For the umpteenth time this season, don’t be fooled by the relatively narrow final margin. The Wizards lost to the Miami Heat, 119-112, but in reality, Washington was never a threat to win after the Heat opened double-digit leads in the second quarter.
Don’t read too much into the contest: both teams were handicapped by players in the NBA’s Covid health and safety protocols. Washington was missing Bradley Beal, Rui Hachimura, Montrezl Harrell, Aaron Holiday, Anthony Gill, Raul Neto and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope due to the pandemic. Thomas Bryant was absent because of his knee injury.
Due to injury and Covid, Miami had to deal with the absences of Bam Adebayo, Kyle Lowry, PJ Tucker, Max Strus, Dewayne Dedmon, Victor Oladipo, Markieff Morris and Udonis Haslem.
While not much should be made of a single game, last night’s contest at least suggested that no one from the Wizards is being held back by his teammates. Last night was a veritable blank slate, and no one, except maybe Spencer Dinwiddie, was ready to maximize the abundant opportunities they were afforded.
For the Wizards, Dinwiddie was good — 24 points, 7 rebounds, 11 assists in 42 minutes with 3 turnovers. He hit 4-10 from three-point range. Daniel Gafford made shots around the rim (7-7 from the floor), and grabbed 11 rebounds. Davis Bertans made five threes en route to 19 points in 21 minutes.
Kyle Kuzma needed 19 shots to score 22 points and had subpar offensive efficiency for the game.
Of the G League horde that got some playing time, Craig Sword was the only player to play like he had an actual NBA future. He was 3-4 from the floor and gave an effort on defensive (3 steals), though his fouling could be an issue (5 of them in just 14 minutes).
Deni Avdija’s performance undercut arguments that he needs more responsibility. With a virtual blank slot because so many rotation players were out of action, he had a usage rate of just 13.5%, and he had as many turnovers (4) as field goal attempts in 31 minutes.
Faced with numerous absences from injuries and Covid, Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra shortened the rotation to 8 players, each of whom was at least decent. The Wizards were dismantled by Jimmy Butler — 25 points, 8 rebounds, 15 assists — Duncan Robinson (26 points on 17 FGA), and Tyler Herro — 32 points on 19 FGA.
Again, the Heat got solid contributions from everyone who played, including Marcus Garrett, who shot just 1-7 but managed 5 rebounds, 3 steals and a block.
If you’re tempted to be encouraged by the team’s fourth quarter “comeback,” stop it. The best word to describe it: pyrite.
With so many players missing, there’s not a lot to read into this game. In the somewhat encouraging category, I’d include the performances of Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans.
In the discouraging category, I’d drop Avdija’s passive 7 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 turnovers. His defense wasn’t good either, which is going to happen now and then — even to a very good defender like Avdija. What disappointed was his disappearance when presented with an opportunity to step forward with so many teammates out of action.
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 112 at Heat 119
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: Heat