[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. 80, Washington Wizards vs Philadelphia 76ers; contributors: Adam McGinnis and Kyle Weidie from the Verizon Center, and Conor Dirks from the state of Georgia.]
OK, so it wasn’t ‘all’ about Nick. It was all about a poor showing from two teams that couldn’t care less. What had happened (at least according to Twitter)? Let’s check to story of Washington’s home finale loss to Philadelphia.
Doug Collins is on the hot seat, sort of… it seems. Reports out of Philadelphia have gone this way and that. Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo!’s “Ball Don’t Lie” has the essential run-down. The Sixers last played at home on Wednesday, a loss against the Atlanta Hawks; the news of Collins’ potential demise broke on Thursday. Thus, with Philly so close to Washington, some media swarmed down for the story (some seemingly specifically for the ‘story’ on Collins’ job). They didn’t get what they wanted. Collins refused to take the bait during tonight’s pre-game media season.
But, he did talk about this current Wizards team. One noteworthy quote:
“The one thing about the Wizards that I think has been amazing is Randy Wittman… is to start out 4-28 and have tremendous aspirations of making the playoffs, and to keep that group together… I think they’re 24-22 with John Wall. I had felt that going into the season, they were a playoff team, if healthy. What they’ve done is proven me right.”
[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. 58, Washington Wizards vs Philadelphia; contributors: Rashad Mobley and Kyle Weidie from the Verizon Center and Conor Dirks from Georgia.]
John’s Big J.
Wall talks about hitting a 20-foot pull-up jumper to put the Wizards up three points with 4.4 seconds left. This is after he hit two clutch free throws to put the Wizards up one point with 1:04 left, and after he hit an 18-foot jumper with 1:33 left to get the Wizards within one point of Philadelphia.
The Wizards put a two-game losing streak to bed by managing to defeat a Nick Young-less Philadelphia 76ers squad, 90-87, despite a late surge fueled by Jrue Holiday. But, Washington didn’t escape without damage. Rookie Bradley Beal went down with an ankle sprain with just over two minutes left and did not return. He is likely to miss some time, but how much has yet to-be-determined. The injury, or at least the sight of Beal crumbled on the floor in the aftermath, left Wizards nation and the immediacy of Twitter gasping for breath — some quickly speculated that the issue was with his knee. After the game, Beal admitted that he initially thought it was worse than it was, but said that x-rays showed no significant damage to his ankle. He walked on crutches in the locker room; from my perspective, there didn’t look to be too much swelling.
Below, we have Randy Wittman’s post-game opener, my ESPN.com “Daily Dime Live” reaction submission, and then a video of Beal talking about his ankle injury.
[Spoiler Alert: Wittman talks about laptops again.]
[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. 44, Washington Wizards at Philadelphia 76ers; contributors: Conor Dirks, Sean Fagan and Rashad Mobley from the comfort of their own homes.]
Before the Wizards dismantled the Sixers 97-76 on Friday night, Doug Collins temporarily took off his head coach hat, replaced it with his analyst hat, and handicapped this current version of the Washington Wizards (Video courtesy of TAI’s Adam McGinnis):
Collins knows these Wizards are different, physical, hard-working, and the coach warned his team to be prepared for such. The Sixers responded by not showing up to play at all. Jrue Holiday took a pass from Andre Iguodala and scored on a layup to give the Sixers at 15-14 lead with 2:56 left in the first quarter, and that was the last lead Philadelphia would see. The Wizards went on a 9-0 run, led 23-15 after one quarter, 35-19 at the 8:10 mark of the second quarter, and 55-36 at halftime.
After the game, John Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer asked Collins if he thought his team could turn the game around after intermission. The coach thought about it for half a second and succinctly responded with a one word: ”No.”
The Wizards keep playing and they keep losing… Moral victories? Lottery losses? Who cares… just get the season over with already. Amirite or amirite? Sure, players are developing by playing, but who’s to say they wouldn’t benefit just as much by shutting the team down for the season and simply holding a training camp for the next couple of weeks? No, that won’t happen… but you’d be hard-pressed to convince me that anything good can come from the rest of this remaining schedule of 16 games. The Wizards are playing more like a team and now face the tough challenge of learning how to succeed in close games; but hopefully they don’t learn too much, because then it could hinder the future. How embarrassing would it be if the Wizards (11-39) put together a string of wins that pushes them away from Charlotte (7 wins) and New Orleans (13 wins) and more toward Cleveland, Sacramento, Toronto, and New Jersey (17 wins each). I’m analyzing this too much, aren’t I? Let’s just play basketball… For tonight’s 3-on-3 we have Matt Moore (@HPbasketball) of the TrueHoop blog Hardwood Paroxysm, CBS Sports and other locations on the Internet, along with TAI’s Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20) and Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It). Start it up…
#1) The Wizards have looked much better since trading JaVale McGee and Nick Young and benching Andray Blatche, but they haven’t exactly been able to reward themselves with wins. They’ve been competitive against quality teams, but what must change tonight versus the Sixers?
MOBLEY: It sounds simple enough, but the key to a Wizards victory lies in good ball movement. If John Wall is passing the ball into Nene or Trevor Booker, drawing attention inside, which leaves open shots and driving lanes for Jordan Crawford or Chris Singleton, scoring gets a hell of a lot easier. Sixers guard Lou Williams may be coming thru that Verizon Center door, but not to the Wizards locker room, and their current roster does not shoot well enough to rely on jumpers and contested shots to win games. This may need to be a high assist night for Wall.
MOORE: Just keep it close. The Sixers are horrible in close games, and the Wizards have some guys who can hit shots. Grind it out, slow it down, keep it tight, and wait for the Sixers to implode.