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Scott Brooks changed the Wizards’ starting lineup for Game 3. The final margin got worse anyway.

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The numbers from the Wizards’ game three loss to the 76ers are ugly.

2021 NBA Playoffs - Philadelphia 76ers v Washington Wizards
Davis Bertans coming up small is a worrisome development for the Wizards.
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Maybe that performance last night from Davis Bertans is why Scott Brooks kept starting Raul Neto.

To recap Bertans’ night in the Wizards’ 29-point game three loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, he scored 8 points in 31 minutes on 2-6 shooting while being primarily defended by Seth Curry, who’s 10 inches shorter.

Oh yeah, the 6-10 Bertans managed zero rebounds, zero assists, one steal and zero blocks.

Throughout his debaculous night, fans repeatedly called for him to be sent to the bench. While I sympathize, I also tried to think of it from the perspective of Scott Brooks. If I’d been in his place, I might well have left Bertans out there for the full 48 minutes as a middle finger to the front office that gave a five-year, $80 million contract to a three-point specialist who does nothing else of value.

Bertans is supposed to be one of the team’s core guys. Not at the level of Russell Westbrook or Bradley Beal but still an essential weapon whose long-range sniping should open things up for teammates. Some of that spacing dimension is still there because he can shoot. That he can be shut down by a diminutive guard should be downright embarrassing to him.

If anything positive can come from Bertans’ horrible performance in the first three games, it could be that he commits himself to working on his body during the offseason. He arrived to training camp out of shape and never quite seemed to round into form. The lack of definition on those spindly arms and shoulders suggest someone who’s not a weight room warrior.

It’s unlikely he’s going to add much dimension to his game in what will be his age 29 season next year, but he has to find a way to contribute when he’s not making threes — or they’re being taken away. By a tiny guard.

As you’ll see in the table below, only Westbrook, Daniel Gafford and Ish Smith rated above average. Playing on a gimpy ankle, Westbrook was excellent — 26 points on 18 shots, 12 rebounds, 10 assists. He had an offensive rating (points produced per individual possession x 100) of 130 on a high 31.2% usage rate. That’s quality basketball.

After getting knocked around for a few possessions by Dwight Howard, Gafford fought back to have a superb game — 16 points on 8 shots, 6 rebounds, a steal and a block in 22 minutes. Going against Howard and Joel Embiid could be a good education for the youngster.

Smith was good before hurting his left shoulder and leaving the game — 7 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists.

The rest of the team...not so good. It took Beal 26 shots to score 25 points. Hachimura did his usual disappearing act — 10 points, 5 rebounds and 4 fouls in 27 minutes. Alex Len got dominated. Robin Lopez made a couple hooks.

At no point did the Wizards have anything remotely resembling an answer for Embiid (or the rest of the Philly starters for that matter). Embiid had 36 points on 14-18 shooting in 28 minutes. His offensive rating was an outlandish 162 on a 32.5% usage rate.

The only Philadelphia starter with a PPA below 200 (see below) was Tobias Harris. His PPA for the game: 199.

The Sixers will likely finish the 4-0 sweep Monday evening.

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 3: 76ers at Wizards

FOUR FACTORS 76ERS WIZARDS
FOUR FACTORS 76ERS WIZARDS
EFG 0.684 0.438
OREB 7 13
TOV 15 8
FTM 13 19
PACE 101
ORTG 130 102

Player Production Average

Yes, I’m going back to Player Production Average (PPA). The Scoreboard Impact Rating needs more work, and PPA does a better job (at least to my brain) telling the story of how players contributed to the game’s outcome.

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.

PTS = points scored

ORTG = offensive rating, which is points produced per individual possessions x 100. League average this season was 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 3: Wizards By the Numbers

WIZARDS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA +/-
WIZARDS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA +/-
Russell Westbrook 34 72 26 130 31.2% 198 -15
Daniel Gafford 22 47 16 178 19.5% 219 -8
Ish Smith 20 43 7 110 18.0% 121 -2
Bradley Beal 37 79 25 92 31.3% 53 -29
Rui Hachimura 27 57 10 99 14.6% 32 -24
Robin Lopez 15 31 4 95 10.2% 23 -7
Davis Bertans 31 66 8 99 10.6% 7 -34
Alex Len 11 23 2 98 12.4% 19 -14
Garrison Mathews 6 13 3 108 22.2% -5 -4
Isaac Bonga 4 8 0 0 9.7% -123 0
Anthony Gill 12 25 0 22 11.2% -121 -11
Raul Neto 20 42 2 16 21.6% -217 3

Game 3: 76ers By the Numbers

76ERS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA +/-
76ERS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA +/-
Joel Embiid 28 59 36 162 32.5% 397 29
Danny Green 26 54 15 184 13.8% 260 32
Tobias Harris 32 67 20 133 22.0% 199 29
Ben Simmons 30 64 14 132 21.4% 204 27
Seth Curry 27 58 15 161 17.0% 218 30
Mike Scott 6 13 6 211 17.3% 404 4
Dwight Howard 16 34 5 117 18.7% 68 0
George Hill 18 38 5 130 10.5% 58 -3
Tyrese Maxey 11 24 4 126 14.8% 76 4
Paul Reed 4 8 0 64 12.7% 129 0
Furkan Korkmaz 9 20 3 71 21.7% 31 2
Isaiah Joe 4 8 0 0 0.0% 0 -2
Matisse Thybulle 18 38.7 5 78 13.9% -87 -5
Shake Milton 11 22 4 59 33.6% -229 -2