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Wizards scrap for win over weak Oklahoma City Thunder

Washington Wizards v Oklahoma City Thunder
Washington Wizards wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was a bright spot in the team’s win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images

What I want is to write something full of optimism about the Wizards getting back on the right track with their 101-99 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. But if I claimed to be encouraged, I’d be lying.

The bright side: they did get the win, and an ugly win is still a win. It’s the kind of game previous versions of the Wizards would have found a way to lose.

But real talk: the Wizards went to the wire with a terrible team that’s designed to lose. As a reminder, the Thunder entered the game:

  • 27th in strength of schedule adjusted scoring margin
  • 29th in offensive rating (points scored per 100 possessions)
  • 15th in defensive rating

And the Wizards struggled to pull out a win. The Thunder entered the game with an offensive rating of 100.5. Against Washington, their ortg was 103. OKC came in with a defensive rating of 107.8. Against the Wizards, it was 105.

Even in the loss, the Thunder raised their offensive and defensive efficiency numbers in this game against the Wizards.

Positives for the Wizards: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit some shots, and Daniel Gafford blocked seemingly everything. Other than that, enough guys made just enough positive plays to offset their bad ones and pull out the win.

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.

Four Factors: Wizards 101 at Thunder 99

FOUR FACTORS THUNDER WIZARDS
FOUR FACTORS THUNDER WIZARDS
EFG 0.463 0.544
OREB 10 5
TOV 9 15
FTM 12 15
PACE 96
ORTG 103 105

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.

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

WIZARDS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA GmSC +/-
WIZARDS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA GmSC +/-
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 27 55 20 143 22.5% 270 29.3 5
Daniel Gafford 27 54 7 147 10.1% 227 24.2 9
Spencer Dinwiddie 31 62 10 116 13.9% 83 10.3 -1
Bradley Beal 37 74 20 100 27.9% 62 9.1 10
Kyle Kuzma 33 66 11 96 20.5% 64 8.3 -3
Montrezl Harrell 20 39 14 117 28.8% 94 7.3 -5
Deni Avdija 22 43 9 106 15.9% 79 6.8 -3
Davis Bertans 16 31 5 105 21.2% 94 5.8 3
Aaron Holiday 11 22 0 0 7.6% -120 0.0 -8
Raul Neto 17 33 5 55 23.6% -160 0.0 3

Key Stats: Thunder

THUNDER MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA GmSC +/-
THUNDER MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA GmSC +/-
Lu Dort 36 72 21 141 18.4% 167 23.5 -8
Kenrich Williams 24 49 11 178 13.1% 237 22.7 7
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 34 69 15 107 23.5% 152 20.5 -6
Ty Jerome 11 21 4 193 12.7% 277 11.6 7
Josh Giddey 29 57 11 94 22.7% 72 8.1 2
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl 23 46 10 105 15.8% 54 4.8 0
Mike Muscala 17 35 3 87 13.8% 56 3.8 7
Darius Bazley 22 43 8 87 17.9% 44 3.7 -5
Aleksej Pokusevski 17 34 7 78 29.2% 4 0.3 5
Tre Mann 17 34 7 70 25.0% -44 0.0 -6
Derrick Favors 10 19 2 50 22.2% -109 0.0 -13