The Wizards were sloppy, and the game continued to reveal fault lines in their offensive structure, but Washington rallied from 10 down with four minutes to play to beat the Miami Heat, 103-100.
The sloppy: 19 turnovers, including 6 from Bradley Beal and a whopping 4 in just 15 minutes of court time from Daniel Gafford.
The fault lines: Washington’s offensive sets don’t consistently produce advantages by putting the opponent into rotations. Their set plays break down, they don’t produce open looks, and they end up either forcing passes that result in turnovers or going one-on-one.
What saved them last night: good shooting despite that inability to create advantages and massively huge gargantuan clutch threes from Spence Dinwiddie and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in the game’s closing minutes.
What also saved them: sturdy defense throughout despite foul trouble for Daniel Gafford, their best rim protector, and outstanding defense in the closing minutes.
For most of the game, it felt like the Heat were simply better and that Washington on the way to a second consecutive loss at their hands. But this year’s Wizards are a feisty and competitive bunch that just doesn’t stop coming. They kept scratching and clawing — even when down 16 in the third quarter — and put themselves in position to make winning plays late.
Man do I hope these teams meet in the playoffs.
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: Heat 100 at Wizards 103
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.
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.
Key Stats: Wizards
Key Stats: Heat