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Wizards take up bricklaying in loss to Hornets

Washington Wizards v Charlotte Hornets
Wizards guard Bradley Beal was excellent in his return to action.
Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Can’t win ‘em all, amirite?

Everyone has an off night now and then.

It wasn’t as bad as it looked.

The devil made me do it.

The dog ate my homework.

Yeah, so the Wizards rolled into last night’s matchup with the Charlotte Hornets on a five-game winning streak and got beat, 97-87.

The Wizards rained bricks from three-point range — just 8-42 — but played solid defense that was good enough to win most NBA games.

The bad offensive display looks even worse considering the Hornets entered the game with the NBA’s 25th ranked defense. Charlotte has allowed 111.2 points per 100 possessions this season. The Wizards managed 93.

The Hornets were 25th in defensive effective field goal percentage at 53.9%. Washington’s efg last night: 41.1%.

Charlotte’s opponents are shooting 34.9% from three-point range this year. The Wizards shot 19.0%.

Washington got nothing from its three point guards. Spencer Dinwiddie, who’s been the team’s best player this season, was passive offensively and went 0-5 from the floor, 0-4 from three-point range, and had just 3 rebounds and 2 assists in 29 minutes. Oh yeah, he committed 2 turnovers and a foul.

On a per possession basis, Raul Neto was somehow even worse — 1-6 from the floor, 0-2 from three, 3 turnovers and 2 fouls in just 18 minutes. Aaron Holiday was the team’s least damaging PG — 3 points on 6 field goal attempts in 13 minutes.

Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made sure the frontcourt was represented in the poor offensive performance. They combined to score 8 points on 3-18 shooting. Those poor rims. And backboards.

On the bright side, Bradley Beal was excellent in his return from a bereavement absence, and the Daniel Gafford, Montrezl Harrell center tandem was productive.

On the other hand, Gafford and Harrell somehow let Mason Plumlee grab 8 offensive rebounds.

Deni Avdija got more aggressive than his norm — 18.3% usage rate — but was just 2-9 from the floor and 1-7 from three.

This was a second straight not-too-good outing for the Wizards. In my prediction machine, their comeback win over the New Orleans Pelicans actually lowered their forecasted win total.

The next few days won’t be easier. The Wizards are on a road-road back-to-back — tonight they’re at the Miami Heat. Then it’s back to DC Saturday night for the second half of their home-and-home series with the Heat.

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 87 at Hornets 97

FOUR FACTORS HORNETS WIZARDS
FOUR FACTORS HORNETS WIZARDS
EFG 0.490 0.411
OREB 16 11
TOV 11 10
FTM 3 13
PACE 93
ORTG 104 93

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. Points produced is not the same as points scored. It includes the value of assists and offensive rebounds, as well as sharing credit when receiving an assist.

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

WIZARDS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA GmSC +/-
WIZARDS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA GmSC +/-
Bradley Beal 35 68 24 116 27.8% 211 25.9 -9
Daniel Gafford 24 47 20 131 27.1% 255 21.6 -2
Montrezl Harrell 22 43 15 163 22.5% 267 20.7 -11
Deni Avdija 25 49 9 99 18.3% 90 7.9 -10
Corey Kispert 11 22 6 134 18.4% 182 7.3 -1
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 28 54 3 64 12.3% 18 1.7 2
Joel Ayayi 1 3 0 240 8.9% 301 1.5 3
Anthony Gill 1 3 0 0.0% 94 0.5 3
Aaron Holiday 13 25 3 60 18.7% -26 0.0 -1
Isaiah Todd 1 3 0 0 26.2% -419 0.0 3
Kyle Kuzma 30 59 5 56 18.3% -26 0.0 -14
Raul Neto 18 35 2 40 23.4% -233 0.0 -8
Spencer Dinwiddie 29 56 0 19 11.1% -150 0.0 -5

Hornets: Key Stats

HORNETS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA GmSC +/-
HORNETS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA GmSC +/-
Mason Plumlee 26 50 11 172 16.1% 290 21.8 -4
Kelly Oubre Jr. 24 46 14 138 18.0% 300 20.7 10
Terry Rozier 33 65 19 107 23.7% 171 16.6 -4
Jaden McDaniels 17 34 11 227 11.1% 291 14.6 8
Miles Bridges 37 73 17 97 22.2% 108 11.7 15
Cody Martin 27 52 0 63 7.3% 85 6.5 20
Nick Richards 14 26 6 122 15.1% 82 3.2 -1
LaMelo Ball 36 70 11 81 30.9% 18 1.9 19
James Bouknight 1 1 0 0.0% 0 0.0 -3
Kai Jones 1 1 0 0.0% 0 0.0 -3
Gordon Hayward 25 49 8 62 20.5% -112 0.0 -7