[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.]
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.
Washington Wizards majority owner Ted Leonsis spoke with the media for over 30 minutes on Thursday evening from team’s training camp on the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.TAI was there. Below is part one of all that — some stuff in video, some in text.
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.”
As I publish this post, the Wizards are down 52-40 to the Philadelphia 76ers at halftime. After a relatively decent first quarter where Washington outscored the Sixers 26-23 behind 11 points from Nick Young on 4-7 shooting and 10 points and five rebounds (three offensive) from JaVale McGee, things came more back to reality. Philadelphia out-scored the Wizards 29-14 in the second quarter. It’s not that Washington was wholly selfish as usual, they just found a way to bumble opportunity, even when Philadelphia gave them a couple chances with turnovers (six, leading to four Washington points). But the Wizards turned the ball over even more, giving it away 13 times leading to 21 Philadelphia points at the half. Below are some speakable quotes from Flip Saunders, Sixers coach Doug Collins, and notorious Wizards killer Lou Williams from before the game started.
Before the game Flip Saunders was asked how a coach sends the message that selfish basketball won’t be tolerated. Flip said:
On draft night back in 2010, the Wizards and the Sixers were two bad teams who felt like they had received significant upgrades with the additions of John Wall and Evan Turner respectively. Turner still comes off the bench, but the addition of Doug Collins along the maturation of Jrue Holiday, helped the Sixers reach the playoffs last year, along with a strong 7-3 start this year. The Wizards were back in the lottery last year, and are far and away the worst team in the NBA this season. To put it mildly, the Sixers have passed the Wizards by. These two polar opposites will clash in Philadelphia tonight, but before that Truth About It writers Kyle Weidie and Rashad Mobley, along with the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Sixers beat writer (and former Wizards beat writer for the Washington Times) John Mitchell answer three questions…
#1) In Kate Fagan’s well-written blog entry on Monday, she broke down the reasons why Philadelphia is playing so well offensively this year. One of the main reasons for the offensive efficiency, is that Doug Collins and his coaching staff realized that his personnel excelled at running the pick-and-roll, and he needed to customize his offense to match their strengths. Given that the John Wall is struggling offensively, and the Wizards as a whole are struggling on offense—they scored just 64 points in a loss to Chicago—should Flip Saunders look to make adjustments to the offense? Or are the Wizards just in a bad shooting slump?
MITCHELL: I honestly don’t know what Flip can do to ignite the offense. John Wall is an electric talent, but he probably played with better talent at the collegiate level than he has in Washington. Nick Young, allegedly and offensive player, was reportedly seeking $9 million annually yet he’s back in Washington hitting just 38 percent of his shots. With the Wizards, the ball too often sticks. That’s not a good thing.
MOBLEY: The Wizards are in a bad slump but it has nothing to do with shooting, and everything to do with where they are mentally. John Wall and Andray Blatche are missing baskets at point blank range. Nick Young, as many times as he keeps the Wizards in the game with his scoring, is still forcing shots. There have been very few possessions for the Wizards this season, where precise passing and patience led to any easy score. If Flip can somehow get this team to do that, the offense would be more efficient.
[Editor's Note: Truth About It.net is trying something new with its game coverage this season. Of course, we will be honing this series as we go along, but here's the gist: relevant pre- and post-game quotes/analysis from those in attendance covering the game (last night it was Rashad Mobley and Adam McGinnis); D.C flag 3-star ratings for the Wizards starters and bench from three people able to watch the game (live or on television -- we will keep a running tally on the ratings); thoughts on the environment and slept-on moments; and finally, fan tweets, scenes from the game, and anything else that would be fitting to include in "The Rundown" (which totally might not be the final name of this series, especially since it's also the name of a movie featuring "The Rock" and Seann William Scott... and Rosaio Dawson, don't want to forget her). In any case, here goes... -Kyle W.]
Washington Wizards 78 – Philadelphia 76ers 103 [box score]
Quick STAT: The Wizards had 20 turnovers and 10 assists; John Wall: 6 TO, 3 AST Read more »
Most of us saw where Kobe Bryant took time to rip Kwame Brown during a guest lecture to a college class at the University of California-Santa Barbara the other day, video embedded above and linked here if you missed it. In calling out the transgressions of inglorious bastard teammates Brown and Smush Parker, Bryant took pause to mention that he would say the same thing to the faces of both players; this after eliciting chuckles from the class en masse by mere mention of Brown’s name. Surely Kobe realizes that every comment he makes, every action, is susceptible to fast dissemination amongst the Internets. He knew Kwame would hear his dig.
People are always ready to rip Kwame, myself included. Almost as readily, people blame Michael Jordan or Doug Collins for all that went wrong with him at the onset of his career with the Washington Wizards as the NBA’s 2001 No. 1 overall draft pick. Both men have admitted that they would’ve handled the 18-year old differently, Collins at various times even admitting that their scouting was duped by Kwame’s accelerated physique and confident persona in a pre-draft workout where he bested, and beasted, high school contemporary Tyson Chandler. Jordan, now majority owner of the Bobcats, attempted to swallow his mistakes last summer by reuniting with Kwame in Charlotte.
There was 3:31 left in the fourth quarter, the Philadelphia 76ers leading the Wizards 98-89, when Andre Iguodala threw a pass that was stolen by Kirk Hinrich. The ball eventually found its way into John Wall’s hands, who looked up, found JaVale McGee, and hit him with a perfect pass. McGee, as he does so well, took the ball strong to the hole, and dunked it with authority on Elton Brand, who was late in his rotation.
Unfortunately for the Sixers, not only was Brand late rotating, but he was forced to foul, and foul hard — so hard in fact that McGee violently crashed to the ground and immediately grabbed his back in agony. The referee wasted no time whistling Brand for a type two flagrant foul, which meant an automatic ejection from the game. McGee, even as he was still on the ground in pain, managed to taunt the departing Sixer by waving goodbye to him as he left the court.
The flagrant served as a turning point in the game, as the Wizards outscored the Sixers 15-8 after that, and eventually won in overtime 116-114. When asked if that was indeed the turning point, Sixers coach Doug Collins vehemently disagreed: Read more »