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Robin Lopez and Russell Westbrook lead the Wizards to a second straight win

The veterans come through in Washington’s game against the Golden State Warriors on Friday.

Washington Wizards v Golden State Warriors
Washington Wizards center Robin Lopez punished the Golden State Warriors with hooks.
Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

The WashingtonWizards won a somewhat strange yet thoroughly entertaining game against the Golden State Warriors last night. It was Washington’s second straight victory, and probably their last until they visit the Sacramento Kings next Wednesday.

As is their modus operandi, the Wizards built an early lead behind some hot shooting from Rui Hachimura (opened the game 5-of-5 from the floor) and lots of hooks from Robin Lopez, and then watched it erode. In a break from their norm, they pulled together and made just enough plays to win it with a final seconds four-point play from Bradley Beal.

The win was fueled by Lopez — 20 points on 14 shots, plus 8 rebounds (4 on the offensive glass) — and Westbrook, who had yet another triple-double (19 points, 14 rebounds, 14 assists). For Westbrook, the volume of positives was enough to offset 6 turnovers. Alex Len chipped in 15 points and 5 rebounds in 20 minutes.

Beal had a bad game overall (just 7-of-16 shooting, 1-of-5 from three, and 6 turnovers), but came through with the four-point play to secure the win.

After that hot start, Hachimura cooled considerably — he was just 4-11 the rest of the way. As I wrote a week ago, the narrative of an improving Hachimura has sped past his on-court production. His shooting for the night was fine, but he had just 5 rebounds in 38 minutes, with 1 assist, no steals or blocks, and 3 turnovers.

I spent much of the night focusing on his defense, and he made abundant mistakes. The Warriors put him in help situations several times and his recognition and reaction time was really bad. I didn’t track data in this game, but the problems popped on close watch. In addition to being borderline clueless as a team defender, he failed repeatedly to execute the team’s force rules for penetration.

I’ll keep a close watch in the coming games because one game is too small a sample to reach a conclusion. Some of the better defensive metrics have swung slightly in his favor (in ESPN’s defensive Real Plus/Minus, for example, he’s moved from 82nd among PFs to 79th, and the team’s defensive rating is the same whether he’s on or off the court) so it bares more watching and analysis. Last night may have just been a bad game.

The strange part of the game was that the Wizards managed to win at all. As I’ve written many times, the team that shoots best wins 78% of the time in the NBA. The Warriors shot better and committed fewer turnovers, and Washington still won. That’s because they got more offensive rebounds made more free throws.

Lopez led the team with 4 offensive rebounds. Westbrook and Len had 2 each.

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 Warriors

EFG 0.528 0.511
OREB 8 11
TOV 13 18
FTM 14 19
PACE 103
ORTG 104 107

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.

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

Robin Lopez 27 58 235 7
Russell Westbrook 37 80 156 1
Alex Len 20 43 245 -2
Rui Hachimura 38 81 78 13
Raul Neto 7 15 253 7
Bradley Beal 30 64 5 1
Deni Avdija 21 46 -8 -13
Davis Bertans 27 58 -19 4
Garrison Mathews 13 28 -44 -3
Ish Smith 19 41 -70 0

Warriors PPA

Kelly Oubre Jr. 37 78 216 -13
Stephen Curry 35 75 217 -16
Andrew Wiggins 36 76 169 12
Damion Lee 15 32 363 2
James Wiseman 23 50 164 4
Draymond Green 33 71 57 -7
Kent Bazemore 28 60 61 2
Kevon Looney 19 41 -158 -6
Jordan Poole 15 32 -275 7