For a second game in a row, the Wizards took on one of the NBA’s worst teams. For a second game in a row, they struggled but won. Washington took a 10-point first quarter lead, fell behind by as much as 8 in the second and third quarters before rallying in the games closing minutes to eke out a win.
On Sunday, the Wizards beat the Orlando Magic — the league’s third worst team. Last night, they knocked off the Oklahoma City Thunder, which was fourth worst. Entering the game, OKC had an offensive rating (points per possession x 100) of 101.4, which ranked dead last. Against Washington, the Thunder had an offensive rating of 121 — their highest mark of the season.
OKC had an efg of .536 — their 6th best effort of the season. They committed 5 turnovers, which was their lowest total of the year.
The Wizards won because the Thunder’s defense has been as inept as their offense for most of the year, and because despite their high-for-them efg, OKC missed a staggering number of open and wide-open looks.
Spencer Dinwiddie and Kyle Kuzma had very good games for Washington. For a second straight game, Dinwiddie had 10 assists and no turnovers. Kuzma scored 29 points on 12-17 shooting and committed just 1 turnover.
Montrezl Harrell was solid in his return from Covid protocols. The team got some level of contribution from Corey Kispert, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Davis Bertans, Daniel Gafford and Deni Avdija. Bertans hit some threes, but the team was -8 in his 13 minutes.
Rui Hachimura had a nice reverse dunk but otherwise wasn’t much good in his second appearance of the season. The team was -9 in his 15 minutes.
The Wizards should win their next two — home games against the Orlando Magic and the Portland Trail Blazers. The schedule gets more challenging after that.
The bright side of last night’s game: the Wizards played well offensively and won with Bradley Beal back in the Covid protocols. The gray cloud: they barely beat one of the NBA’s worst teams.
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.