For a second straight game, the Wizards built a sizeable lead and withstood a strong comeback from a feisty opponent to emerge with a win. They’re now 2-0 after holding off DeMar DeRozan and the Chicago Bulls and eking out a two-point victory in their home opener.
The late-game heroics came courtesy of Bradley Beal, who hit a pair of tough buckets late. The opportunity for those heroics was created mainly from excellent games from Kyle Kuzma (an efficient 26 points and 6 rebounds), Deni Avdija (10 rebounds and 4 assists in 23 minutes), Delon Wright (6 points, 4 assists, 3 steals and stellar defense), and Monte Morris (9 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal and a block with zero turnovers or fouls).
Beal seemed more focused on playmaking than hunting his own shot until the fourth quarter. He overpassed at times, which contributed to his game-high 5 turnovers.
Wizards big man Kristaps Porzingis had some good moments, but overall got outplayed by Bulls counterpart Nikola Vucevic. Porzingis was effective defensively despite fouling out.
Speaking of excessive fouls, backup center Daniel Gafford committed four in just 18 minutes — three while attempting to set screens. He was dominated by Chicago’s backup center, Andre Drummond.
Rui Hachimura scored 12 points but was ineffective overall.
Random thought: I keep hearing pundits and fans rave about how good Bulls forward Patrick Williams is going to be. I keep watching him play, trying to see what they’re talking about. I keep not seeing it.
The Four Factors
Below are the four factors that decide wins and losses 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 100 at Wizards 102
The Wizards shot well and the Bulls poorly — a combination that would typically lead to a decisive win for the Wizards. But the Wizards gave up 10 offensive rebounds (Gafford seriously needs to learn to box out), committed three more turnovers, and were outshot from the free throw line 27-10.
Washington has to figure out how to defend without fouling so much — Porzingis fouled out, Avdija was whistled for five, and Gafford for four. In fairness, three of Gafford’s were offensive fouls.
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. 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 112.0. 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: Bulls