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Winning streak reaches 4 as Wizards stomp the Pistons

Detroit Pistons v Washington Wizards
Wizards guard Bradley Beal scores. Again.
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The last time the Wizards faced the Pistons, they got smoked 120-91 — probably Washington’s worst loss of the season. They got some revenge last night with a 121-100 beatdown that really wasn’t as close as the score indicates.

While led by the team’s stars, it was truly a team win with contributions from up and down the roster. Quick summary:

  • Bradley Beal — a hyper-efficient 37 points on just 22 field goal attempts.
  • Ish Smith couldn’t miss — 6-8 from the floor, 2-2 from three, plus 5 assists.
  • Russell Westbrook — a bit of everything: 15 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists. He shot 7-17 from the floor, but also committed just 2 turnovers.
  • Deni Avdija — Made 5-6 quality defensive plays and contributed to a good team defense. Knocked down his only shot of the game, a three in the last four minutes of the game.
  • Robin Lopez — Captain Hook! He was tossing them at will. At one point, he got downright disrespectful and tried a lefty hook. It’s probably good he missed. If it connected, he’d have been honor bound to try one with his feet.
  • Daniel Gafford — Like Tigger, he bounces. A lot — 8 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks, 0 turnovers, 2 fouls in 16 minutes.

At that point, performances were...not so good. Alex Len shot 4-4 from the floor, but also committed 3 turnovers in just 7 minutes before turning his ankle and missing the rest of the game.

Isaac Bonga did nothing.

Rui Hachimura was bad (again) before he did something to his knee and had to miss the rest of the game.

The in-game commentary was long on the usual twaddle about Jerami Grant’s breakout season. In truth, he’s the same basically average player he was before signing a lucrative free agent contract with the Pistons.

Grant’s scoring is up because his usage is up. As is the norm, his offensive efficiency has dropped. Rebounds, steals, blocks and fouls are all within career norms per 100 team possessions. His assists are up, but so are his turnovers. His free throw shooting is up, but his two-point and three-point shooting is down. If you’re looking for a “Most Improved Player” candidate, look elsewhere.

What’s fueling the Wizards recent winning binge? Defense.

Washington’s defense is fueling its winning binge.
Kevin Broom

The team’s offensive performance has largely been flat-to-slightly-down the past couple weeks, but the defense is trending in the right direction. Adjusted for the quality of their opponents, Washington entered last night’s game 0.8 points per 100 possessions below average on defense, and 2.9 points worse than average on offense.

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: Pistons at Wizards

EFG 0.494 0.580
OREB 9 10
TOV 18 12
FTM 17 12
PACE 102
ORTG 98 119

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

Bradley Beal 35 74 321 25
Ish Smith 24 51 232 6
Russell Westbrook 30 64 164 14
Deni Avdija 24 50 169 20
Robin Lopez 22 47 175 16
Daniel Gafford 16 34 177 0
Jordan Bell 16 35 119 6
Cassius Winston 3 6 323 0
Raul Neto 23 50 25 9
Alex Len 7 14 46 5
Isaac Bonga 6 12 0 -8
Rui Hachimura 23 49 -31 17
Anthony Gill 3 6 -330 0
Garrison Mathews 8 17 -174 -5

Pistons PPA

Isaiah Stewart 24 52 204 -9
Frank Jackson 26 56 156 -10
Saben Lee 15 32 150 -8
Cory Joseph 33 70 58 -13
Wayne Ellington 17 37 107 3
Tyler Cook 15 32 104 -12
Mason Plumlee 16 35 19 -10
Saddiq Bey 24 51 -13 -18
Deividas Sirvydis 3 5 -321 -2
Jerami Grant 30 63 -34 -4
Josh Jackson 29 62 -39 -20
Jahlil Okafor 7 15 -160 -2