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Wizards drop Magic, look ahead to Pelicans

Washington Wizards v Orlando Magic
Wizards guard Spencer Dinwiddie
Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

The Wizards did what they were supposed to do against a bad Orlando Magic team, rolling to a 104-92 win that was never in any doubt.

Washington led by as much as 25 before succumbing to what Wizards assistant coach Dean Oliver calls “the slacking off effect” and Orlando made a purely cosmetic “comeback” to slice the final margin to 12.

It wasn’t a well-played game for either team. Spencer Dinwiddie was good in Bradley Beal’s absence, as were Montrezl Harrell and Deni Avdija off the bench. Aaron Holiday was also decent.

The defensive results were superb — the Magic managed just a 40.8% effective field goal percentage and an offensive rating (points per possession x 100) of 95 — though it seemed like Orlando was getting open looks and just firing blanks. That’s nitpicking though. The Wizards throttled the Magic throughout, and sometimes letting crummy shooters launch bricks is part of good defense.

Quick Observations:

  • Harrell had 20 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists in just 21 minutes. No turnovers. No fouls. A 155 offensive rating on a usage rate of 31%. Outlandish production.
  • It felt to the eye like Avdija was playing with a bit more aggression on offense, but his usage rate was 13%. That’s ultra-low and basically his season average. Still, he hit the shots he took, made a nice change-of-pace move as the ball handler in pick and role (leading to a good interior pass to Harrell), and was solid on defense.
  • Anthony Gill wasn’t bad in his first action of the season. He hit his only shot and grabbed a couple offensive boards in 10 minutes of playing time.
  • If Kentavious Caldwell-Pope never dribbles again, it’ll be soon enough. He’s a good shooter and defender, but he is not a playmaker.
  • Orlando is going to be terrible this season, but they have some promising youngsters. Cole Anthony had a bad night in an otherwise excellent start to the season. Mo Bamba, Wendell Carter Jr., Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs offer some hope for the future. Chuma Okeke and R.J. Hampton may also be able to grow into legit rotation players.

The 9-3 Wizards are winners of four straight. My prediction machine said they had an 83% chance of beating the Magic, and has them at 93% against the New Orleans Pelicans and 63% against the Charlotte Hornets. There’s a strong chance Washington could enter the home-and-home against the Miami Heat 11-3 and on a six-game winning streak.

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.

Four Factors: Wizards 104 at Magic 92

EFG 0.408 0.571
OREB 14 7
TOV 13 15
FTM 17 8
ORTG 95 108

Key Stats

Below are a few performance metrics, including 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).

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.

PPA is a per possession metric designed for larger data sets. In small sample sizes, the numbers can get weird. But some readers prefer it so I’m including PPA scores as well. Reminder: in PPA, 100 is average, higher is better and replacement level is 45. For a single game, replacement level isn’t much use, and I reiterate the caution about small samples producing weird results.

Now numbers.

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: Key Stats

Spencer Dinwiddie 31 63 23 114 30.4% 253 24.6 -3
Montrezl Harrell 21 42 20 155 30.8% 363 23.5 14
Deni Avdija 18 37 8 156 12.9% 331 18.8 22
Aaron Holiday 35 70 11 106 14.7% 120 12.9 -8
Kyle Kuzma 35 70 17 87 23.4% 100 10.7 -2
Anthony Gill 10 20 2 211 6.7% 222 6.7 14
Raul Neto 17 34 9 97 30.6% 96 5.0 15
Daniel Gafford 27 53 4 135 7.6% 22 1.8 -2
Corey Kispert 16 32 0 60 10.0% -18 0.0 16
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 32 64 10 69 21.7% -22 0.0 -6

Magic: Key Stats

Wendell Carter Jr. 32 65 17 132 18.3% 230 39.5 10
Mo Bamba 26 53 14 96 30.6% 166 23.2 -17
Cole Anthony 34 68 22 106 32.8% 78 14.0 -1
R.J. Hampton 24 48 8 103 14.6% 64 8.2 8
Terrence Ross 31 63 7 94 13.7% 35 5.8 -21
Moritz Wagner 1 2 0 0.0% 159 0.7 -2
Jalen Suggs 24 49 8 74 22.5% 5 0.6 -7
Chuma Okeke 19 37 6 83 14.0% -6 0.0 -21
Franz Wagner 35 70 8 76 13.9% -34 0.0 8
Gary Harris 14 29 2 66 10.8% -91 0.0 -17

In case you missed it, give a listen to the latest episode of the #SoWizards podcast.