle Lowry, Chuck Hayes, Courtney Lee, Chase Budinger, and Brad Miller. Jared Jeffries did not play and on Houston’s inactive list was Aaron Brooks, Jermaine Taylor (who the Wizards once traded to the Rockets for cash instead of drafting DeJuan Blair), and rookie Patrick Patterson — John Wall’s teammate at Kentucky, taken 14th overall in 2010, and interestingly enough, born in Washington, D.C.
[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 19 contributors: Sam Permutt, John Converse Townsend and Kyle Weidie.]
Tonight the Wizards face a Houston Rockets team that they played fairly close about 10 days ago… Washington fell apart toward the end, per usual. But this game is different, new Wizards coach Randy Wittman, that dancing fool (as it IS ‘Dance Party Friday’ on Bullets Forever), will be facing off against friendly foe Kevin McHale. When the Washington Post’s Michael Lee attempted to pry some answers out of McHale about his old chums, Wittman and Flip Saunders, the Rockets coach said, “No thoughts. I’m pretty much not going to answer anything you’re asking on that. That’s usually a hint. If I don’t answer the first question, I’m not answering the second or third.” Then he offered Lee a dap. Whatever is clever… McHale probably just didn’t want to call the Wizards players dumb (since, after all, McGee did try that off-the-backboard dunk B.S. the last time these two teams faced). In any case, the drill is three questions, three answers, featuring TAI’s Rashad Mobley, Sam Permutt and John Converse Townsend. 3-on-3 starts now…
#1) Houston won just five of their first 12 games when they beat Washington on MLK Day, but overall won seven in a row before that streak was snapped by Milwaukee, in Houston, on Wednesday (the Rockets victory over the Wizards was win No. 2 in the streak). They now stand at 10-8, while the Wizards are 3-15, and normally you’d expect Washington to lose this game, but under a new coach, they might be a bit more hungry to get their first road victory. Which team comes out the aggressor?
MOBLEY: The Wizards. Unless you’re the Oklahoma City Thunder, and you’re trying to avenge a loss, no one is going to get up for the Wizards and come out aggressive, so the Rockets will start slow. The Wizards as a whole will be looking to continue their Randy Wittman-inspired momentum previously found against the lowly Bobcats. But more specifically, JaVale McGee SHOULD be motivated because a) he got dunked on by Chandler Parsons’ franks and beans in the last meeting, and b) he performed this ill-advised dunk.
PERMUTT: A coaching change can create a tryout-like atmosphere on a team. Players suddenly have newfound motivation to play unselfishly, to dive on the floor, to show their new leader (and minute distributor) why they belong on the court. Of course, the players are all familiar with Randy Wittman as an assistant. Nonetheless, expect the Wizards to be eager to please their new head coach in his first official game. Wait… the Bobcats are a real team? That game counted?!? Never mind. But still.
[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 13 contributors: Adam McGinnis and John Converse Townsend with first-hand coverage and Kyle Weidie from watching on T.V.]
At every buzzer there are key moments you can look back on when considering the outcome of a game. Sure, in a contest of ebbs and flows, moments can be subjective, but it doesn’t make it any one less important than others. In a Wizards 114-106 loss to the Houston Rockets on Monday, these are some of those slept-on moments…
John Converse Townsend:
When Houston last visited Washington, D.C. in November of 2010, Argentine international Luis Scola tore up the Wizards with 24 points (10-20 FG) and six rebounds. Scola, with the help of shooting guard Kevin Martin, combined to score the first 17 points of the 4th quarter that night, including seven unanswered points that gave the Rockets an 85-84 lead. While Houston lost that game 98-91, Scola made scoring on the Wizards look easy. That wasn’t the case today for Scola, despite the scoring 18 points (8-15 FG) and pulling in five rebounds. The main reason: Jan Vesely. As I pointed out on Twitter, Vesely has the speed, length and instincts to become a lockdown defender in the post. Vesely turned Scola into a passer for much of the final quarter on Monday, holding the Rockets forward to just two field goal attempts. The rookie just needs to get stronger to be able to maintain his defensive position when battling bigs in the low-post. When he does, look out.