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Russell Westbrook leads Wizards to victory with volume and efficiency

Washington Wizards v Utah Jazz
Wizards guard Russell Westbrook draws a foul.
Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Russell Westbrook was great, and the Wizards got decent contributions from up and down the roster to pull off their second shocking upset of the league-best Utah Jazz this season.

Westbrook was sensational with yet another triple-double — 25 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists. He shot 8-15 from the floor and 9-11 from the free throw line. And he committed 3 turnovers in 39 minutes and 81 possessions. At 6-3 and age 32, Westbrook was the game’s leading rebounder — Utah’s Rudy Gobert (7-1) and Royce O’Neal (6-6) grabbed 12 each.

While there was much chatter on social media about the Wizards defense, the truth is their defense wasn’t much good outside a few minutes in fourth quarter. And, neither was Utah’s. Washington shot a scorching .572 efg. The Jazz were about the same at .571. Rebounding was about the same, and Utah had a slight edge at the free throw line. The Wizards won because Utah committed twice as many turnovers (14-7).

Before getting too pumped about the Wizards forcing turnovers, consider that the Jazz entered the game averaging 13.9 turnovers per 100 possessions. The game included 101 possessions. On average, Wizards opponents commit 13.8 turnovers per 100 possessions. In other words, Utah’s turnovers were normal for both teams.

Overall, both teams had a fairly easy time scoring. Washington’s offensive rating (points scored per possession x 100) was 124. Utah’s was 120. League average is 112.

The Wizards’ biggest lead of the night was 19 mid-way through the fourth quarter. The Jazz rallied to make it interesting — something Beal helped by missing a pair of free throws up 4 with 19.2 seconds left in the game. Donovan Mitchell countered with a layup for Utah, and the game seemed primed for a #SoWizards conclusion.

Instead, Beal redeemed himself with a pair of free throws and Bojan Bogdanovic missed a three. Of course, all that was unnecessary because Westbrook hit a 20-foot jumper with 31 seconds left and yelled, “That’s game!”

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 Jazz

EFG 0.571 0.572
OREB 9 8
TOV 14 7
FTM 24 22
PACE 101
ORTG 120 124

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

Russell Westbrook 39 81 240 10
Bradley Beal 37 77 131 -12
Davis Bertans 26 55 136 5
Raul Neto 15 32 209 9
Daniel Gafford 18 37 166 1
Isaac Bonga 9 19 233 5
Ish Smith 17 37 112 6
Robin Lopez 14 30 108 10
Alex Len 16 33 35 -5
Garrison Mathews 10 20 48 0
Deni Avdija 10 21 -69 -5
Rui Hachimura 30 63 -31 -4

Jazz PPA

Bojan Bogdanovic 36 75 199 7
Donovan Mitchell 39 81 138 8
Rudy Gobert 33 70 69 1
Joe Ingles 31 64 64 -2
Royce O'Neal 37 79 48 14
Miye Oni 15 31 111 -15
Georges Niang 16 33 85 -12
Derrick Favors 15 31 33 -5
Matt Thomas 7 16 -104 -9
Trent Forrest 12 25 -114 -7