In a game like this one, it’s important to celebrate the small victories. Like keeping the final margin under 30 points. Like not making every Suns player look like an all-time great. Like Raul Neto getting his career high in points. Like Russell Westbrook recording another triple-double. Like being down just two at the half to the second place team in the West...
In some ways, last night’s game was a schedule loss. A back-to-back against the second place team in the West without All-Star Bradley Beal and sharpshooter Davis Bertans. It was an uphill slog from the start and the Wizards kept things interesting in the first half. In the second half, the Suns blew their doors off.
Bright spots for the Wizards:
- Ish Smith was pretty good — 12 points on 8 shots, including 2-2 from three-point range, plus 6 rebounds.
- In his return from an ankle injury, Daniel Gafford was athletic and productive — 9 points, 5 rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block in 17 minutes.
- Neto scored 24 points on 17 shots, which is good (and his career high). He did little else out there — 1 rebound, 1 assist, 2 turnovers and a foul in 29 minutes.
- Westbrook shoot poorly and committed 5 turnovers, but was all over the court grabbing rebounds and handing out assists, as usual. It was a triple-double that rated below average in my PPA metric.
- Anthony Gill finally did some things that looked good in his four minutes.
The Suns are good. Chris Paul is their best player, even at age 35 and they have a 9-deep rotation of guys playing around average or better. They have two All-Star level performers, plus Devin Booker who’s a terrific scorer. (The other All-Star level player is Mikal Bridges, who’s insanely efficient on offense and plays terrific defense.)
Next up for the Wizards is a rematch with the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City. Washington won the first game, and I estimate they have about a 10% chance of winning Monday night against the Jazz.
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 Suns
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.