The Wizards ran their winning to streak to three with a 112-106 victory over a terrible Orlando Magic team missing several of its best players. Washington can notch a four-game streak on Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers — a game the Wizards are solidly favored to win.
With the season debut of Thomas Bryant, the Wizards are nearing a full complement of healthy players for the first time all year. In his first action, Bryant demonstrated what he’ll add, as well as what he does that might hurt. On the plus side, he hit a three and scored a bucket at-rim, grabbed a rebound and had an assist in just under 12 minutes of playing time.
He instantly became the team’s best screener. He set a variety of picks for ball handlers, including screens, re-screens, slips, rolls and fades. The three-pointer came on a screen-and-fade to the corner. His assist came when he attacked a closeout at the three-point line, drew a defender and dished to Deni Avdija. His offensive skills add dimension to the center position the team lacked.
On the “hurt” side, the team defense was atrocious when he was in the game — a staggeringly bad 141 defensive rating (points allowed per possession x 100) with him on the floor. Defense was the glaring hole in his game before his ACL tear. To supplant Daniel Gafford or Montrezl Harrell in the rotation, Bryant cannot be awful on the defensive end.
In the win, the Wizards got quality play from nearly everyone who got minutes. Kyle Kuzma continued his run of good games with 19 points on just 11 shots, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists. He committed 5 turnovers, which is less than ideal, but his overall game was very good.
Montrezl Harrell had 16 points on 8 field goal attempts, as well as 8 rebounds in just 21 minutes.
Spencer Dinwiddie had a quiet 17 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists and didn’t commit a turnover for a third straight game.
Deni Avdija defended well and had 5 assists — at least a couple coming as the ball handler in pick-and-roll sets.
Corey Kispert went 3-5 from three-point range.
The Wizards did a decent job keeping Terrence Ross in check. Ross still managed 17 points and 3 assists, but Washington defenders blitzed him when he put the ball on the floor and closed out on him effectively.
Old friends Robin Lopez, Moritz Wagner and Admiral Schofield played for the Magic. Wagner had 6 points and a couple rebounds, as well as a turnover and 2 fouls in just 10 minutes. Schofield had 8 points and 7 rebounds in 19 minutes and shot 2-3 from three-point range. Neither player is likely to have a long career in the NBA.
Lopez produced 16 points and 11 rebounds (7 on the offensive glass), and got a hook shot blocked by Gafford.
The Wizards outplayed the Magic, but Orlando kept the game relatively close with 18 offensive rebounds — the second most by a Washington opponent this season. The Toronto Raptors hold top honors with 19 in the season opener. It was also the second most offensive boards for the Magic. They grabbed 20 in a December 26 loss to the Miami Heat.
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.