The Washington Wizards celebrated their first game this season with a full complement of healthy players by shortening the rotation and administering a 117-98 beatdown of a decent Philadelphia 76ers, which had won 8 of its last 9 games.
With head coach Wes Unseld Jr. and assistant Pat Delany both in the Covid protocols, sideline duties fell to assistant coach Joseph Blair. Blair administered the team’s rotation change, which dropped Deni Avdija, Davis Bertans and Aaron Holiday.
The Wizards took control fairly early, building a 10-point lead in the first half. Crummy play at the end of the second quarter sent them into the half up just 6, but they quickly pulled away from the 76ers. Washington’s lead reached 25 in the fourth quarter, and they coasted home with a comfortable 19-point victory.
Washington was led by another outstanding game from Kyle Kuzma — 15 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal and 3 blocks. While his offensive game wasn’t exactly efficient (a 111 ortg — about 6 points below the team’s average for the game), he more than made up for it with his defense and rebounding.
Montrezl Harrell and Thomas Bryant were superb off the bench, combining for 33 points and 12 rebounds. Bryant had some difficult times handling Embiid, which is true of every center in the league, including starting center Daniel Gafford, who committed 4 fouls in 8 minutes. Bryant also demonstrated his value on the offensive end with good screens and cuts, strong finishes at the rim and a made three.
Bradley Beal, back from Covid, had a quiet 13 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and a usage rate of just 20.5%.
Rui Hachimura had his best game since his return to action with 11 points and 5 rebounds in 16 minutes. He knocked down a couple midrange jumpers and got to the free throw line, where he went 4-4.
Joel Embiid is a formidable talent, and while glory stats were solid (32 points and 8 rebounds), he (and everyone in a Sixers’ uniform) looked slow and tired. Philadelphia’s defense was poor for most of the game and was only marginally better with him in the game. Embiid got dunked on in the first half by Kuzma, and then decided not to challenge Kuzma at the rim on a second dunk.
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: 76ers 98 at Wizards 117
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
Key Stats: 76ers
|Charlie Brown Jr.||23||49||6||80||19.4%||48||6.2||3|