[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. 70, Washington Wizards vs Memphis Grizzlies; contributors: Adam McGinnis and Kyle Weidie from the Verizon Center and Conor Dirks via television broadcast.]
[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. 45, Washington Wizards at Memphis Grizzlies; contributors: Rashad Mobley, Adam Rubin and Kyle Weidie from the comfort of their own homes.]
With 1:37 left and the Wizards down 80-72, Memphis having just gotten an offensive rebound, Comcast went black. Only poor audio was available. What we heard: John Wall missing a close layup and Tayshaun Prince making a subsequent jumper to put the Grizzlies up 10, the first time the margin reached double-digits all game. But no, Buckhantz didn’t say “backbreaker”—he knew it was already over. The broadcast returned as Martell Webster hit a layup with a minute left to bring the Wizards within eight, and then the Wizards cut it to six with 34 seconds left. But that’s all they had.
For the second consecutive game, the Wizards offense looked completed neutered. After scoring 30 points on 61.9-percent shooting in the first quarter, the Wizards shot 21-percent in the second quarter and scored just 10 points. There wasn’t one player Washington could rely on for a basket. John Wall, even before he sprained his left shoulder, could neither run the offense effectively, nor break down Mike Conley off the dribble and cause havoc in the lane. Either Bradley Beal is the true MVP of the Wiz, or Randy Wittman is losing his team.
The Wizards are in Tennessee tonight to take on the Memphis Grizzlies, their fifth consecutive game on the road. While Zach Randolph is back in action for the Grizzlies after suffering an MCL injury earlier this year, the Wizards are still without the services of their most recent acquisition, forward/center Nene, who is scheduled to make his official debut in New Jersey this coming Wednesday. Both Washington and Memphis have lost three of their last four games, but with the Memphis still fighting for a playoff spot, expect a focused Grizzlies team to make things difficult for the Wizards at FedEx Forum.For tonight’s 3-on-3 we have Josh Coleman (@3SOB) and Chip Crain (@chipc3) from the TrueHoop Grizzlies blog, 3 Shades of Blue, along with TAI’s John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend). Let’s get into it… Three questions, three answers starts now:
#1) The Sunday night Wizards-Grizzlies showdown features an intriguing match-up between John Wall, the second year guard averaging 17 points, just under eight assists and about four turnovers per game, and Mike Conley, the league leader in steals at 2.55 per game. Which guard do you like and why?
This theme would also rear it’s inconsistent head in the fourth quarter, as my Truth About It colleague, John Townsend beautifully broke down. Even though Kirk Hinrich and Gilbert Arenas were having excellent shooting nights, McGee tried to take the ball to the hoop (via the dribble), was picked by Zach Randolph (not exactly a quick handed, nimble fellow), and Mike Conley picked up the ball and dashed full speed toward his basket. Luckily for the Wizards, McGee was able to zoom from one end of the court to the other and block Conley’s shot, immediately exonerating himself from his earlier sin. Substance and style in less than 30 seconds.
The Wiz-Grizz ‘Play of the Game’
comes courtesy of JaVale McGee.
The Washington Wizards found themselves ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies 82-79 with just over three minutes left in the fourth quarter.
The Wizards were on the offensive, but on this particular occasion, they faced a defense playing with a little more attitude. As the shot clock winded wound down — the Wiz just couldn’t find a good look at the basket — the ball found its way into the hands of JaVale McGee. About 20 feet from the basket. Passing the ball back to PG Kirk Hinrich (1) would have been too easy … so with about six seconds left on the shot clock, McGee decided it was “go time.”
McGee (5) tried to lose Zach Randolph (x4) with a hard crossover and a spin move. Z-Bo wouldn’t stand for this and punched the ball out. Mike “Million Dollar Man” Conley (x1) collected the loose ball and took off on the break.
As you probably know, the Wizards today signed Mike Harris of the NBA D-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers to a 10-day contract. Had a brief chat with him before tonight’s game …
“It’s basketball, so it’s always better up than it is down.” -Mike Harris
Mike has never been to D.C. before, said he’s most definitely not used to the weather.
Said he’s a “basketball guru” so he already knew a good deal about the current Wizards … played against Al Thornton and the Clippers when he was in Houston, also knows a little about Nick Young and Andray Blatche when he played against them in the 2008 Vegas Summer League as a Rocket.
Harris said Flip Saunders told him to just come in and “do what you do” and to not try so much to fit in with the team, but to let the team fit to him … just play hard, have a good time, and try not to think to much.
There is some familiarity, as Mike said the Wizards run similar plays to what they ran down in Rio Grande, just with different calls.
Mike said he found out about the call-up about five minutes after getting out of tuesday’s practice with the Vipers when his coach informed him. It was about 12:30-1:00 pm when he found out that he had a 4:45 flight to Washington. Harris said he was lucky that he already had a rental car, so getting to the airport wasn’t a problem. His flight was a bit delayed in Houston, so he didn’t get into D.C. until 1:30-1:45 on Wednesday morning.
The duo of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol were too much for the Wizards to handle. They combined for 43 points and 30 rebounds.
Washington doesn’t have a guy who can take up space in the paint, and that hurts them on both offense and defense. Brendan Haywood has size, but is not agile. Antawn Jamison put up a good fight against Randolph the Bull, but just doesn’t have the size.
Time and patience are the lessons to take from the first Wizards preseason game. They didn’t look bad on their way to a 101-92 win over Memphis, but they didn’t look particularly good either. But did anyone expect this team with so many newcomers, including a coach, to gel right away? Nope.
On the offensive end, where the Wizards are assumed to be amongst the NBA’s upper echelon, they appeared out of sync at times. Bad spacing and jumping to pass sloppiness reared their heads in spurts, but nothing disconcerting, and mostly occurring when the second unit guys were on the court.
After the game, Brendan Haywood gave the offense a C+, in terms of translating the instruction of training camp to a real game. Haywood said they weren’t smooth and were in the wrong place a lot of times, but that’s understandable because many guys on the team were in the Princeton for five years and they have a long way to go before mastering Flip’s offense.