Injury-plagued or not, this was a game the Wizards should have been able to win with relative ease. Early on, it looked like that would be the case, but the Hawks rallied to make it a game — taking leads in the third and fourth quarter before succumbing down the stretch to lose 111-101.
In true tank-tacular fashion, the Hawks closed the game with Cam Reddish and Alex Len on the floor. Both guys actually had sorta okay games for Atlanta, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the poor performance from Trae Young, who shot just 7-20 from the field (including 0-7 from three-point range) and committed six turnovers.
The Wizards were led by stellar play from Troy Brown Jr. (18 points, 10 rebounds and his usual solid defense), Jordan McRae (29 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists — he shot just 10-26 from the floor, but hit 4-5 from long range), Gary Payton (11 points on 6 shots, 5 rebounds and good defense in just 23 minutes), and a strong fourth quarter from PG Ish Smith.
Davis Bertans looked rusty in his first game back from a quad injury, but contributed 14 points and 7 rebounds in 21 minutes.
One sour note for the Wizards was another atrocious game from Isaiah Thomas, who shot just 2-16 from the floor and offered almost nothing else. As noted yesterday, Thomas’ performance has slouched towards replacement level in recent weeks. His lack of quickness, burst and athletic explosion is more evident as the season wears on.
A decision on Thomas isn’t likely to come before the February trade deadline, but the Wizards could make better use of the minutes he’s getting by distributing them to younger players with a future. Payton, in particular, has shown enough promise to warrant increased playing time.
The Wizards are back in action Sunday afternoon when they’ll host the Utah Jazz.
Wizards assistant coach Dean Oliver formalized the four factors (offense and defense) that decide who wins and loses. The team that shoots best usually wins (about 78% of the time in the NBA). The Wizards were out-shot .500 to .420 by the Hawks, but made up for it by committing half as many turnovers and dominating the offensive boards.
Wizards-Hawks Four Factors
Player Production Average and Scoreboard Impact Rating
Below are results from Player Production Average (PPA) and Scoreboard Impact Rating (SIR). PPA is an overall production metric I developed. It credits players for things they do that help a team win and debits them for things that hurt, each in proper proportion. It’s pace neutral and accounts for defense. In PPA, 100 is average and higher is better. SIR translates overall production into points on the scoreboard in this game.
Wizards PPA and SIR
Hawks PPA and SIR