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By the Numbers: Wizards scorch Suns for third win

Phoenix Suns v Washington Wizards
Washington Wizards center Robin Lopez played well in a starting role.
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

The Wizards played some impressive basketball last night and they got their third win and first stomp of the season.

Channeling my inner Drew Gooden...What’s a stomp win? It’s a win where you stomp the opponent.

A stomp is a win by 20 or more points. They missed stomping the Minnesota Timberwolves by one point.

The Wizards were led by Bradley Beal, who had his best game of the season — 34 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists in 35 minutes. This is close to the best I’ve seen Beal play. He was aggressive offensively, but wasn’t in gunner mode. By finding open teammates, he kept the Suns guessing and facilitated an efficient team offense for the game.

Robin Lopez performed well as a starter with 11 points and 11 rebounds in 26 minutes. He was active and effective on defense, in part due to the team playing a zone defense designed to keep him around the basket. He led the team with 18 shots defended and 15 shots contested — most of them in the paint.

Davis Bertans went supernova hitting 5 straight threes on his way to 6-9 shooting from deep.

Moritz Wagner gave the Wizards 22 productive minutes off the bench. He has the skills and agility to be a good NBA player. The injury to Thomas Bryant will give Wagner an extended audition.

It was a good win against a good team and the Wizards should avoid the temptation to read too much into it. Scott Brooks needs to go Crash Davis in their film session because while they won, there were still some familiar flaws.

For example, while fans celebrated the team’s defense, the Wizards defended well for one-and-a-half quarters. Here’s the team’s defensive rating (points allowed per possession x 100) by quarter (league average is about 110):

  1. 68
  2. 108
  3. 139
  4. 126

For the game, the Wizards had a defensive rating of 112, which is slightly worse than league average. The relatively low score (the Suns had “just” 107 points) is a reflection of an unusually slow-paced game — 95 possessions (per team), which is 11 possessions per 48 minutes slower than Washington’s average.

The Suns shot 4-27 from three-point range, but it probably wasn’t because of the Wizards defense. Washington defenders consistently ran at shooters with a hand up, but they were also consistently closing late — the bulk of Phoenix’s attempts were open or wide-open by NBA standards. Tracking data credits the Wizards with contesting 14 Suns three-point attempts last night.

The message from Brooks and the coaching staff should be that even in a stomp win, they have room to improve.

Four Factors

Below are the four factors that decide who wins and loses in basketball — shooting (efg), rebounding (offensive rebounding percentage), ball handling (turnovers), fouling (free throws made divided by field goal attempts).

Four Factors: Suns at Wizards

EFG 0.477 0.603
OREB% 0.152 0.320
TOV% 0.063 0.074
FTM/FGA 0.291 0.185
PACE 95 95
ORTG 112 134

Player Production Average

Below are Player Production Average (PPA) results 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 dings them for things that hurt (missed shots, turnovers, bad defense, fouls). PPA is a per possession stat that includes accounting for defense. In PPA, 100 is average and higher is better.

PPA is a per possession stat. The table below is sorted by each player’s total contributions for the game.

Wizards PPA

Bradley Beal 35 340 19
Robin Lopez 26 245 21
Davis Bertans 24 252 20
Moritz Wagner 22 177 0
Rui Hachimura 28 99 -2
Garrison Mathews 21 122 13
Raul Neto 25 63 2
Anthony Gill 3 412 -2
Isaac Bonga 12 52 12
Ish Smith 21 26 21
Deni Avdija 20 -25 3
Cassius Winston 2 -254 -2

Suns PPA

Devin Booker 33 148 -15
Chris Paul 36 132 -10
Mikal Bridges 25 149 -1
Dario Saric 20 148 -2
Jae Crowder 30 33 -13
Abdel Nader 3 306 2
Damian Jones 12 22 -3
Jevon Carter 17 3 -18
Ty-Shon Alexander 3 0 2
Deandre Ayton 25 -7 -23
Langston Galloway 14 -12 -1
E'Twaun Moore 3 -229 2
Cameron Johnson 18 -51 -25