For a second straight night, Bradley Beal was terrific and the Wizards defense was terrible. But, this time they were facing the sad sack Cavaliers so the Washington offense rolled and the Wizards won, 124-112.
Beal continues to make the case that he deserves a spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star roster. He wrecked Cleveland’s defense with 36 points on 22 shots in just 29 minutes. In the fourth quarter, the Wizards ran multiple post-up sets for Beal, which proved to be reasonably successful. Beal was able to bully the smaller Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, and showed the strength and craftiness to make post-ups work against the bigger Cedi Osman.
While post-ups have plummeted in recent years as data showed they were among the least efficient offensive sets, they can still be a useful tool with the right personnel. This may be an intriguing option with John Wall when he returns from the Achilles injury.
The ineptness of the Wizards’ defense continues to astonish. The Cavaliers — who entered the game with the NBA’s 25th ranked offense — had an offensive rating of 118. League average is about 109.5. That 118 was only a couple points worse than Washington’s season average (116.1) entering the game.
Nothing the Wizards try seems to make much difference. Ian Mahinmi is supposed to bring defensive presence, but their defense is no better when he’s in the game. The effort level from younger players seems to be good, but their inexperience and lack of knowledge has them over-committing and out of position too frequently. They’re not helped by the erratic effort from Beal and the complete defensive indifference of Isaiah Thomas.
In a previous life, now-Wizards assistant coach Dean Oliver formalized the four factors (offensive and defensive) that decide who wins in the NBA. Shooting from the floor is the most important factor, and Washington won that battle .647 to .516.
Wizards-Cavaliers Four Factors
Player Production Average and Scoreboard Impact Rating
Player Production Average (PPA) is an overall production metric I developed. PPA credits players for things that help a team win and debits them for things that hurt. PPA is pace neutral and accounts for defense. In PPA, 100 is average and higher is better.
Scoreboard Impact Rating (SIR) translates overall production into points on the scoreboard in this game.
Wizards PPA and SIR
Cavaliers PPA and SIR