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Wizards lose game 1 to 76ers

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Washington Wizards v Philadelphia 76ers - Game One Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Ultimately, game one of the Wizards vs. Philadelphia 76ers series is about what could have been expected. Washington didn’t play badly, and Philly didn’t play great, but the 76ers were the better team all season, and it showed.

Washington’s plan against Joel Embiid could use some revision. He finished the game with 30 points and committed 5 turnovers along the way. The focus on Embiid left ample openings for Tobias Harris (37 points), Danny Green (11 points on 6 shots), and Seth Curry (15 points on 13 shots).

Ben Simmons shot just 3-9 from the floor and 0-6 from the free throw line, but was still an above average contributor to the Philly win with 15 rebounds (8 on the offensive glass), 15 assists and just 2 turnovers.

The Wizards outshot Philadelphia (.602 effective field goal percentage to .548) but allowed 13 offensive rebounds, committed 15 turnovers, and were outshot from the free throw line 23-12. Washington’s hydra center approach combined for 12 fouls and gave Embiid 13 trips to the free throw line (he made 12).

For the Wizards, Bradley Beal was good despite subpar efficiency in tallying 33 points. He also had 6 assists and 10 rebounds. The assists were undermined by 6 turnovers.

Daniel Gafford was good — 12 points on 6 shots and 6 rebounds (2 offensive), but he committed 5 fouls in just 20 minutes.

Davis Bertans made threes (4-8), grabbed 5 defensive boards and gave a solid effort on defense.

That was about it for Wizards positives.

Russell Westbrook looked nervous in his playoffs debut for the Wizards. He totaled 16 points, 5 rebounds, 14 assists but shot just 7-17 and committed 6 turnovers.

Beal and Westbrook had 12 turnovers between them. The 76ers had 11.

What can the Wizards do to beat Philadelphia?

  1. Not a lot, probably. I don’t think Washington will get swept, but Philly has been a good team all season. They have three guys as (or more) productive as the Wizards’ two best players (Beal and Westbrook).
  2. Revise the defensive plan against Embiid. The Wizards wanted to double the Philly big on post touches with the PF — either Rui Hachimura or Davis Bertans. The theory is good, but neither is an effective defender, both took too long to arrive, and the tactic became predictable. Film review suggests they had success defending Embiid one-on-one.
  3. Focus on defense — the offense will take care of itself. Yesterday, Beal and Westbrook used 55 of the team’s 102 offensive possessions. Both posted below average efficiency. Don’t worry about it. Westbrook will bounce back (he always has), and Beal probably isn’t going to have another 6 turnover game.
  4. Resist any urge to expand the rotation. The only exception I’d consider would be minutes for Anthony Gill in place of Hachimura, Bertans or Neto/Ish Smith, but there’s realistically no way Scott Brooks and the Wizards are going that far out of the box. The roster is flawed, but there are no solutions until the offseason. Roll with the top 9 that got the team this far. I WOULD consider tightening the rotation by dropping Len or Lopez except for foul trouble.

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.

Game 1: Wizards at 76ers

FOUR FACTORS 76ERS WIZARDS
FOUR FACTORS 76ERS WIZARDS
EFG 0.548 0.602
OREB 13 7
TOV 11 15
FTM 23 12
PACE 102
ORTG 122 115

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.

Game 1: Wizards SIR & ORTG

WIZARDS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG SIR +/-
WIZARDS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG SIR +/-
Bradley Beal 41 87 33 111 34.0% 37 -4
Daniel Gafford 20 43 12 206 13.7% 21 14
Davis Bertans 28 60 14 143 13.8% 19 9
Rui Hachimura 36 77 12 149 8.2% 14 -19
Raul Neto 22 46 7 122 12.0% 11 -14
Ish Smith 23 48 6 78 16.0% 8 9
Russell Westbrook 43 91 16 92 27.4% 5 -9
Alex Len 16 35 12 116 26.5% 3 -16
Robin Lopez 12 25 6 119 18.0% 1 -5

Game 1: 76ers SIR & ORTG

76ERS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG SIR +/-
76ERS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG SIR +/-
Tobias Harris 37 79 37 121 31.7% 28 2
Danny Green 31 67 11 171 8.9% 22 15
Ben Simmons 38 81 6 115 20.1% 21 18
Seth Curry 32 69 15 129 14.2% 15 11
Joel Embiid 30 63 30 124 35.2% 11 20
George Hill 18 39 11 158 16.3% 11 -1
Dwight Howard 18 39 7 143 13.2% 7 -13
Tyrese Maxey 7 14 3 223 7.9% 4 -1
Matisse Thybulle 14 29 0 37 5.6% 4 -5
Shake Milton 10 21 5 119 20.3% 3 -14
Furkan Korkmaz 5 10 0 0 20.4% 0 3