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Loss to Grizzlies underscores how much the Wizards rely on Beal

Memphis Grizzlies v Washington Wizards
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal had a subpar game against the Memphis Grizzlies, and the Wizards offense fell apart.
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

In their loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, the Wizards got to see what happens when Bradley Beal has an off game. The Grizzlies had a physical game plan predicated on making Beal work to get the ball, and then attacking him with multiple defenders when he made a move.

They also were ready for Washington’s array of pindowns and screen actions that typically spring Davis Bertans for open threes.

The result? Beal shot 8-18 from the floor and committed 6 turnovers, Bertans got just 6 field goal attempts in 28 minutes, and the Wizards offense staggered and wheezed to a 104 offensive rating (points scored per possession x 100).

Despite Beal’s subpar shooting, the Wizards had a good shooting night overall (.574 effective field goal percentage). Their offense was undone by turnovers — Beal’s 6, Russell Westbrook’s 8, Raul Neto with 3, and Deni Avdija with 2.

Contrary to some in-game arguments from fans, video review shows Westbrook’s turnovers were not due to teammates failing to catch easy passes. One turnover hit Robin Lopez in the hands, but it was a preposterous pass to attempt — high and barely reachable for the 7-footer, who was surrounded by defenders.

After sticking with a consistent rotation for the past few weeks, Wizards coach Scott Brooks was back to changing lineups in an effort to find a spark. He started the second half by benching Moritz Wagner and Garrison Mathews for Lopez and Isaac Bonga.

Deni Avdija got significant minutes and played his best game since that 4th quarter against the Lakers.

The Wizards’ best playmaker was Westbrook, who scored 23 points on 16 field goal attempts and produced 15 assists. But those 8 turnovers undermined a lot of the good that he did.

On defense, Washington seemed to have no plan for Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, who penetrated at will en route to scoring 35 points on 18 field goal attempts, and notching 10 assists. Overall, Memphis scored efficiently throughout the night fueled by Morant’s all-around derring-do, and De’Anthony Melton’s 6-10 shooting from three-point range.

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: Grizzlies at Wizards

EFG 0.563 0.574
OREB 9 4
TOV 11 22
FTM 18 18
PACE 107
ORTG 117 104

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

Russell Westbrook 36 79 111 -4
Robin Lopez 14 31 234 -14
Deni Avdija 26 57 91 6
Garrison Mathews 9 20 184 -1
Davis Bertans 28 63 59 3
Alex Len 19 43 79 10
Bradley Beal 36 79 35 -25
Moritz Wagner 11 25 78 -7
Anthony Gill 1 3 241 -1
Rui Hachimura 25 56 1 -26
Troy Brown Jr. 1 3 0 -1
Isaac Bonga 10 22 -14 -11
Raul Neto 24 54 -15 1

Grizzlies PPA

Ja Morant 33 74 291 21
De'Anthony Melton 26 59 359 14
Brandon Clarke 34 76 207 28
Dillon Brooks 31 70 105 25
Desmond Bane 22 48 130 -9
Jonas Valanciunas 29 64 60 -7
Justise Winslow 21 47 62 1
Xavier Tillman 17 37 39 16
Tyus Jones 15 33 -36 -5
Killian Tillie 12 27 -98 -14