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Westbrook leads Wizards from Eastern Conference basement to 8th place finish

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Charlotte Hornets v Washington Wizards Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Another outstanding game from Russell Westbrook, quality performances from Ish Smith and Robin Lopez off the bench, and a decent game from Rui Hachimura was enough to the Wizards to dispatch the Charlotte Hornets and lock down 8th place in the Eastern Conference.

They’ll face the injury-riddled Boston Celtics Tuesday night in the NBA’s play-in tournament. If the Wizards win, they’ll earn the 7th seed and a first-round matchup with the Brooklyn Nets. If they lose, they’ll take on the winner of the Indiana Pacers at Charlotte Hornets play-in game. If they win that game, they’ll have the 8th seed and a first-round series with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Got all that?

To secure 8th, Westbrook continued his streak of superb play — 23 points, 15 rebounds, 10 assists against just 3 turnovers. His shooting from the floor was still iffy, but he relentlessly attacks the middle of the defense to get layups, draw fouls (9-12 from the free throw line yesterday) and dish to teammates. His offensive rating for the game was an excellent 122 despite subpar shooting from the floor.

With Bradley Beal struggling a bit in his return from a hamstring injury, Smith picked up the slack admirably — 14 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists and a blocked shot.

Lopez was the unstoppable offensive force in the middle once again — 18 points on 9-11 shooting, plus 6 rebounds (4 from the offensive glass) in 27 minutes.

Hachimura wasn’t bad — 16 points on 12 field goal attempts, including 2-3 from three-point range, and 6 rebounds in 34 minutes.

Perhaps the most eyebrow-raising number of the night appeared in Chandler Hutchison’s stat line. He played 10 minutes — 21 possessions. During his time on the floor, the Wizards were -21.

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: Hornets at Wizards

FOUR FACTORS HORNETS WIZARDS
FOUR FACTORS HORNETS WIZARDS
EFG 0.468 0.538
OREB 10 10
TOV 11 14
FTM 22 17
PACE 103
ORTG 107 111

Scoreboard Impact Rating

Below are Scoreboard Impact Rating (SIR) results from last night’s game. It’s based on my PPA metric, but it shows each player’s TOTAL contribution for the game in terms of points on the scoreboard. This may make more sense for a single game — PPA is a per possession metric, which probably makes more sense over a larger sample size.

Since SIR is based on the PPA metric, it 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). The scale is points.

POSS is the number of possessions each player was on the floor in this game.

PTS = points scored

ORTG = offensive rating, which is points produced per individual possessions x 100. League average this season is 112.3.

USG = offensive usage rate. Average is 20%.

ORTG and USG were created by Dean Oliver and modified slightly by me. ORTG is an efficiency measure that accounts for the value of shooting, offensive rebounds, assists and turnovers. USG includes shooting from the floor and free throw line, offensive rebounds, assists and turnovers.

Wizards SIR & ORTG

WIZARDS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG SIR +/-
WIZARDS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG SIR +/-
Russell Westbrook 40 86 23 122 27.4% 32 9
Ish Smith 32 69 14 137 16.9% 29 15
Robin Lopez 27 57 18 144 20.9% 25 21
Rui Hachimura 34 74 16 134 12.6% 20 -5
Davis Bertans 27 58 11 119 12.5% 8 -6
Garrison Mathews 8 17 0 - 0.0% 1 14
Alex Len 5 10 0 - 0.0% 0 -5
Anthony Gill 7 15 0 0 7.0% 0 4
Chandler Hutchison 10 21 0 0 3.8% 0 -21
Daniel Gafford 16 35 8 83 25.4% 0 -13
Bradley Beal 35 74 25 86 38.3% 0 12

Hornets SIR & ORTG

HORNETS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG SIR +/-
HORNETS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG SIR +/-
Terry Rozier 37 80 22 125 24.1% 39 13
Devonte' Graham 31 66 15 127 16.3% 18 -6
LaMelo Ball 33 72 19 96 28.2% 15 -2
PJ Washington 30 65 11 106 16.5% 13 2
Jalen McDaniels 28 60 13 130 16.4% 13 0
Cody Zeller 30 64 11 132 14.4% 8 -2
Bismack Biyombo 5 11 2 211 8.9% 5 -9
Miles Bridges 40 85 17 79 21.3% 0 -12
Malik Monk 6 12 0 0 12.2% 0 -9