In their sixth game of the season, the Wizards took a big step up in the quality of their opponent and got blasted by the Boston Celtics, 112-94.
The final margin doesn’t fully reflect the galaxy of difference between the teams. Boston sprinted out to a big first quarter lead, turned away the requisite losing team closing the gap runs and coasted home comfortable enough for five-plus minutes of garbage time.
The Wizards record falls to 3-3, and things could get ugly. The level of competition in the coming contests is a cut above what they faced in their first five games, They could well lose each of the next four.
How’d things go for the Wizards against Boston?
- Bradley Beal missed his first 12 shots from the field and finished the night 4-16 from the floor.
- Beal was scoreless in the first half, and backcourt partner Monte Morris had 3 points, and head coach Wes Unseld Jr. benched Deni Avdija in the second half and started Anthony Gill.
- In fairness to Unseld, Avdija wasn’t helping at either end, and Gill turned out to be the team’s most productive player for the night.
- Rui Hachimura began the night playing like he’d abruptly remembered it’s a contract year. He finished with 13 points on meh efficiency (106 offensive rating; league average is 112.9 this season), as well as 9 rebounds and 3 assists. The team was -17 during his 23 minutes — the sixth straight game they’ve been outscored with Hachimura on the floor.
- Kyle Kuzma was terrible — 3-13 from the floor, 1-5 from three-point range, and subpar defense.
- Johnny Davis was overwhelmed (again). He got a layup on a good cut and a nice feed from Hachimura, missed two other shots and committed 4 fouls in 8 minutes.
- The Wizards were somehow -16 in the 10 minutes played by Daniel Gafford.
Bright spots: Jordan Goodwin played well in extended action, and Gill was productive.
Throughout the game there was a palpable sense that the Wizards were outclassed in every way by the Celtics. Even missing all-world defender Robert Williams, Boston had better talent, cohesiveness, athleticism and coaching.
On offense, the Wizards ran their actions and went deep in their bag of ball handling tricks and to get difficult or inefficient shots. Boston’s actions got wide-open looks from three.
While the game was a tough watch, it doesn’t really say anything about the Wizards that was previously unknown. The roster is a bit better than it has been in previous years, but they still lack talent. Getting bum rushed by a team with championship aspirations is a reminder of the gulf between where the Wizards are and what it means to be a contender in the NBA.
In case you missed it, check out the latest episode of the #SoWizards podcast hosted by me and Ron Oakes-Cunningham. We’re joined by The Atlantic’s Ken Budd, who recently published an article explaining the psychology of why otherwise intelligent people root for teams like the Wizards. Listen here, below or wherever you get your podcasts.
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: Wizards 94 at Celtics 112
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: Celtics