[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. 39, Washington Wizards at Portland Trailblazers; contributor: Sean Fagan, Rashad Mobley, and Kyle Weidie from behind the television screen.]
It’s as if everything was set up just so that Steve Buckhantz could “Amen” Jordan Crawford… bless him. And that’s exactly what happened in the post-game after Steezus dropped the gift (and GIFs) of a buzzer-beating road win against Portland.
First, you had Crawford scoring 10 points over the first five and a half minutes of the fourth quarter (he had zero in 10 minutes of run entering the period). Then he missed a layup… and then a 3-pointer. Mike Prada of Bullets Forever tweeted: “There’s no rule that says you have to keep in the guy who scored 10 points earlier in the quarter. I would take Crawford out.”
And surely not many could argue. Especially after Crawford was the one responsible for giving Wes Matthews a good look from deep to tie the game at 95 with eight seconds left. And with a chance to win, the Wizards originally looked to get the ball to Nene in the post, it seemed, but the Blazers clogged up the play, had a foul to give and used it.
With just over three seconds left after the stoppage, there was no time to chuck the ball to Brazil in the post. Instead, this happened from Detroit:
While trying their best to win against the Blazers on Wednesday night, the Wizards were also trying their best to lose. That’s just the way it is with this team. A negative? Washington, after getting up 15 points in the fourth quarter, didn’t score a basket over a span of almost seven minutes as the Blazers made a 16-0 run to steal the lead, 80-79. The positives? Randy Wittman adjusted and the Wizards didn’t concede victory.
Here’s the coach talking about his main adjustment: putting Chris Singleton back in the game to guard LaMarcus Aldridge in an effort to minimize a “bad matchup” in the pick-and-roll when a bigger, slower Wizard was checking the Blazers All-Star.
But also… Why on EARTH did Singleton snag a defensive rebound, when the Wizards were up 84-82, and call a timeout with 0.5 seconds left? The “hero ball” we speak of in the title of this post is not the standard “hero ball” you’ve come to expect from the Wizards—the likes of Nick Young or Jordan Crawford taking a contested fadeaway on a one-pass possession with 17 seconds left on the shot clock. But this move could’ve thrown the hero defense by Singleton that was lauded by Wittman into the belly of the goat. Because Wizards.
[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. 13, Washington Wizards vs Portland Trail Blazers; contributors: Kyle Weidie and John Converse Townsend from the Verizon Center and Arish Narayen from behind the T.V.]
“Charles is going to be Charles.”
Martell Webster on Charles Barkley calling the Wizards the Washington Generals.
Extra! Extra! The Washington Wizards are winless no more.
“I told them we just broke through the ice,” Randy Wittman told the press after the game. “I lived in Minnesota for 15, 17 years—that ice was four or five feet deep, but it’s broken through now. This is obviously a good win for us.”
It was a good win. But it’s their only win. The first. A step in the right direction. Had the Wizards lost to the Blazers, they would have been the 10th team in NBA history to have started a season 0-13. “We don’t want to go down in history as one of the worst teams ever,” said Chris Singleton in the winning locker room. The Wiz avoided that peculiar honor … for now.
What did the Portland Trail Blazers have to say about it? Glad you asked.
Before tonight’s game, TAI spoke with Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts about how Nene, who is playing tonight, affects his game plan; about not wanting to be the first to lose to the winless Wizards; and about what positives he does see out of Washington.
Stotts: “They know their record. I think every NBA player has a lot of pride, and everybody in our locker room has a lot of pride. None of them want to be part of the team that gives the Wizards their first win, and, at the base of it, I think that’s what you try to instill or appeal to is their pride, and go out and play as hard as you can.”
TAI also briefly spoke with Wizards point guard Shaun Livingston, who is also a go tonight against Portland, about facing heralded Blazers rookie Damian Lillard.
The Portland Trail Blazers will continue their seven-game road trip tonight against the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center in downtown D.C. The Blazers have now lost four consecutive games on the road after falling to the Timberwolves and the Celtics to earlier this week, dropping their season road record to 5-14. But they have a shot to bounce back against a Wizards team that has only won six games at home this season (and just nine games all year). The all-time series between these two teams is tight, 51-47 in favor of the Blazers, but the Wizards have the edge at home, 29-20. For today’s 3-on-3, we have Portland Roundball Society scribe Sean Highkin (@seanhighkin), along with TAI’s Rashad Mobley (@rashad20) and John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend). Three questions, three answers starts now…
#1) Since losing to the Wizards, Portland is 4-7 (the Blazers were 3-5 in the eight games prior to facing Washington in Portland, so there’s that); Washington lost six in a row after that magical Valentine’s Day victory in the nation’s northwest, but have won two out of their last three since.
With the Blazers actually favored by six point coming into tonight’s game, do they enact revenge in Washington as the Wizards come crashing back to reality after a win over the Lakers (and two days off)? Or do the Wizards surprise with their ability to play with energy from the start against a team coming off a road loss (to the Celtics) the night before (as, again, Washington has had the rest)?
SEAN HIGHKIN: The Blazers are two games into a seven-game road trip that will also take them to Indiana, New York and Chicago. In other words, they’d better win this one. On the other hand, they’re on the second half of a road back-to-back while the Wizards have had two days off. And Portland’s play has been so utterly pathetic and uninspired on every level lately that it won’t surprise me at all if they let their season reach new depths by letting the Wizards sweep the season series. (I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m still a little annoyed after last night’s humiliating loss to the Celtics.)