Playing without Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans, the Wizards still gave Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks a tough game before losing in the final minutes.
For the Wizards, Rui Hachimura had one of the best games of his career — 29 points on 18 shots, 11 rebounds and 3 steals. He was 0-4 and scoreless in the 4th quarter. Russell Westbrook played a vintage Westbrook game — 42 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists...and 6 turnovers.
Alex Len chipped in with 10 points and 6 rebounds, which are basically the norm for an NBA center playing 33 minutes. The rest of the roster? Ugh.
While there was some online grousing about the coaching of Scott Brooks from fans disappointed with the outcome, the options without Beal and Bertans were limited, especially with everyone except Hachimura and Westbrook having a bad game.
The only coaching decision I question was running a play with 9.4 seconds left to get Hachimura a three-point attempt. The play worked to perfection — Hachimura used an Avdija screen to shake Giannis and get an open look — but even with the second-year forward having an outstanding game, he remains an unproven three-point shooter.
This is not to say that Brooks and the coaching staff were wrong. Hachimura was having one of his better games of the season, the team executed the play perfectly, and Hachimura missed. Given how everyone else had played, the only other realistic option was Westbrook.
Overall, the Wizards’ defense last night wasn’t bad. The Bucks had an offensive rating (points per possession x 100) that was right at league average. They were let down by their offense in a game played at a blazing pace (see table below).
Bottom line: while the loss was disappointing, it’s a classic case of getting beat by a better team. The Wizards get another shot at the Bucks on Monday.
By the way, according to PPA (see table below), this was not the best game of the season for either Hachimura or Westbrook. For Hachimura, it’s his third-best single game PPA of the year behind a 249 on February 2 against the Portland Trail Blazers (24 points on 12 field goal attempts), and on December 31 (his first game of the season). In that one, he had 17 points on 8 shots, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists in just 25 minutes.
It was also Westbrook’s third-highest single game PPA score of the season. Tops for him was a 362 on January 31 against the Brooklyn Nets (41 points on 28 FGA, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, and just 3 turnovers). Number two was March 4 against the Los Angeles Clippers — PPA 239 (27 points on 19 shots, 9 rebounds, 11 assists, 4 steals, and just 1 turnover).
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: Bucks at Wizards
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.
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