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By the Numbers: Wizards lose to Spurs in return from COVID-19 hiatus

NBA: Washington Wizards at San Antonio Spurs
Center Robin Lopez was the Washington Wizards most productive player in the team’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

The only important lesson to learn from the Wizards’ loss to the San Antonio Spurs is that there are no important lessons to be learned. In their return to action after six postponed games, and still missing several players from the rotation, the Wizards got overwhelmed by the Spurs in the second half to lose by 20.

Washington played solid defense for the first two quarters, but got lit up in the second half as they seemed to wear down.

Their most productive player was Robin Lopez, whose performance would best be described as “pretty good” — 8 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists in 24 minutes. NBA tracking credited him with contesting a game-high 21 field goal attempts. His backup, the newly signed Alex Len, contested 10. That’s a busy defensive night for the centers — testament to San Antonio’s slashing offensive attack.

Bradley Beal posted a catchy “glory stats” line — 31 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists — but it was not an impressive game from him. It took him 29 field goal attempts and 4 turnovers to generate those totals and his high-volume inefficiency hurt the team’s offense.

Jerome Robinson had one of those games that felt better than it was because it was good for him. He had 16 points (on 6-15 shooting), 5 rebounds, and 4 assists, which sounds decent except he played 38 minutes.

Similarly, Garrison Mathews got 35 minutes, which he used to hit some highlight threes...and not much else.

Isaac Bonga and Cassius Winston weren’t much good, though Winston did hit a pair of threes.

Len was decent, though his stat line would have looked different if the refs hadn’t missed clear travels on his first basket and a second half dunk. The push/pull with him was on display. He’s huge, strong, reasonably mobile, and at times makes outstanding plays. And, at other times, he commits dumb fouls and bad turnovers, or makes chin-scratching mistakes.

Kudos to Russell Westbrook for playing while clearly not 100%, but he should not have been on the floor. If the Wizards still hope to make the playoffs, they need something like the early 2020 Westbrook from Houston. For that, he needs to get healthy, which won’t happen if he’s playing.

Four Factors

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

I’ve decided to simplify them a bit. While the factors are usually presented as percentages, that’s more useful over a full season. In a single game, the raw numbers in each category are easier to understand.

Four Factors: Wizards at Spurs

EFG 0.578 0.500
OREB 5 12
TOV 8 14
FTM 10 9
PACE 100 100
ORTG 121 101

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

Robin Lopez 24 155 -6
Jerome Robinson 38 99 -8
Garrison Mathews 35 77 -10
Alex Len 21 105 -13
Bradley Beal 32 59 -2
Isaac Bonga 33 53 -13
Cassius Winston 22 64 -16
Jordan Bell 3 362 -1
Russell Westbrook 25 -8 -20
Anthony Gill 8 -28 -11

Spurs PPA

Patty Mills 21 380 29
Devin Vassell 24 250 19
Dejounte Murray 31 160 10
Lonnie Walker IV 30 149 4
Jakob Poeltl 21 204 16
Rudy Gay 22 156 23
LaMarcus Aldridge 24 130 3
Keldon Johnson 28 97 -9
DeMar DeRozan 27 55 1
Luka Samanic 2 596 1
Trey Lyles 3 236 1
Keita Bates-Diop 3 55 1
Tre Jones 3 -126 1