Both the Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers were missing multiple players from the lineup due to injury or Covid protocols. The guys Washington had available thoroughly outplayed the guys Cleveland had on hand, and the Wizards coasted to a 110-93 win last night.
It’s fair to point out that Cleveland’s injury depletion was worse than Washington’s. The Cavaliers were missing Jarrett Allen — their most productive player — as well as their top three guards — Darius Garland, Collin Sexton and Ricky Rubio. Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma, Daniel Gafford, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and scrap heap pickup Brad Wanamaker did exactly what they should have done: showed no mercy.
It was the first game back from the NBA’s Covid health and safety protocols for Beal and Caldwell-Pope, both of whom played well. Wanamaker filled in admirably as a street free agent signed the day before the game.
The game was relatively close through the first half, but the Wizards blew things open in the third quarter. Their lead never fell below 10 after the first few minutes of the third, and they led by at least 15 for the last 16 minutes of the game.
For the Wizards, all the starters had terrific games, led by Beal’s 29 points, 6 rebounds and 10 assists. Their bench was meh (and worse), but on a night when the opponent had no competent guards, it was enough for an easy win.
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: Cavaliers 93 at Wizards 110
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 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: Cavaliers
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