The Washington Wizards lost to the Chicago Bulls by eight points, but the game could not reasonably be described as “close.” Neither team played effective defense, but the Bulls did just enough on the non-offense end to build a 19-point lead midway through the fourth quarter. Washington’s garbage time rally trimmed the final margin, but the outcome of the game wasn’t in doubt after Chicago’s run to end the third quarter.
Washington’s early-season defense is gone. The Bulls scored 73 points in the first half — their highest total in a half this season — and followed it up with 34 more in the third quarter. They slacked off over the last six minutes of the game. Otherwise, they’d likely have put up another 30-35 in the fourth quarter.
The Wizards were spared from an even worse margin of victory by subpar performances from Zach LaVine (just 1-6 from three-point range and 4 turnovers) and DeMar DeRozan (5-16 from the floor, 8 assists and 4 turnovers). Washington’s defense got wrecked by Lonzo Ball (6 threes, 6 assists, 1 turnover), Coby White (21 points on 8 shots) and Ayo Dosunmu (18 points on 9 shots, plus 4 assists and 3 steals).
The biggest positive for the Wizards last night: Spencer Dinwiddie and Bradley Beal both played well in the same game. Dinwiddie had 18 points on 9 field goal attempts, 3 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals, and he drove repeatedly although slowly and without explosiveness. Beal had 26 points on 14 field goal attempts, as well as 6 assists.
They didn’t exactly play cohesively off each other, but the Wizards would take this kind of production from their starting backcourt most nights.
Below are the four factors that decide who wins and loses in basketball — shooting (efg), rebounding (offensive rebounds), ball handling (turnovers), fouling (free throws made).
I’ve simplified them a bit. While the factors are usually presented as percentages, that’s more useful over a full season. In a single game, the raw numbers in each category are easier to understand.
Below are a few performance metrics, including the Player Production Average (PPA) Game Score (very similar to the one I used to call Scoreboard Impact Rating). PPA is my overall production metric, which credits players for things they do that help a team win (scoring, rebounding, playmaking, defending) and dings them for things that hurt (missed shots, turnovers, bad defense, fouls).
Game Score (GmSC) converts individual production into points on the scoreboard in this game. The scale is the same as points and reflects each player’s total contributions for the game. The lowest possible GmSC is zero.
PPA is a per possession metric designed for larger data sets. In small sample sizes, the numbers can get weird. But some readers prefer it, so I’m including PPA scores as well. Reminder: in PPA, 100 is average, higher is better and replacement level is 45. For a single game, replacement level isn’t much use, and I reiterate the caution about small samples producing weird results.
POSS is the number of possessions each player was on the floor in this game.
PTS = points scored
ORTG = offensive rating, which is points produced per individual possessions x 100. League average last season was 112.3. Points produced is not the same as points scored. It includes the value of assists and offensive rebounds, as well as sharing credit when receiving an assist.
USG = offensive usage rate. Average is 20%.
ORTG and USG are versions of stats created by Wizards assistant coach Dean Oliver and modified slightly by me. ORTG is an efficiency measure that accounts for the value of shooting, offensive rebounds, assists and turnovers. USG includes shooting from the floor and free throw line, offensive rebounds, assists and turnovers.