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Loss to Celtics leaves Wizards with a “win-or-go-home” matchup with the Pacers

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2021 Play-In Tournament - Wizards v Celtics
Wizards guard Ish Smith.
Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

So, the Wizards have a game Thursday against the Indiana Pacers — a true “win or go home matchup.” Winner gets the 8th seed and a best-of-seven series against the Philadelphia 76ers. Loser gets a lottery pick and a no-expenses paid trip to the Caribbean island of their choice.

In Washington’s biggest game of the season — after six weeks of the best play the franchise has seen in years — they came out and had their worst game in weeks. Nearly everyone was bad.

The exceptions:

  • Ish Smith — 17 points on 6-8 shooting from the floor, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 block in 26 minutes. His total production was worth 41 of the Wizards’ 100 points on the scoreboard.
  • Russell Westbrook — 20 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks. It wasn’t the All-NBA level performance Westbrook has been turning in lately — he shot just 6-18 from the floor and committed 4 turnovers and 5 fouls — but it was still worth 26 points on the scoreboard.
  • Daniel Gafford — 12 points on 7 shots with 5 rebounds and 2 blocks in 21 minutes. The problem: 4 fouls, which kept him from getting more playing time. His performance was worth 17 points, according to my Scoreboard Impact Rating.

No other Washington player cracked double digits in value of production. Bradley Beal, still dealing with a hamstring injury, needed 25 shots to score 22 points. He added 9 rebounds, 8 assists and a couple blocks but the offensive inefficiency was a major drag on the Wizards’ ability to score.

Rui Hachimura made 4-of-5 shots for 8 points in 17 minutes, but also had 2 turnovers and 5 fouls. Davis Bertans was 0-7 from three-point range and managed just 1 rebound in 33 minutes of playing time.

The Wizards got effectively nothing from their other two starters, Alex Len and Raul Neto.

After a rough start, Boston’s Jayson Tatum torched the Wizards, and every coverage variation they threw at thim. He finished the night with 50 points (and a 137 offensive rating) with 8 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal, and 2 blocks.

That’s a superstar game for a team missing its second-best player, Jaylen Brown, and which lost its starting center Robert Williams III to injury when he landed on Tatum’s leg.

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.

Wizards at Celtics

FOUR FACTORS CELTICS WIZARDS
FOUR FACTORS CELTICS WIZARDS
EFG 0.474 0.451
OREB 14 13
TOV 10 15
FTM 27 17
PACE 103
ORTG 115 97

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 +/-
Ish Smith 26 56 17 150 19.6% 41 5
Russell Westbrook 37 79 20 99 30.7% 26 -19
Daniel Gafford 21 44 12 150 15.8% 17 -9
Bradley Beal 36 76 22 86 32.8% 6 -20
Anthony Gill 2 4 2 198 18.5% 4 2
Garrison Mathews 12 26 3 151 5.8% 4 1
Cassius Winston 2 4 0 98 31.0% 2 2
Rui Hachimura 17 36 8 109 17.3% 1 -9
Robin Lopez 16 34 5 86 14.0% 0 6
Chandler Hutchison 10 22 0 99 6.9% 0 3
Alex Len 12 25 5 68 35.5% 0 -15
Raul Neto 17 37 0 16 10.4% 0 -14
Davis Bertans 33 70 4 51 10.0% 0 -23

Celtics SIR & ORTG

CELTICS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG SIR +/-
CELTICS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG SIR +/-
Jayson Tatum 41 87 50 137 38.8% 51 25
Kemba Walker 34 73 29 118 29.6% 25 17
Tristan Thompson 30 63 12 110 21.8% 11 15
Robert Williams III 14 30 4 231 6.0% 10 8
Marcus Smart 35 75 7 110 11.0% 9 23
Romeo Langford 14 30 3 174 6.0% 4 4
Aaron Nesmith 14 29 3 71 14.1% 3 -4
Grant Williams 2 4 0 255 5.9% 2 -2
Luke Kornet 4 9 0 255 2.7% 2 -5
Carsen Edwards 2 4 2 104 34.8% 1 -2
Evan Fournier 36 77 8 83 14.4% 0 20
Payton Pritchard 5 10 0 0 7.3% 0 -1
Tremont Waters 2 4.1 0 0 17.4% 0 -2
Semi Ojeleye 8 18 0 0 8.0% 0 -6