Another game, another win for the 2021-22 Washington Wizards. This time, the Wizards beat the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks, 101-94.
The Bucks were missing All-Star Khris Middleton, Donte DiVincenzo and Brook Lopez. The Wizards were missing Rui Hachimura, Thomas Bryant and Davis Bertans.
The Wizards “lost” three of the four key factors that determine who wins and loses in the NBA, but “won” the most important one — shooting from the floor with a 57.4% effective field goal percentage to Milwaukee’s 44.7%.
The team’s designated franchise player Bradley Beal led the way with a reasonably efficient 30 points and 8 assists. Beal’s shooting was excellent (14-22 from the floor and 2-3 from three point range), but he committed 6 turnovers against 8 assists. His 30-5-8 “glory stats” line was just what the Wizards needed to beat the defending NBA champions.
Beal was supported by a rock solid 15-10=5 line from Kyle Kuzma, as well as superb defense and rebounding from Deni Avdija. Avdija didn’t shoot well, but he produced 9 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal and 2 blocks in 27 minutes.
Daniel Gafford chipped in with 11 points on 5-6 shooting, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks in 22 minutes. Montrezl Harrell, his tag-team partner in the middle, produced 15 points on 7 field goal attempts, as well as 4 rebounds in 26 minutes. The centers combined for 24 points on 13 field goal attempts, 12 rebounds, a steal, and 3 blocks. That’s quality production.
The Wizards defense was excellent for a second straight game. They held the Bucks to a 44.7% efg and an offensive rating (points per possession x 100) of just 96. That’s good work against one of the NBA’s better offensive teams over the past several seasons.
While the Wizards were favored to win by my prediction machine, this is yet another good win for Washington. The Bucks have struggled in the early season due to injury, but they still had Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday. And the Wizards controlled them.
Antetokounmpo had 29 points and 18 rebounds, but had an offensive rating of just 99. His career ortg is 115, a mark he’s beaten the past six seasons (including this one). The Wizards badgered Holiday into 6-16 shooting for the night.
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; Bucks 94 at Wizards 101
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.
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
Key Stats: Bucks