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By the Numbers: Wizards beat Trail Blazers to run win streak to 4

NBA: Washington Wizards at Portland Trail Blazers
Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook played one of his better games since coming to the team.
Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

I’m a little short on time today, but I wanted to get the numbers up from last night’s Wizards win. It’s their fourth in a row — first time they’ve done that since 2018 — and for once the team has had fortune flowing in their favor.

Earlier in the season, the Wizards dealt with injuries to Russell Westbrook, and Thomas Bryant (who will miss the entire year with a torn ACL), as well as being forced to play a borderline G-League lineup because of COVID-19 health and safety protocols. They’re now going against teams with similar troubles, and in un#SoWizards fashion, they’re taking advantage.

So far, they’ve beaten:

  • Boston Celtics — missing Marcus Smart, and playing with Jaylen Tatum still not fully recovered from effects of having COVID-19
  • Houston Rockets — missing Christian Wood (their best player) and Victor Oladipo
  • Denver Nuggets — just getting back Gary Harris recovering from an injury (he’s back out now), and playing a road-road back-to-back after a tough loss to the Celtics.
  • Portland Trail Blazers — missing CJ McCollum (who was playing at a borderline MVP level before he got hurt), Jusuf Nurkic, and Zach Collins.

None of this is to diminish what Washington has done. During the win streak, they’ve been better on both ends of the floor, which is a potentially encouraging sign. And, let’s be real — this is a franchise that’s run into similarly depleted opponents in the past and still found ways to lose. The traditional #SoWizards record against four consecutive opponents missing key guys would have been 1-3 or 2-2.

Last night’s game provides a template for how the team can continue winning some games the rest of the season. Bradley Beal scored. Westbrook shot less frequently and set up teammates. Robin Lopez clogged the middle. The rest of the roster chipped in just enough to get the team over the top.

I’d still like to see Westbrook improve his shot selection and cut down on the turnovers. I want Beal to do more playmaking. And, they’re going to need other players to find ways to be productive more consistently. For now, they’re good enough for a four-game win streak, and they get to face the Los Angeles Lakers without Anthony Davis next.

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.

Four Factors: Wizards at Trail Blazers

EFG 0.451 0.539
OREB 17 12
TOV 12 17
FTM 18 22
PACE 106
ORTG 105 111

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 35 78 201 8
Russell Westbrook 37 83 177 2
Robin Lopez 28 61 174 25
Rui Hachimura 37 82 92 11
Raul Neto 24 53 70 2
Moritz Wagner 11 24 106 -8
Garrison Mathews 12 28 103 -9
Alex Len 5 12 113 -8
Deni Avdija 11 25 45 -4
Davis Bertans 34 75 -7 11
Isaac Bonga 5 11 -121 5

Trail Blazers PPA

Damian Lillard 39 86 195 4
Enes Kanter 34 75 190 -7
Robert Covington 35 78 139 -5
Derrick Jones 31 68 132 -18
Gary Trent 39 86 45 -15
Nassir Little 5 11 31 8
Carmelo Anthony 25 54 -43 2
Anfernee Simons 16 35 -102 -10
Rodney Hood 17 38 -124 6