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Wizards lose to Bulls in wild finish

Chicago Bulls v Washington Wizards
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal scored 27 points while setting a new career high with 17 assists, but the Wizards lost to the Chicago Bulls 120-119.
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

The Wizards lost a wild and entertaining game, 120-119, when Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan hit a buzzer-beating three against a Corey Kispert and CORRECTION: it was Bradley Beal, NOT Kentavious Caldwell-Pope double in the corner.

DeRozan’s last-second shot came seconds after Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma hit a three to give Washington a two-point lead with three seconds on the clock.

With many players out of the lineup (for both teams) due to Covid protocols, illnesses and injuries, Washington’s Bradley Beal started at PG and played a terrific game. His shooting wasn’t great — just 8-20 from the floor and 0-4 from three-point range — but he was 11-13 from the free throw line en route to 27 points, and he set a new career high with 17 assists. He also added four steals and just two turnovers.

Kuzma was terrific for a third straight game. Last night, he ran the Bulls with 29 points and 12 rebounds, as well as that go-ahead three in the closing seconds.

Washington’s other standout was Daniel Gafford, who scored 19 points on 10 field goal attempts and pulled down eight rebounds (four on each end). He was off the floor in the game’s final minutes, as head coach Wes Unseld Jr. opted to play Anthony Gill.

Gill’s overall performance wasn’t impressive, but he was likely in there because of his better lateral agility and ability to switch onto smaller offensive players. Given how much pick-and-roll Chicago runs for LaVine and DeRozan, it was probably the right move to sacrifice some rim protection for defensive versatility.

The Wizards ultimately lost the game at the three-point line where Chicago shot 17-34 and Washington made just 6-27.

Next up for the Wizards are a couple winnable games at home against the Charlotte Hornets and the Houston Rockets.

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: Bulls 120 at Wizards 119

EFG 0.589 0.563
OREB 6 6
TOV 15 11
FTM 21 21
PACE 102
ORTG 118 117

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

Bradley Beal 43 91 27 123 31.4% 214 41.8 3
Kyle Kuzma 40 84 29 123 24.3% 188 34.0 4
Daniel Gafford 20 43 19 178 22.9% 261 24.1 -12
Anthony Gill 25 52 9 126 14.4% 53 6.0 3
Corey Kispert 29 61 10 105 14.1% 45 5.9 0
Deni Avdija 34 72 10 108 11.5% 21 3.2 1
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 39 82 13 75 19.5% 17 3.0 -5
Tremont Waters 8 18 2 98 8.8% 26 1.0 4
Alize Johnson 3 6 0 0.0% 0 0.0 -3

Key Stats: Bulls

Zach LaVine 38 81 35 129 31.3% 183 34.6 5
Coby White 38 80 20 153 16.5% 142 26.7 0
Derrick Jones Jr. 28 59 9 158 10.4% 126 17.2 -1
Nikola Vucevic 35 75 22 108 24.0% 85 15.1 13
DeMar DeRozan 35 75 28 106 37.5% 81 14.3 12
Ayo Dosunmu 21 46 4 136 8.4% 47 5.0 -17
Troy Brown Jr. 30 63 2 125 2.9% 27 4.0 -4
Tyler Cook 3 6 0 253 4.7% 240 3.2 -2
Matt Thomas 12 26 0 0 12.1% -278 0.0 -1