Both teams seemed intent on giving away a victory late. In the end, the Denver Nuggets gave a little more, and the Wizards emerged with their sixth win in seven games.
Presented with three good choices in the final play — pull up from three for the win, go to the rim for a layup to send the game into overtime, or pass to Michael Porter Jr. for a corner three — Nuggets guard Jamal Murray instead passed to Facundo Campazzo, who bricked the three.
Of course, Campazzo and Porter could have cut to the rim instead of spacing to the three-point line. Had Porter gone to the rim instead of the corner, he’d have gotten a wide-open dunk because Bradley Beal, Washington’s only defender of the 3-on-1 break, was racing to Murray.
Semi-jokes about the Nuggets giving the game away aside, this was a good win for the Wizards. Denver is a good team that had its stars, as well as some solid role players. Washington got contributions up and down the roster, which was enough to overcome excellent games from Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray.
Raul Neto had a big game off the bench — 15 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, and 5 steals. The Nuggets couldn’t keep him out of the lane, and his offensive aggressiveness and defensive peskiness were key parts of the win.
Beal had one of those Beal games — 33 points on 19 field goal attempts, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and just 2 turnovers. While leading the Wizards’ offense, Beal accounted for just 9 zero-point possessions.
Russell Westbrook had another triple-double — 16 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, and 3 steals — but he shot just 6-17 and committed 5 turnovers.
Rui Hachimura had a solid offensive game — 20 points on 9-16 shooting with a made three — though his long-range shooting form continues to concern me.
Scott Brooks did a good job of divvying up center minutes last night. Mortiz Wagner got the start, and Brooks left him in long enough to get schooled by Jokic, but not long enough to lose the game. Robin Lopez wasn’t great, but his size and experience at least kept Jokic from overpowering the Wizards inside.
With Davis Bertans out of action, Troy Brown Jr. made a rare appearance. He grabbed 4 rebounds in 16 minutes and shot 2-5 from the floor (no threes). He ended up with a negative PPA because of the subpar shooting and 2 fouls, but probably did enough to warrant another opportunity if Bertans has to miss more time.
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 Nuggets
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.
|Troy Brown Jr.||16||33||-19||3|