Indiana Pacers Coach Frank Vogel addresses the media after a loss to the Washington Wizards
Prior to last Saturday night’s game against the Washington Wizards, Indiana Pacers Head Coach Frank Vogel wrote the following words on the white bulletin board in the visitor’s locker room, ”He’s a difference maker.”
The “he” was John Wall, and Coach Vogel was well-aware of Wall’s torrid play during the month of March, when he averaged 22 points and eight assists per game, also putting up a career-high 47 points against the Memphis Grizzlies. Vogel undoubtedly knew that earlier in the week, Bradley Beal, the other formidable offensive threat on the Wizards’ roster, was ruled out for the rest of the regular season with a stress injury to his right fibula. In the first game after the announcement about Beal, the Wizards lost 88-78 to the lowly Raptors in Toronto, and Wall was harassed into a 5-for-18 shooting night, including 1-for-10 outside of the paint. Coach Vogel went on to give specifics about the game plan for stopping Wall:
“He’s a sensational young talent, he changes their team offensively, and you really have to put most of your defensive game plan into limiting what he brings to the table … you still want to keep him out of the paint first, and hope that he’s not getting hot from the perimeter.”
[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. 76, Washington Wizards vs Indiana Pacers; contributors: Kyle Weidie and Rashad Mobley from the Verizon Center.]
[Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld speak to the media about the '78 championship and more.]
John Wall on flexing muscle and
playing in front of the
1978 national world champion
[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. 41, Washington Wizards vs Minnesota Timberwolves; contributors: Rashad Mobley and John Converse Townsend from the Verizon Center, with Kyle Weidie from behind the television screen.]
[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. 30, Washington Wizards vs Pacers in Indiana; contributor: John Converse Townsend and Kyle Weidie from behind the television screen.]
Watch a man with two first names whoop Washington’s behind:
Here to provide the DC Council Opening Statements for Washington’s 30th game of the season against the Pacers in Indiana are TAI’s Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) and guest Jared Wade (@Jared_Wade), who writes about the Pacers for the ESPN TrueHoop blog 8 Points 9 Seconds.
Here to provide the DC Council Opening Statements for Washington’s fifth game of the season against the Pacers in Indiana are TAI’s Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) and guest Jared Wade (@Jared_Wade), who writes about the Pacers for the TrueHoop blog 8 Points, 9 Seconds (@8tps9secs).
With about seven minutes left in the third quarter of Wednesday night’s Wizards-Pacers game, Jan Vesely, with hyperactivity as he is wont to do, got his hand on a deflection that sparked a Washington fast break. However, as the Wizards are wont to do, the transition opportunity was mismanaged. John Wall recovered Vesely’s steal and passed the ball ahead to Jordan Crawford (Wall probably should have forced the defense to commit with a dribble). Unfortunately, Paul George, the only Pacer back, was in the right position to defend against just about anything Crawford would try to do. And what he tried to do, from my seat above section 104 at the Verizon Center, was make a lob pass (perhaps even one off the backboard) to either Wall or the trailing Vesely. George consumed whatever it was with his 6-foot-8 frame and took the ball for Indiana the other way, where eventually Danny Granger hit a jumper. The official score-keeper credited Crawford with a shot attempt; because I guess if you are going to credit George with a block instead of a steal, someone’s got to attempt a shot. Crawford didn’t quite agree. “Naw, I was passing it,” he said, “You know I shoot a lot, so they added to the field goals.”
Let’s watch the play, Jordan Crawford’s post-game response, and where, exactly, he got his Galaxy Foamposite Nike shoes.
The Wizards and Pacers face off tonight in Washington for the third time in about two weeks. Indiana is coming off an emotional 112-104 comeback victory over the New York Knicks in Indiana last night, and the Wizards are coming off an emotionless effort at home against the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday. For tonight’s 3-on-3 we have Tim Donahue (@TimDonahue8p9s) from the ESPN TrueHoop Pacers blog 8 Points, 9 Seconds, along with TAI’s Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20) and Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It). Let it begin…
#1) What stat and what player will most determine the outcome of this game?
