It was messy and difficult, but the Wizards emerged from the double-overtime thriller against the Boston Celtics with the win to run their record to 5-1.
For the Wizards, 5-1 is rarified air. Their last start this good was 2005-06, which was Gilbert Arenas’ first healthy season in Washington. The team would finish that year 42-40 and lose in the first round to a 21-year old Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The franchise’s only other 5-1 start was 1989-90. It was the definition of false hope — the team went 26-50 to finish the year 31-51 and miss the playoffs.
Yesterday’s game would not fit most criteria for a well-played game. It’s the kind of game Jeff Van Gundy or Tom Thibodeau might have loved from the late 90s or early aughts. Lots of effort, lots of missed shots, lots of fouls.
Shooting was atrocious for both teams — the Celtics effective field goal percentage as 42.1%; for the Wizards 41.3%. Boston bricked their way to 2-26 from three-point range. Washington won each of the other three key factors: offensive rebounds (12-8), turnovers (13-11), and free throws (29-22).
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.
Celtics 112 at Wizards 115, 2OT
Today, I’m (re)introducing the Player Production Average (PPA) Game Score (very similar to the one I used to call Scoreboard Impact Rating). 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 metric designed for larger data sets. In small sample sizes, the numbers can get weird.
Game Score (GmSC) converts individual production into points on the scoreboard in this game. The scale is the same as points and reflects each player’s total contributions for the game. The lowest possible GmSC is zero.
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: Game Score & Key Stats
Celtics: Game Score & Key Stats