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By the Numbers: Wizards beat Nets for 4th win of the season

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Washington Wizards
Wizards guard Russell Westbrook attempts to steal the ball from Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant late in Washington’s 4th win.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

In the wildest game of the season, the Wizards rode a vintage performance from Russell Westbrook, 22 fourth quarter points from Bradley Beal, and a good Thomas Bryant impersonation from Moritz Wagner to emerge with a 149-146 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

Washington shot well — .574 effective field goal percentage — but allowed a scorching .676 from the Nets, despite once again inducing an opponent to take lots of midrange jumpers. When those shots are getting taken by Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, a fair amount will go in.

That Nets efg ties for the Wizards 12th worst one-game defensive efg. The five worst:

  1. 2021-01-06 — at Philadelphia 76ers .728
  2. 1986-03-04 — at New York Knicks .712
  3. 2010-11-17 — at Boston Celtics .711
  4. 2018-12-19 — at Houston Rockets .706
  5. 2019-02-06 — at Milwaukee Bucks .704

Allowing opponents a great shooting night is typically a way to lose. Coming into last night’s game, the Wizards were 0-32 in games where they allowed an opponent and efg of .65 or better. They were 1-99 in their 100 worst defensive efg games.

They won despite the shooting differential because they were plus-10 in turnovers and plus-4 on the offensive glass. That translated into 20 additional field goal attempts.

Westbrook — 41 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists and just 3 turnovers — looked healthy for the first time this season. He attacked the rim repeatedly and largely eschewed the two-point jumpers that had been a staple of his offensive repertoire all season.

The best shot selection of the season for Wizards guard Russell Westbrook.
NBA.com

Beal struggled for three quarters before transmogrifying into an unstoppable offensive weapon in the 4th quarter.

Many scoffed at Scott Brooks calling Ish Smith a “game changer” but Smith proved him right with a highly efficient 13 points and 7 assists. He also used the Speed Force to make Brooklyn’s Tyler Johnson fall down.

A day after Brooks compared Wagner to Bill Laimbeer, Wagner had his best game of the season — 17 points on 8 shots, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in just 21 minutes. He defended instead of flopping to draw charges, and he kept the dumb fouls to a minimum.

Robin Lopez was also productive again with 10 points on 5 shots and 4 rebounds in 18 minutes.

If this kind of performance persists from Davis Bertans, it’s going to be a problem. He’s shot poorly and contributed little else (as expected) all season. If the Wizards are going to make a run at reaching the postseason, they need Bertans hitting from long range.

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 decided to simplify 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: Nets at Wizards

FOUR FACTORS NETS WIZARDS
FOUR FACTORS NETS WIZARDS
EFG 0.676 0.574
OREB 7 11
TOV 17 7
FTM 27 25
PACE 113 113
ORTG 129 131

Player Production Average

Below are Player Production Average (PPA) results from last night’s game. PPA is my overall production metric, which credits players for things they do that help a team win (scoring, rebounding, play-making, defending) and dings them for things that hurt (missed shots, turnovers, bad defense, fouls). PPA is a per possession stat that includes accounting for defense. In PPA, 100 is average and higher is better.

PPA is a per possession stat. The table below is sorted by each player’s total contributions for the game.

Wizards PPA

WIZARDS MIN PPA +/-
WIZARDS MIN PPA +/-
Russell Westbrook 35 318 7
Bradley Beal 38 190 -12
Ish Smith 24 283 24
Moritz Wagner 21 239 11
Robin Lopez 18 173 -13
Garrison Mathews 26 89 8
Rui Hachimura 29 27 -2
Isaac Bonga 0 2043 2
Deni Avdija 16 -52 -9
Alex Len 4 -238 -4
Davis Bertans 30 -56 3

Nets PPA

NETS MIN PPA +/-
NETS MIN PPA +/-
Joe Harris 32 304 -2
Kevin Durant 38 208 5
Jeff Green 30 227 -19
Kyrie Irving 38 112 3
DeAndre Jordan 19 120 14
Bruce Brown 32 80 3
Landry Shamet 20 118 -7
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot 17 98 4
Reggie Perry 7 -123 -10
Tyler Johnson 6 -249 -6