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The numbers behind the Mystics blowout loss to the Mercury

Washington Mystics v Dallas Wings
Leilani Mitchell played well in the Mystics 94-72 loss to the Mercury.
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

The 2020 season has been a slog for the Washington Mystics, and last night’s 94-72 thumping by the Phoenix Mercury may have been the team’s worst game.

Washington got off to a positive start, building a three-point lead at the end of the first quarter and stretching it to eight at halftime. Then came a desultory second half in which the Mercury outscore the Mystics by 15 in both the third and fourth quarters.

The Mystics’ defensive collapse was Wizards-like. They allowed the Mercury an effective field goal percentage of 68.1% and an offensive rating (points per possession x 100) of 126.

Emma Meesseman returned to the lineup after missing a few games with a shoulder injury and had a disastrous 1-10 shooting night. She did contribute four offensive rebounds, three assists and three blocks, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the missed shots.

The Mystics got good performances from Leilani Mitchell — 17 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists — and Myisha Hines-Allen — 14 points and 6 rebounds, but Phoenix shot the lights out and coasted to an easy win.

Four Factors

In his book, Basketball on Paper, now-Wizards assistant coach Dean Oliver formalized the four factors that determine who wins and loses basketball games. The factors:

  • Shooting from the floor — measured by effective field goal percentage
  • Rebounding — measured by offensive rebounding percentage
  • Maintaining possession — measured by turnover percentage
  • Free throw shooting — measured by free throws made divided by field goals attempted

The factors apply on both ends of the floor and vary importance by league and level of play. Below are the four factors for the Mystics loss to the Mercury.

Mystics vs. Mercury Four Factors

4FACTORS PHO WAS
4FACTORS PHO WAS
efg 0.681 0.464
orb 0.22 0.21
tov 0.19 0.17
ftm 0.26 0.10
ortg 126 97

Player Production Average

Below are the Player Production Average (PPA) scores from last night’s game. PPA is my overall production metric, which credits players for things they do that help a team win (scoring, rebounding, play-making, defending) and debits them for things that hurt (missed shots, turnovers, fouling, poor defense). PPA is pace neutral and accounts for defense. In PPA, 100 is average and higher is better.

Mystics PPA

WAS MIN PPA
WAS MIN PPA
Mitchell 27 172
Hines-Allen 24 165
Leslie 35 72
Sutton 13 128
Meesseman 26 16
Atkins 30 -2
Hawkins 18 -12
Coates 12 -94
Gemelos 15 -191

Mercury PPA

PHO MIN PPA
PHO MIN PPA
Diggins-Smith 35 435
Vaughn 32 318
Taurasi 29 259
Walker-Kimbrough 24 196
Turner 30 154
Smith 18 214
Peddy 8 344
Hartley 8 312
Cunningham 17 -107