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Wizards lose to shorthanded Portland Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers v Washington Wizards
Wizards guard Corey Kispert.
Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

Last night’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers was in the “should win” category for the Washington Wizards. The Wizards have been better this season, and Portland was missing Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Larry Nance and Norman Powell — four of their five most productive players.

Instead, the Wizards lost 115-110, primarily because of ineptitude on the offensive end. This is not to say Washington’s defense was good — it wasn’t. They permitted a countless array of open looks, which Portland’s B team couldn’t hit at a high rate.

Even so, the Wizards had to stage a phony “comeback” in the fourth quarter to cut the final margin to five. They trailed by as much as 18 in the second half, and the outcome was never in doubt.

Washington was missing Bradley Beal, but as mentioned above, Portland had four mainstays out. In other words, this loss wasn’t because of injuries or Covid. The Wizards had four of their five starters, and the full complement of their allegedly deep bench. And they got smoked by Portland’s scrubs.

Positives for Washington:

  • Aaron Holiday had a terrific fourth quarter — 10 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists in 12 minutes. And he defended well.
  • Corey Kispert went 3-5 from three-point range and grabbed 7 rebounds.
  • Spencer Dinwiddie had an efficient 27 points and 7 assists.
  • Montrezl Harrell had 16 points on 10 shots, as well as 5 rebounds in 25 minutes.

Negatives?

  • Kyle Kuzma’s “glory stats” looked good — 16 points, 12 rebounds — but he had an awful game. He shot just 7-18 from the floor and 0-4 from three-point range, and he had 5 turnovers.
  • Deni Avdija’s defense was fine, but he was 2-6 from the floor, 1-4 from three, and had a turnover.
  • Rui Hachimura was 1-4 from the floor, and though he made a three, he managed just 5 points and 2 rebounds in 15 minutes.
  • Daniel Gafford, Raul Neto, Thomas Bryant and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope all had bad games.

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: Trail Blazers 115 at Wizards 110

FOUR FACTORS TRAIL BLAZERS WIZARDS
FOUR FACTORS TRAIL BLAZERS WIZARDS
EFG 0.535 0.500
OREB 8 10
TOV 12 20
FTM 24 20
PACE 106
ORTG 109 104

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 +/-
Aaron Holiday 12 26 10 199 23.2% 564 34.1 9
Corey Kispert 26 58 13 204 10.1% 214 28.5 -12
Spencer Dinwiddie 34 75 27 131 27.2% 162 27.8 6
Montrezl Harrell 25 56 16 128 20.0% 128 16.3 8
Kyle Kuzma 37 80 16 80 25.9% 8 1.4 -14
Deni Avdija 20 44 6 78 14.6% 13 1.3 1
Rui Hachimura 15 32 5 99 16.0% 8 0.6 6
Daniel Gafford 11 24 2 78 18.2% -60 0.0 -15
Raul Neto 19 42 7 67 23.4% -72 0.0 -4
Thomas Bryant 12 26 0 0 8.6% -121 0.0 2
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 29 64 8 64 19.7% -102 0.0 -12

Key Stats: Trail Blazers

TRAIL BLAZERS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA GmSC +/-
TRAIL BLAZERS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA GmSC +/-
Anfernee Simons 40 89 31 139 26.1% 317 56.8 13
Robert Covington 40 88 15 115 15.0% 138 24.6 10
Nassir Little 29 64 18 157 15.3% 161 20.8 -4
Dennis Smith Jr. 23 49 9 106 18.9% 169 16.9 3
Jusuf Nurkic 31 68 23 102 32.7% 91 12.5 11
CJ Elleby 18 40 5 113 10.6% 84 6.8 -5
Keljin Blevins 3 8 0 0 10.6% -157 -2.4 -2
Tony Snell 20 44 2 49 13.2% -41 -3.7 4
Ben McLemore 28 61 10 88 17.1% -46 -5.6 -3
Trendon Watford 8 17 2 57 29.5% -348 -11.8 -2