The Washington Wizards rode dominating performances from their tag team centers Daniel Gafford and Montrezl Harrell to outlast the Minnesota Timberwolves 115-107 last night.
The Wizards’ offense was better than it had been much of the season — primarily because of their ability to generate an abundance of at-rim attempts. Courtesy NBA.com, here’s last night’s shot chart for centers Daniel Gafford and Montrezl Harrell.
Yeah, that’s ideal. Against Minnesota’s gossamer interior defense, Gafford and Harrell combined for 45 points on 18-22 shooting, as well as 15 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks. At the risk of getting overly technical, that’s good.
Overall, Wes Unseld Jr. and the coaching staff was likely pleased with the team’s shot distribution, even if they were once again under 30% from three-point range. The bulk of their field goal attempts came at-rim or from three.
Gafford and Harrell were helped by Davis Bertans snapping out of his shooting funk to score 15 points on 6 field goal attempts. Bertans was 3-4 from three-point range.
Beal was inefficient on offense (just 8-20 shooting, 1-5 from three, 2-4 from the free throw line), but he had 3 offensive rebounds (and 3 defensive boards) and 9 assists. Even with his poor shooting, the offense was better with him out there.
Spencer Dinwiddie’s low grade for the game is almost exclusively due to his atrocious 1-9 shooting (1-7 from three-point range). His defense wasn’t bad, and he contributed 11 assists in a variety of ways — finding teammates in transition (3), drive-and-draw (3), set plays (2), hitting a cutter, swinging the ball and a funky drive-and-kick where he drove across the court at about the foul line level, forced a defensive reaction and then hit Beal in the corner for a three.
He could probably be more aggressive looking for his shot, but his game management was solid last night.
This was a decent win for the Wizards, by the way. The Timberwolves entered the game winners of 8 of their last 11, and they had the league’s 7th ranked defense.
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: Timberwolves 107 at Wizards 115
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: Timberwolves