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By the Numbers: Inside the Wizards’ 5-game winning streak

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Washington Wizards v Los Angeles Clippers
Bradley Beal’s efficient volume scoring fueled the Washington Wizards five-game winning streak.
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Last night’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers ends the Wizards’ five-game winning streak. A victory against the Clippers was improbable from the start. Los Angeles was healthy, has two of the game’s most productive players, and Washington was on a back-to-back with a tough win against LeBron James and the Lakers the previous night.

The Wizards still made a game of it, but the Clippers were too good, and Washington too tired for the Wizards to finish the comeback. That’s enough about last night’s game. Now that it’s over, let’s take a look at the winning streak.

Stats and Observations from the Five-Game Winning Streak

  • Offensive rating: 113.3 — would rank about 10th for the full season (Washington ranks 22nd for the full season)
  • Defensive rating: 106.4 — would rank 2nd for the full season (27th)

So, good offense and excellent defense during the winning tear.

Four Factors from the streak and where the team’s performance would rank if they posted the same numbers over the full season (Wizards full season ranking is in parentheses):

  • efg: .541 — 13th (24th)
  • defensive efg: .506 — 3rd (25th)
  • turnover%: 12.9% — 19th (9th)
  • dtov%: 12.7% — 15th (15th)
  • offensive rebound%: 21.3% — 19th (20th)
  • defensive rebound%: 76.7% — 24th (16th)
  • FTM/FGA: .285 — 1st (3rd)
  • dFTM/dFGA: .181 — 7th (29th)

So, during the streak the Wizards were significantly better on both ends of the floor than they’ve been the rest of the year. As I’ve written a gazillion times, defense in the NBA is mostly about making the other team miss. The Wizards did a good job of that during the win streak, and also cut back on the rampant fouling, which gave opponents lots of trips to the free throw line.

It’s a potentially good sign that Washington defended effectively without fouling.

Don’t get too worried about the offensive turnover percentage ticking up. Their tov% for the season is 12.2%. It went to 12.9% during the streak, which is insignificant. Their ranking fell so much because there isn’t much variation among teams in that category.

Individual Stats

Below are some numbers for key Wizards during the streak. If I get more time later (unlikely), I’ll try to run PPA for just the streak.

  • Bradley Beal — 33.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 2.0 steals, 4.4 turnovers per game. Beal had an offensive rating (individual points producer per 100 individual possessions) of 116 on a usage rate of 34.0%. Efg: .584. These are impressive numbers.
  • Russell Westbrook — 20.0 points, 12.0 rebounds, 12.0 assists, 5.0 turnovers. Ortg: 98 with a usage rate of 30.5%. Westbrook is at the extremes of activity, but the offensive inefficiency and high usage drags down the offense. During the streak, his efg was just .439.
  • Davis Bertans — 15.0 points, 4.4 rebounds, 52.6% from three-point range. Ortg: 140 (!). Usg: 14.4%.
  • Rui Hachimura — 14.8 points, 6.0 rebounds. Ortg: 127. Usg: 15.9%. Efg: .542. Efficient offense with some good defensive moments during the streak for the second-year forward.
  • Robin Lopez — 10.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.2 offensive rebounds. Ortg: 126. Usg: 15.7%. Lopez is slow and awkward, but was effective in the middle.

Those are the major drivers of the team’s winning streak. Moritz Wagner and Garrison Mathews started each of the games, but generally didn’t play much. Raul Neto was solid off the bench. Deni Avdija struggled through most of the streak, but came through with some clutch production in the fourth quarter against the Lakers.

When I call Washington’s win streak “improbable,” here’s what I mean: according to my prognostication spreadsheet, the Wizards were underdogs in all five games, and significant underdogs in four of the five. I estimate the odds of them winning all five at 0.3%.

Looking Ahead

Washington still has a challenging schedule to finish out the first half of the season. Here’s what I have as their estimated chance of winning the next five:

If they can win two of these to finish off the first half, they’ll have done well.

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.

PACE is possessions per 48 minutes.

Four Factors: Wizards at Clippers

FOUR FACTORS CLIPPERS WIZARDS
FOUR FACTORS CLIPPERS WIZARDS
EFG 0.676 0.597
OREB 7 6
TOV 10 13
FTM 8 11
PACE 101
ORTG 134 115

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

WIZARDS MIN POSS PPA +/-
WIZARDS MIN POSS PPA +/-
Moritz Wagner 25 53 188 -3
Bradley Beal 39 82 124 -5
Russell Westbrook 34 72 114 -26
Garrison Mathews 18 39 172 -11
Raul Neto 20 42 145 -7
Rui Hachimura 36 77 69 -6
Isaac Bonga 7 15 265 6
Troy Brown Jr. 4 8 323 1
Robin Lopez 17 36 -18 -16
Davis Bertans 26 55 -22 -15
Deni Avdija 12 24 -233 -13

Clippers PPA

CLIPPERS MIN POSS PPA +/-
CLIPPERS MIN POSS PPA +/-
Kawhi Leonard 34 72 285 8
Paul George 29 61 317 21
Ivica Zubac 27 56 198 20
Reggie Jackson 28 59 177 18
Terance Mann 20 42 140 6
Marcus Morris 23 48 83 16
Nicolas Batum 24 51 70 -1
Mfiondu Kabengele 4 8 446 -1
Serge Ibaka 20 41 56 4
Patrick Beverly 20 42 -2 2
Luke Kennard 11 23 -65 2