Daily Digits is a new daily feature we’re doing at Bullets Forever this year where we take a look at stats about the Wizards. We’ll dive into the numbers, add some context, and discuss how they affect the product on the court.
Today’s stat is the number of threes the Wizards allowed in Wednesday’s loss to the Rockets, which was...
The big news out of the Rockets’ win over the Wizards was how they set a new record for threes made in a game. 26 threes equate to 78 points off shots behind the arc. It’s hard to win when you give up that many points from one area of the court.
Houston also scored 42 points in the paint on Wednesday, which is also quite a large number, especially considering the 78 already given up behind the arc.
Oh, and don’t forget the free throw line, the other area emphasized in the move toward analytically-friendly basketball. The Rockets scored 16 points there as well.
When you add up the 78 points off threes, the 42 points in the paint, and the 16 points off free throws, you get 136 points, the exact total the Rockets finished the game with. They scored every single point at the three most efficient places to get points. What’s even more remarkable is the Rockets only had to settle for one shot outside of those three ranges; a mid-range shot by Brandon Knight early in the second quarter. Otherwise, they put together a Daryl Morey Mona Lisa:
It’s no secret the Rockets are more aggressive about getting to those sweet spots than any other team in the NBA. They have nights where they can get all the points they need from those three key areas. That’s just what happens when you run into a Mike D’Antoni/James Harden offense on the wrong night.
However, it’s a bit concerning in light of the move the Wizards made to acquire Trevor Ariza. The whole point of the deal was to solidify their perimeter defense and you’d think no one would know better what to do to slow Houston down than the guy who spent the last four seasons there. Instead, Washington gives up another record-setting performance as they fall to 12-20 on the season, three games behind the eighth-seeded Orlando Magic.
That isn’t to say Ariza hasn’t performed well. He’s providing the defense and shooting he was expected to bring, but there’s only so much one perimeter defender can do to overhaul such an uninspired and poorly constructed defense. Wednesday’s game is a reminder that it will take more than one trade to get to the core of what ails Washington this season.