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Wizards squeak past Orlando Magic to return to .500

Washington Wizards v Orlando Magic
Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma grabs one of his career high 22 rebounds.
Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

The Wizards beat the Orlando Magic, 102-100, to move their record back to .500. It was one of those Sunday slog kind of wins — a long-standing NBA tradition of teams struggling through an early start on the weekend.

And it was ugly. The Magic entered the game allowing 112.7 points per 100 possessions (the NBA’s sixth worst defense), and the Wizards managed just 104. Washington’s 23rd ranked defense “held” the Magic offense to an offensive rating of 102 — 1.1 points below Orlando’s season average.

The Wizards trailed by as much as 10 in the first half, and by 8 in the fourth quarter. But the tank is strong in Orlando, and Washington rode a strong fourth quarter from Kyle Kuzma (14 points and 6 rebounds in the final period) to escape with the victory.

It was a superb game for Kuzma — 27 points and a career-high 22 rebounds, as well as solid defense. Daniel Gafford was excellent as well — 12 points on 7 shots, 5 rebounds (4 on the offensive glass) and 3 blocks at the rim.

Spencer Dinwiddie had an oddly productive game. He managed just 8 points on 8 field goal attempts, and had only 1 rebound. He also did a good job setting up teammates (10 assists), had zero turnovers as the primary ball handler, and the team was +16 in his 30 minutes.

Rui Hachimura made his first appearance of the season, and it looked like a first game after a long layoff.

In keeping with another long-standing NBA tradition, the Wizards got torched by Terrence Ross, who scored 32 points on 20 shots in just 31 minutes. In the third quarter, Ross hit 7-7 from the floor, including 2-2 from three-point range, to score 16 or Orlando’s 22 points in the period.

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.

Four Factors: Wizards 102 at Magic 100

FOUR FACTORS MAGIC WIZARDS
FOUR FACTORS MAGIC WIZARDS
EFG 0.443 0.472
OREB 9 12
TOV 7 12
FTM 15 19
PACE 98
ORTG 102 104

Key Stats

Below are a few performance metrics, including the Player Production Average (PPA) Game Score (very similar to the one I used to call Scoreboard Impact Rating). PPA is my overall production metric, which credits players for things they do that help a team win (scoring, rebounding, playmaking, defending) and dings them for things that hurt (missed shots, turnovers, bad defense, fouls).

Game Score (GmSC) converts individual production into points on the scoreboard in this game. The scale is the same as points and reflects each player’s total contributions for the game. The lowest possible GmSC is zero.

PPA is a per possession metric designed for larger data sets. In small sample sizes, the numbers can get weird. But some readers prefer it, so I’m including PPA scores as well. Reminder: in PPA, 100 is average, higher is better and replacement level is 45. For a single game, replacement level isn’t much use, and I reiterate the caution about small samples producing weird results.

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 last season was 112.3. Points produced is not the same as points scored. It includes the value of assists and offensive rebounds, as well as sharing credit when receiving an assist.

USG = offensive usage rate. Average is 20%.

ORTG and USG are versions of stats created by Wizards assistant coach 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.

Key Stats: Wizards

WIZARDS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA GmSC +/-
WIZARDS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA GmSC +/-
Kyle Kuzma 38 78 27 111 26.3% 241 36.1 9
Daniel Gafford 27 56 12 158 13.5% 196 20.9 14
Spencer Dinwiddie 31 63 8 140 14.5% 147 17.9 16
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 30 61 14 127 14.0% 127 14.9 5
Bradley Beal 37 75 20 92 29.7% 46 6.5 -2
Davis Bertans 10 21 7 123 21.6% 83 3.2 3
Corey Kispert 11 23 2 123 9.2% 54 2.4 3
Deni Avdija 12 25 2 66 9.1% -18 0.0 -16
Greg Monroe 4 7 0 52 49.0% -152 0.0 -3
Rui Hachimura 14 29 6 75 28.5% -63 0.0 -14
Raul Neto 26 53 4 62 16.1% -87 0.0 -5

Key Stats: Magic

MAGIC MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA GmSC +/-
MAGIC MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA GmSC +/-
Terrence Ross 31 63 32 142 30.8% 315 38.9 11
Chuma Okeke 34 70 8 99 16.9% 134 18.4 4
Gary Harris 31 64 11 129 11.3% 117 14.7 -4
R.J. Hampton 19 38 5 151 10.2% 176 13.1 5
Franz Wagner 29 59 16 114 23.3% 92 10.7 -19
Moritz Wagner 4 8 2 213 12.7% 260 4.2 11
Mo Bamba 28 56 10 77 25.3% 1 0.1 -12
Freddie Gillespie 14 29 4 73 17.9% -5 0.0 1
Tim Frazier 15 31 0 12.3% -53 0.0 -7
Cole Anthony 36 73 12 72 21.4% -50 0.0 0