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Wizards lose third straight — this time a come-from-ahead defeat by the Sacramento Kings

Washington Wizards v Sacramento Kings
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal.
Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The losses keep piling up for the staggering Washington Wizards. After sprinting to a 10-3 start, the Wizards have gone 5-11 — and with a brutal stretch of schedule in front of them, their next win might not come until 2022.

Last night, Washington repeatedly built leads, and the Sacramento Kings repeatedly reeled them back in. The Wizards threatened to open the game up when the lead hit 12 late in the third quarter. But they blundered through the last few minutes of the quarter, and things got worse in the fourth.

The Kings closed with a 42-16 run to win, 119-105.

As has been their habit since the hot start, the Wizards defense collapsed. The Kings had an effective field goal percentage of 59.8% en route to their 7th best offensive rating (points scored per possession x 100) of the season.

Washington didn’t make up for it on offense. Their efg was a below average 50.0%, and their offensive rating was just 106.

Their season may be on the precipice. According to my prediction machine, the next time they’re favored to win is January 3 against the Charlotte Hornets, which is 9 games into the future. They’re on a three-game losing streak.

A few of the problems they need to solve:

  • They’ve “won” Daniel Gafford’s minutes in just 5 games so far this season. He blocks lots of shots, and he’s reputed to be a good rim protector, but the defense has been worse this season with him on the floor.
  • After a fast start to the season from Spencer Dinwiddie, they’re getting almost nothing from the PG spot. Even with Dinwiddie’s struggles, he’s generally been better than Raul Neto and Aaron Holiday. Last night, all three had a negative PPA score.
  • Bradley Beal still isn’t playing like Bradley Beal. Last night, he made some shots he’d been missing much of the year, but he fell apart in the fourth quarter — 2-7 shooting, a turnover and 3 fouls. The team is built around the (nonsensical) idea that Beal is their franchise player. He needs to at least play like a borderline All-NBA producer for them to have a shot at making the playoffs.
  • Davis Bertans continues to miss — just 1-6 from three-point range last night.

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 105 at Kings 119

EFG 0.598 0.500
OREB 6 7
TOV 11 10
FTM 21 16
ORTG 120 106

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

Bradley Beal 36 75 30 111 34.6% 145 28.5 -9
Daniel Gafford 22 46 14 187 15.8% 186 22.6 -9
Deni Avdija 22 46 15 129 23.5% 161 19.6 -9
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 29 59 10 109 14.2% 102 15.9 -9
Montrezl Harrell 21 44 14 140 21.1% 111 12.8 3
Davis Bertans 16 34 7 100 21.6% 62 5.6 -5
Aaron Holiday 9 19 2 100 8.1% -3 0.0 -10
Kyle Kuzma 33 67 6 73 14.9% -4 0.0 -10
Spencer Dinwiddie 30 62 4 65 15.8% -30 0.0 -9
Raul Neto 20 42 3 52 17.9% -57 0.0 -3

Key Stats: Kings

Harrison Barnes 32 66 19 151 19.1% 200 22.1 7
Chimezie Metu 17 35 13 128 23.6% 358 20.7 18
Tristan Thompson 21 43 15 179 19.0% 271 19.2 22
De'Aaron Fox 31 65 28 125 33.9% 171 18.4 4
Tyrese Haliburton 36 75 8 84 20.3% 113 14.0 9
Buddy Hield 29 59 15 127 17.8% 132 12.9 11
Alex Len 20 42 6 145 9.8% 92 6.4 1
Davion Mitchell 29 59 13 99 22.8% 54 5.3 3
Damian Jones 4 7 0 0.0% -64 0.0 -12
Maurice Harkless 21 44 2 77 6.5% -30 0.0 7