Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. shortened the rotation and went with the night’s most productive players to close the game, and the result was a 109-103 win over the Utah Jazz.
Out of the rotation were Corey Kispert (did not play), Aaron Holiday (just 4 minutes), and Davis Bertans (8 minutes). Starting guard Spencer Dinwiddie got just 3 minutes in the fourth quarter — 25 minutes for the game. Those minutes went instead to Deni Avdija, who played an outstanding game, Raul Neto, who provided solid play over 29 minutes, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who played 35 minutes (about 6 over his season average).
Helped by the Jazz being on the second night of a back-to-back (starting PG Mike Conley rested instead of suiting up), the Wizards won because Bradley Beal — 37 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, and 10 free throws — looked like the Beal of the past 2-3 seasons, and Avdija had probably the best game of his young career.
Avdija was ultra-low usage (11.4% usage rate), but he scored 11 points on 5 field goal attempts, had 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and a block, and he played stellar defense once again. The team had a defensive rating (points allowed per possession x 100) of 89.1 with Avdija — the best mark of the game. The Wizards were +23 in Avdija’s 30 minutes.
Opposing players continue to make the mistake of trying to attack Avdija one-on-one with fakes, spins and flashy ball handling. Avdija has a freakish ability to ignore the sizzle. The way to attack him is to go quick with a strong and decisive move. That’s not necessarily a win for the offense, though — he’s also pretty good at using his size on those kinds of attacks too. Few players have been helped as much by the change in officiating as Avdija this season.
Daniel Gafford spent some time in Rudy Gobert’s big man school. Gafford shot 5-10 from the floor — all five of his misses were blocked by Gobert. Still, Gafford ended the game with 12 points, 9 rebounds and solid defense throughout.
Dinwiddie was awful, again. He shot 0-7 from the floor and managed just 4 assists. The team’s defense was at its worst when he was in the game, and he rode the bench for the last 9+ minutes as the Unseld closed with Neto.
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 109 at Jazz 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: Jazz