Once again, the Washington Wizards squared off with one of the worst teams in the leagues. Once again, they got their teeth kicked in — this time with a 116-99 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
For the Wizards, it was their 23rd consecutive loss in San Antonio. During most of those years, the Spurs were a title-contending powerhouse. This time, Gregg Popovich’s squad entered the game 25th in strength of schedule adjusted scoring margin and with a 5-13 record.
Washington came in with a 13-7 record, and while there were signs of weakness, a sound defense seemed a solid foundation for a feisty team that could maybe punch a little above its talent level. That defensive foundation has crumbled in recent games — four of their six worst defensive performances have come since the November 18 loss to the Miami Heat.
Last night, they allowed the Spurs an offensive rating (points per possession x 100) of 127. San Antonio came in 24th in offense averaging 105.3 points per 100 possessions. This was San Antonio’s third-best offensive rating of the season — the top two came against the Sacramento Kings (ranked 26th in defense) and the Orlando Magic (28th in defense).
While considerable pixels were deployed in criticism of Spencer Dinwiddie last night, he played a good game — 16 points on 10 shots and 6 rebounds in 30 minutes. He could be more aggressive (just a 17.0% usage rate) and 1 assist in 57 possessions — a low number for a player expected to be a playmaker. Still, Dinwiddie was not a problem last night.
A bigger issue was another bad game from Bradley Beal, who scored 18 points on 21 field goal attempts. Beal did a better job as a playmaker — 8 assists and just 2 turnovers — but his poor shooting and inability to get to the free throw line wrecked his efficiency and hamstrung the offense.
The Davis Bertans slump continues. He bricked another trio of threes last night and is now down to 23.7% shooting from deep on the season. Since returning from an ankle injury, Bertans is 1-19 from three-point range. Yike.
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 99 at Spurs 116
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: Spurs
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