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Celtics misfire and Wizards get a win

Wizards shooting 25% from three over their last six games

NBA: Boston Celtics at Washington Wizards
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal led the team’s victory over the Boston Celtics.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It was a win, something that’s been in short supply for the Wizards this season and throughout their history. Sure, it came primarily because the Boston Celtics played...well...kinda like the Wizards, but it was still a win.

Belay the talk about ruining The Tank. Even after the victory, Washington has the league’s second worst winning percentage and second worst strength of schedule adjusted scoring margin.

The win against the Celtics was more a case of Boston playing poorly than the Wizards playing well. For example, Washington allowed 44 open or wide-open field goal attempts, including 31 open or wide-open threes.

In other words, 49% of Boston’s field goal attempts, and 89% of their threes were open looks. In a pleasant change from the rest of the season, Washington’s opponent was firing blanks — 12-44 (27.3%) shooting on open and wide-open attempts, and 5-31 (16.1%) from three.

Typically, the Celtics would have had 12-13 threes on those kinds of attempts — enough to swing the course of the game.

The Wizards did have some good performances, of course. Bradley Beal had 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals to go with an efficient 35 points. Ideally, he’d commit fewer turnovers, but his 6 for the day were relatively minor considering his good shooting, 11 trips to the free throw line, and solid all-around game.

Rui Hachimura had one of his better games of the season — 15 points on 9 shots and 4 rebounds in 22 minutes.

Washington got production from centers Moritz Wagner — who got the start — and Robin Lopez. The two combined for 21 points on 13 shots, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. Wagner kept his penchant for rampant fouling in check. After starting several games, Alex Len did not play.

Russell Westbrook posted another subpar near-triple-double — 13 points, 9 rebounds, 11 assists. That sounds pretty good, except it came on 6-19 shooting and included 3 turnovers in 29 minutes.

In the win, the Wizards shot 7-30 from three-point range — their sixth consecutive game shooting below 30% from long range. During that stretch, the team is 51-204 from three, just 25.0%.

Now the Wizards prepare to face the Houston Rockets and John Wall Monday night.

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 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.

Also, someone asked why pace was always the same. The answer: I typically average possessions because they’re approximately equal between teams in each game. The actual count can fluctuate by a possession or two based on end of quarter stuff. So, today I’ve tweaked the table to report each team’s possessions without averaging.

Celtics 91 at Wizards 104

EFG 0.406 0.440
OREB 14 9
TOV 17 16
FTM 18 31
PACE 105 104
ORTG 87 100

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 and role. 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.

POSS is the number of possessions each player was on the floor in this game.

Wizards PPA

Bradley Beal 33 72 327 22
Rui Hachimura 22 49 208 13
Robin Lopez 26 56 136 2
Moritz Wagner 22 49 150 11
Raul Neto 24 53 97 3
Davis Bertans 24 53 88 17
Russell Westbrook 29 63 16 27
Garrison Mathews 20 43 5 -4
Jerome Robinson 1 1 0 0
Isaac Bonga 5 12 -384 -12
Troy Brown Jr. 5 12 -432 -12
Deni Avdija 28 61 -85 -2

Celtics PPA

Kemba Walker 29 63 163 -19
Jaylen Brown 29 62 92 -17
Tacko Fall 5 12 242 12
Tristan Thompson 18 39 49 4
Robert Williams III 11 23 61 -17
Tremont Waters 5 12 66 12
Javonte Green 5 12 32 12
Payton Pritchard 17 38 -7 -11
Carsen Edwards 5 12 -49 12
Aaron Nesmith 29 62 -33 10
Daniel Theis 20 44 -68 -18
Grant Williams 12 26 -175 4
Semi Ojeleye 31 66 -85 -29
Jayson Tatum 23 51 -139 -20