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Recap: Spurs end Wizards 8-game winning streak in overtime thriller

San Antonio Spurs v Washington Wizards
Wizards guard Bradley Beal scored 45 on the Spurs, but Washington’s winning streak ended at 8.
Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The Wizards win streak ends at eight with a 146-143 overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs. This was a wildly entertaining game replete with offensive pyrotechnics, but few threes, clutch plays and clutch bungles, weird calls from the refs, and the requisite baffling lineup decisions from Scott Brooks.

The game was close from start to finish. Washington’s biggest lead was 9 (early in the fourth quarter); San Antonio’s was 7 (in the 2nd quarter). The longest scoring run from either team was 11 points. The game was tied 20 times and there were 31 lead changes. And it was way more fun to watch than those numbers convey.

The ineffective defense from both teams was not from lack of effort. They tried, and they failed. In many ways, this reminded me of a 1980s game. Both teams attacked off the dribble and hit midrange jumpers. In an overtime game with 103 field goal attempts, the Spurs were just 6-17 from three-point range. With 120 field goal attempts, the Wizards were 6-20 from deep.

The teams produced outrageous offensive efficiency by avoiding turnovers (8 for the Wizards and 6 for the Spurs), making their two-point shots, and grabbing offensive rebounds (18 for the Wizards, 13 for the Spurs).

The biggest thing that kept it from feeling like a true throwback game: no postups for seven-footers.

Beal had a terrific scoring night — 45 points without a made three and just 5 free throws. It was impressive despite his .541 effective field goal percentage being below what the Wizards and Spurs shot for the game (.560 and .563). Beal’s zero turnovers made this an efficient night — just 13 zero-point possessions.

He got some help from Alex Len (17 points, 10 rebounds in just 23 minutes), and Rui Hachimura (13 points on 7 shots in 32 minutes) and some timely threes from Davis Bertans.

The Spurs had a good game plan for Bertans, which seemed primarily to be instructions for his defender not to help.

The story of the first half was Anthony Gill. Pressed into action because of foul trouble for Len and Daniel Gafford, Gill went 6-7 from the floor (including a 3) for 13 points, 3 rebounds, a steal and a block in just 14 minutes. Naturally, after playing so well, Brooks started him in the second half and gave him lots of minutes to build, of course not. Gill inexplicably did not take the floor again.

No, I don’t know why either.

Westbrook had another triple-double but in truth, it was a crappy game. He tallied 22 points, 13 rebounds, 14 assists, but he also shot just 9-26 from the floor and committed 6 turnovers. In a game where both teams had efgs above 56%, Westbrook shot 34.6%. The Spurs had 6 turnovers for the game. So did Westbrook.

He’s been on a tear of quality play for the past several weeks, but the past few games have been subpar. Tonight, Westbrook’s offensive inefficiency likely cost the Wizards their 9th straight win.

Washington has a chance to start a new winning streak Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Lakers.

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: Spurs at Wizards

EFG 0.563 0.560
OREB 13 18
TOV 6 8
FTM 30 21
ORTG 134 131

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 42 85 150 -1
Alex Len 23 48 244 6
Rui Hachimura 32 65 148 6
Davis Bertans 34 71 113 -9
Anthony Gill 14 29 248 2
Ish Smith 26 53 85 3
Russell Westbrook 42 87 46 -11
Raul Neto 25 51 77 2
Daniel Gafford 15 31 30 -9
Garrison Mathews 12 24 -79 -4

Spurs PPA

Dejounte Murray 42 86 184 -5
DeMar DeRozan 41 84 175 5
Keldon Johnson 38 78 160 1
Patty Mills 32 66 92 2
Rudy Gay 20 42 142 9
Gorgui Dieng 8 17 246 2
Drew Eubanks 18 37 83 4
Derrick White 19 39 78 0
Jakob Poeltl 26 54 48 -5
Devin Vassell 0 1 0 -3
Lonnie Walker IV 20 41 -48 5