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Wizards blow a 17-point lead and lose to the Knicks

Let’s review the stats behind last night’s close game.

Washington Wizards v New York Knicks
The first dunk of Garrison Mathews career with the Wizards.
Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

If you want “bright side” this game, the Wizards led most of the way — by as much as 17 in the third quarter. If you want to get all technical and be a rotten-souled pessimist, you might note that the Wizards blew that 17-point lead and lost to the New York Knicks by four.

Which do you wanna be? A bright side optimist or a rotten-souled pessimist?

If you’re like me, you’re picking Door Number Three — semi-sober realist. The Wizards built a big lead because the Knicks played the first two-and-a-half quarters like they could barely be bothered. They were that pickup team that lets you get out to 7-3 lead because they know they’ll get serious later and win 11-9.

Not everyone from the Wizards played poorly. Garrison Mathews shot well and took some charges. Rui Hachimura was...okay — 21 points on 16 shots and 9 rebounds in 41 minutes. Raul Neto and Robin Lopez were productive in relatively short stints.

Bradley Beal: bad. He shot 8-23 from the floor and committed 6 turnovers and 5 fouls.

Russell Westbrook: terrible. In a sense, Westbrook’s performance was something special — he had 18 rebounds and 9 assists, and it was an awful game because he was 3-15 from the floor, 7-12 from the free throw line, and he committed 8 turnovers (again) and fouled out.

Want to know why the Wizards lost, look to their stars, both of whom were awful.

What kept the Wizards in the game was that the Knicks weren’t much better. Julius Randle was 5-16 from the floor. RJ Barrett was 7-22. Alec Burks, who elicited raves from Knicks broadcaster Mike Breen, was 8-18.

For the game, the Knicks had an effective field goal percentage of .403. And. They. Won.

As I’ve written a gazillion times, the team that shoots better wins nearly 80% of the time in the NBA. Last night, the Wizards outshot the Knicks .513 to .403 and lost because they got bludgeoned on the offensive glass (18-8), they committed more turnovers (17-13), and they lost the free throw battle (31-20).

In other news, the Wizards traded Troy Brown Jr. and Moritz Wagner to the Chicago Bulls for Daniel Gafford and Chandler Hutchinson. The trade is...fine. Brown wasn’t playing and they didn’t want Wagner. They might as well take a look at Gafford and Hutchinson, who aren’t Wagner or Brown.

Gafford’s been reasonably productive with a PPA of 75 in his rookie year and a 121 so far this season in limited playing time. He’s generally listed as a PF, but he’s a center.

Hutchinson has been thoroughly meh. His PPA for each of the past three seasons: 53, 68, -36.

The trade is fine in the sense that they traded players they didn’t want for players they might possibly want. Gafford looks like a decent prospect, at least.

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 Knicks

EFG 0.403 0.513
OREB 18 8
TOV 13 17
FTM 31 20
PACE 103
ORTG 103 99

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

Garrison Mathews 35 76 227
Rui Hachimura 41 89 119
Raul Neto 16 35 243
Robin Lopez 25 55 120
Alex Len 23 49 83
Bradley Beal 39 85 -13
Isaac Bonga 8 18 -146
Russell Westbrook 40 87 -59
Deni Avdija 11 23 -279

Knicks PPA

Taj Gibson 27 58 185 18
Alec Burks 34 73 113 17
Immanuel Quickley 26 56 119 14
RJ Barrett 42 90 67 0
Mitchell Robinson 21 46 127 -14
Obi Toppin 11 24 178 4
Julius Randle 37 79 8 0
Kevin Knox II 6 13 -167 4
Frank Ntilikina 15 33 -127 -8
Elfrid Payton 21 45 -119 -15