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Wizards make it 6 wins in 7 games with victory over Nuggets

NBA: Washington Wizards at Denver Nuggets
Washington Wizards guard Raul Neto performed well off the bench in the team’s win over the Denver Nuggets.
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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 Nuggets

EFG 0.524 0.523
OREB 12 10
TOV 18 11
FTM 21 22
ORTG 112 114

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 36 75 186 2
Raul Neto 28 58 235 5
Rui Hachimura 38 78 121 6
Russell Westbrook 37 76 69 1
Garrison Mathews 16 33 160 -7
Robin Lopez 25 51 73 13
Deni Avdija 20 40 70 -2
Moritz Wagner 18 37 49 -9
Troy Brown Jr. 16 33 -19 3
Alex Len 5 10 -58 -2

Nuggets PPA

Nikola Jokic 38 77 193 -2
Jamal Murray 42 85 167 1
Michael Porter 41 83 120 0
Monte Morris 31 64 98 -2
Isaiah Hartenstein 10 21 120 0
Zeke Nnaji 15 30 83 6
Vlatko Cancar 10 20 34 -8
Facundo Campazzo 32 66 -17 -3
Will Barton 22 45 -182 -2