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Wizards snap four-game losing streak with win against Magic

Westbrook posts his 20th triple-double of the season in the victory.

Washington Wizards v Orlando Magic
Wizards guard Russell Westbrook posted another triple-double in Washington’s victory against the Orlando Magic.
Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images

The Wizards snapped a four-game losing streak with a comfortable 131-116 win over the Orlando Magic. Neither team played much defense — Washington had 19 made threes (one shy of the franchise record) and had an effective field goal percentage of .688.

The team had a 21-point lead in the third quarter, let the Magic narrow the margin to as little as four, and then straightened up and finished off the win. The lack of defense helped several Wizards and a couple Magic look like all-stars.

This won’t register as Russell Westbrook’s best game with the Wizards, but it felt the most realistically sustainable. It was another triple-double (23 points, 14 rebounds, 15 assists). But he took just 11 field goal attempts in 38 minutes (made 8), including 3-3 from three-point range. He won’t be perfect from long range regularly, but largely eschewed his pattern of taking long twos early in the shot clock, choosing instead to attack the paint and set up teammates.

Bradley Beal had an excellent scoring night in his first game back from the hip contusion. He had 26 points on 19 field goal attempts (4-6 from three) and didn’t attempt a free throw.

Davis Bertans made threes (6-11), Deni Avdija had himself a game (19 points on 10 field goal attempts), and Robin Lopez scored easily inside (9-11 from the floor). Ish Smith handed out 7 assists in 14 minutes.

The rest of the team was meh, but good production from six players, plus not awful from a couple others is enough to win some games.

I know some fans are irked at the team winning. They’d rather see losses to increase the team’s chances of getting a high draft pick. I get it — the best thing for the future is to get a talent infusion. But, the Wizards aren’t tanking. They’re still fighting for 10th so they can at least get a play-in game. If you think that’s a fool’s errand, you’re not alone. That’s what they’re doing, though.

Last night, they were helped in their quest by an Orlando team that was in roughly the same spot in the standings but decided to dump the season and start preparing for the future. At the trade deadline, the Magic dealt All-Star center Nikola Vucevic, the athletic (though somewhat disappointing) Aaron Gordon, and shooting guard Evan Fournier. All three were starters, and though the team wasn’t much good, they were among their most productive players.

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 Magic

EFG 0.538 0.688
OREB 11 5
TOV 11 13
FTM 16 14
PACE 100
ORTG 116 131

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

Russell Westbrook 38 79 276 13
Bradley Beal 30 63 270 18
Deni Avdija 30 61 200 19
Davis Bertans 20 41 279 11
Robin Lopez 29 60 127 14
Ish Smith 14 28 176 -2
Rui Hachimura 30 63 71 12
Garrison Mathews 15 31 85 -6
Raul Neto 12 26 81 -1
Cassius Winston 2 4 0 -2
Isaac Bonga 2 4 -336 -2
Anthony Gill 4 7 -237 -5
Alex Len 16 32 -55 6

Magic PPA

Michael Carter-Williams 21 43 313 -8
Mo Bamba 25 52 204 2
Terrence Ross 30 63 148 -16
Wendell Carter Jr. 23 48 134 -17
R.J. Hampton 28 57 102 -8
Cole Anthony 26 53 57 -9
Chasson Randle 2 4 0 2
Devin Cannady 2 4 -51 2
Khem Birch 16 34 -22 10
Chuma Okeke 32 66 -13 -23
Dwayne Bacon 18 38 -25 -6
James Ennis III 18 38 -44 -4