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Wizards suffer third straight embarrassing loss

NBA: Washington Wizards at Memphis Grizzlies
Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

We now know what the Washington Wizards will do with three days off following consecutive humiliating defeats: add a third straight embarrassment to the pile. The latest was a 115-95 beatdown at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies.

And here’s the thing: the Grizzlies didn’t even play very well. Their shooting was okay at best, but the Wizards couldn’t be bothered to grab defensive rebounds. Memphis collected 21 of their missed shots for an offensive rebounding percentage of 41.2%.

Positives for the Wizards: Kyle Kuzma played well in the second half and finished with 30 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and a block. He also had 5 turnovers, which should be forgiven since he was just about the only player in a Wizards uniform who competed.

Designated franchise cornerstone Bradley Beal had a terrible game, shooting just 2-11 from the floor. He did have 12 assists, but no one would accuse him of playing better on defense than he has in previous games.

Memphis got outstanding production from Steven Adams, who had 10 offensive rebounds in 29 minutes, and Ja Morant who carved up a feeble Wizards defense for 34 points. The Grizzlies also got quality play from Jon Konchar, Kyle Anderson and Brandon Clarke.

Wes Unseld Jr. tweaked the rotation by benching Daniel Gafford for Thomas Bryant, which kinda made sense considering the team’s been considerably worse with Gafford out there despite him leading the team in per possession production. The move didn’t work out: Bryant had shot 2-8 from the floor en route to 4 points, 4 rebounds and 3 fouls.

Best part of the night was the NV13 Cain Cuvee wine I picked up this morning. Excellent red blend with notes of smoke, oak, dark fruits and cherry. It made yet another crummy Wizards game palatable.

Washington’s losing streak is now at five games and could realistically stretch to 10. Here’s the schedule ahead, and their odds of winning each, according to my prediction machine:

  • at Milwaukee Bucks 27%
  • at Philadelphia 76ers 28%
  • Phoenix Suns 29%
  • Miami Heat 39%
  • Brooklyn Nets 47%

The next time the Wizards are favored to win is February 12 against the Sacramento Kings.

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 95 at Grizzlies 115

FOUR FACTORS GRIZZLIES WIZARDS
FOUR FACTORS GRIZZLIES WIZARDS
EFG 0.525 0.476
OREB 21 7
TOV 9 12
FTM 10 15
PACE 94
ORTG 122 101

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 36 71 30 121 30.8% 250 43.7 -16
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 27 53 15 124 16.9% 93 12.2 -23
Montrezl Harrell 19 38 6 120 13.7% 97 9.1 -6
Spencer Dinwiddie 26 52 10 107 20.3% 51 6.5 -15
Deni Avdija 26 51 7 98 12.7% 47 6.0 -7
Bradley Beal 35 69 9 93 23.7% 32 5.4 -13
Rui Hachimura 18 36 4 100 13.2% 57 5.1 -2
Aaron Holiday 5 10 3 126 25.7% 183 4.3 -1
Anthony Gill 2 3 2 228 28.6% 335 2.6 -2
Corey Kispert 25 49 5 60 16.9% -7 0.0 0
Thomas Bryant 20 39 4 49 18.4% -53 0.0 -15

Key Stats: Grizzlies

GRIZZLIES MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA GmSC +/-
GRIZZLIES MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA GmSC +/-
Steven Adams 29 56 10 168 17.4% 343 26.6 25
Ja Morant 34 67 34 134 29.9% 280 26.1 12
Jon Konchar 33 65 7 131 11.6% 147 13.3 29
Kyle Anderson 23 46 4 137 10.5% 178 11.3 5
Brandon Clarke 20 39 10 149 15.9% 207 11.1 -3
Desmond Bane 29 57 19 115 26.3% 89 7.0 11
Killian Tillie 16 31 6 222 7.4% 143 6.1 0
Jaren Jackson Jr. 23 45 10 95 23.8% 83 5.1 11
De'Anthony Melton 27 53 13 82 26.4% 65 4.7 2
Jarrett Culver 2 3 2 249 26.2% 837 3.6 2
Xavier Tillman 2 3 0 0.0% 0 0.0 2
Yves Pons 2 3 0 0.0% 0 0.0 2
Santi Aldama 2 3 0 0 29.8% -904 0.0 2