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Wizards overcome Gafford’s injury and Beal’s off night to beat Celtics

Washington Wizards v Boston Celtics
Wizards center Montrezl Harrell.
Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

The Wizards overcame a horrific performance from Bradley Beal and an injury to starting center Daniel Gafford to outlast the Boston Celtics, 116-107 last night. Washington ran its record to 3-1 in the young 2021-22 season.

The best that could be said of Beal’s play last night was that he contributed 10 rebounds and some strong defensive possessions. Offense was a proverbial train wreck — 17 points on 25 shots, 0-6 from three-point range, and 2 assists to 5 turnovers. All told, I had Beal credited with using 26 possessions — 19 of them produced zero points.

Washington beat the Celtics in large part because of Montrezl Harrell, who poured in a hyper-efficient 25 points and 11 rebounds on 13 shots. The Wizards may need to lean more heavily on Harrell in the near future because Gafford could miss some time in the coming days with what the team said is a quad contusion.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had a classic 3&D kind of night — 3-4 from three-point range, 11 points on 6 field goal attempts, and strong defense that helped harass Boston’s Jaylen Brown into 5-16 shooting and 3 turnovers.

Spencer Dinwiddie was solid. Deni Avdija made both his shots (good), had a couple assists (good), avoided turnovers (good), and did a decent job staying in front of his man defensively. But, he was also ultra-low usage (again) and went stretches where he seemed to disappear.

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 simplified 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.

PACE is possessions per 48 minutes.

Wizards 116 at Celtics 107

FOUR FACTORS CELTICS WIZARDS
FOUR FACTORS CELTICS WIZARDS
EFG 0.494 0.565
OREB 10 11
TOV 13 15
FTM 23 21
PACE 99
ORTG 108 117

Player Production Average

Player Production Average (PPA) is my overall production metric, which credits players for things they do that help a team win (scoring, rebounding, playmaking, 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 and role. In PPA, 100 is average and higher is better.

The table below is sorted by each player’s total contributions for the game.

POSS is the number of possessions each player was on the floor in this game.

PTS = points scored

ORTG = offensive rating, which is points produced per individual possessions x 100. League average last season was 112.3.

USG = offensive usage rate. Average is 20%.

ORTG and USG are slightly modified versions of stats created by Wizards assistant coach Dean Oliver and modified slightly by me. ORTG is an efficiency measure that accounts for the value of shooting, offensive rebounds, assists and turnovers. USG includes shooting from the floor and free throw line, offensive rebounds, assists and turnovers.

Wizards PPA

WIZARDS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA +/-
WIZARDS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA +/-
Montrezl Harrell 38 79 25 161 19.1% 213 21
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 31 64 11 200 7.8% 147 2
Spencer Dinwiddie 30 61 22 124 27.1% 132 -2
Deni Avdija 17 35 8 225 10.8% 228 7
Kyle Kuzma 33 68 12 103 19.3% 74 -2
Davis Bertans 18 36 7 176 9.6% 126 2
Daniel Gafford 7 15 3 99 22.7% 201 -3
Corey Kispert 12 26 2 110 12.2% 93 9
Aaron Holiday 19 39 9 109 21.4% 53 11
Bradley Beal 35 73 17 66 36.2% -74 0

Celtics PPA

CELTICS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA +/-
CELTICS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA +/-
Al Horford 26 54 16 142 22.0% 266 -2
Robert Williams III 30 63 13 149 15.1% 199 -9
Dennis Schroder 34 71 22 123 26.6% 150 -8
Jabari Parker 9 19 7 239 12.2% 288 -4
Josh Richardson 15 32 0 250 0.8% 51 -8
Grant Williams 16 32 6 152 13.0% 15 -1
Jayson Tatum 36 74 23 91 31.2% -2 -8
Marcus Smart 36 74 7 78 14.7% -23 3
Jaylen Brown 37 77 13 69 21.1% -82 -8