DONAHUE: Oscar Wilde says, “Talent borrows, genius steals,” so I’m going to shamelessly steal from Kyle Weidie’s response to a similar question from the last Pacers-Wiz 3-on-3: Offensive Rebounding. In the first matchup, the Pacers grabbed 11 of the 19 boards off their offensive glass in the second half, when they outscored Washington 54-32. In the second one, the Wiz stayed close by grabbing 38-percent of the rebounds on their offensive end. The player most likely to influence the outcome of this game is two of them: George Hill and Leandro Barbosa. They are the barometers of the Pacer bench.
MOBLEY: It sounds simple, but its all about rebounding. The final boxscore from the last Pacers/Wizards game shows the Pacers had the advantage 40-35. But in the second half of the game (when the Pacers outscored the Wizards 54-32), Indiana had a 26-11 rebounding advantage. Roy Hibbert had nine rebounds in the second half and David West had four — three of which were kept the Wizards from taking the lead in the last minute. With Nene and Booker likely to be out again, the Wizards will need collaborative rebounding effort, while the Pacers could (and should) exploit the Wizards’ replacement frontline.
[NOTE: This is a late, RETRO-active post RE: Wizards vs. Pacers last Thursday. But good news, reads JUST LIKE WIZARDS LOSS TO HAWKS on Saturday night. But it's okay. At this point, they're just games. At least that's what they feel like... robotic, fabricated games. 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. Click here for cumulative DC Council 3-star ratings over the course of the season. Game 46 contributors: Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis), Rashad Mobley(@Rashad20), and Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It).]
NBA All-Star Weekend is here, but what about the Wizards? “The team needs a break,” writes owner Ted Leonsis on his blog. Nowhere does he mention the media (professional or those with day jobs) needing a break. Nor, more importantly, does he mention fans needing a break. So, the players may be getting much needed (but not much deserved) rest, but Wizards fans… they really just get a reprieve from bad basketball. “With the season over in two months..the rest of this season really has nothing to do with this season,” writes @WorldWiEdWard on Twitter. Exactly… so you gotta wonder if this Wizards franchise will have the balls to start making significant adjustments in the second half of the season, predicated on the disastrous first half, to better set themselves up for the future. Who knows. But let’s not take all the fun out of NBA All-Star Weekend 2012, one in which a single Wizard is participating — John Wall in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge as well as in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge. To discuss this weekend’s festivities in 3-on-3 fashion, including the Rising Stars Challenge which is tonight at 9 pm, we have TAI’s Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis), Rashad Mobley (@rashad20) and Kyle Weidie (@truth_about_it). Three questions, three answers starts now…
#1) John Wall (Team Chuck) is at 9-1 odds to win the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge MVP, behind Jeremy Lin (Team Shaq, 5-1), Blake Griffin (Team Shaq, 7-1), and Kyrie Irving (Team Chuck, 17-2). [Full odds listing below.] What are Wall’s real chances (factoring in him becoming miffed at being taken 12th in the Barkley/Shaq draft, or Barkley’s hared of the Wizards)? If not him, who you got?
McGINNIS: Las Vegas bookmakers earned their nickname of “Wise Guys” by having the Wall ranked much higher than he was selected by Barkley or Shaq. Wall was the best player in his 2010 draft class during his rookie season, has a national Reebok shoe campaign featured in Foot Lockers across America, and he is reigning MVP of this Rookie-Sophomore game, but TNT’s lack of coverage around Wall has declared him an afterthought. Wall will play extremely well as his pass-first and fast break game is suited for exhibitions like this one, and he will be fired up more than normal. However, I expect Jeremy Lin or Kyrie Irving to win the MVP. This is what NBA wants and TNT employees will be sure to deliver it for them.
MOBLEY: John Wall didn’t need to be miffed with his snub in the “draft” or motivated by Barkley’s distaste for his team to do well in this game. We know from his record 22 assists in last year’s game, and his dazzling summer exhibition performances from 2011, that he can easily stand head and shoulders above his peers. That being said, my vote is for Ricky Rubio. The Maravich in him will be unleashed.