The Washington Wizards rolled over the depleted Memphis Grizzlies for their fourth straight victory. They’re now two games over .500, and their schedule is about to get truly strange. Here are the next five games:
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Miami Heat
- Charlotte Hornets
- at Miami Heat
- at Miami Heat
Their fourth and final game of the season against Miami comes April 7. It makes sense to someone in the league office.
Last night, both teams had bad offensive games. Washington’s offensive rating (points per possession x 100) was 102. Memphis’s was 92. League average: 112.1.
The difficult question to answer is whether the Grizzlies poor offensive performance had much to do with the Wizards defending well. Memphis was missing its top two offensive players — Ja Morant and Desmond Bane — as well as their best defender, Jaren Jackson Jr.
On one hand, the Grizzlies took (and missed) a ton of floater range shots, as well as a high number of long twos. Memphis also had about 12 fewer three point attempts than their norm. That could be a reflection of the missing stars and the presence of Dillon Brooks, also known as president of the Dillon Brooks Fan Club.
Brooks helped the Wizards enormously by combining a 35% usage rate with an offensive rating of 79. He and Brandon Clarke combined to produce 22 points in 30 possessions used. To use a technical term, that’s bad.
On the other hand, the Wizards defense is number one in forcing opponents into floater range shots, and second in preventing at-rim attempts — while also not giving up an inordinate number of threes.
On yet another hand (I’m not trying to invoke Durga here), the Grizzlies bungled their way to 16 turnovers. The Washington defense ranks 28th in forcing opponent miscues.
Offensively, the Wizards made threes and not much else. They were 19-40 from deep, led by Kristaps Porzingis (6-10), Deni Avdija (4-7), Jordan Goodwin (3-4) and Corey Kispert (2-2). Washington was 0-9 on two point attempts from outside the paint.
For the game, Porzingis was 7-15 from the floor. A bit of math shows that the 7-3 unicorn was 1-5 from inside the arc.
Avdija was aggressive offensively from the start. He led the team in field goal attempts and his 25.5% usage rate was second only Porzingis’ 26.8%. To my eye, he got tired late, which makes sense considering he played 34 minutes while doing a lot more on offense than has been his norm. His overall efficiency was boosted by good shooting from the floor (62.5% efg) but pulled down by 3 turnovers and going 1-3 from the free throw line.
Kispert made shots and did the right things on defense. The team defense was at its best with him in the game.
EDITED: Stats for Jordan Goodwin and Will Barton got crossed up. My apologies for the error.
Goodwin had yet another terrific game — 10 points, 8 rebounds (!) 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 block and no turnovers in 26 minutes. He shot 3-4 from three-point range.
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, I find the raw numbers more useful when analyzing a single game.
Four Factors: Grizzlies 92 at Wizards 102
Stats & Metrics
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.
CORRECTED Stats & Metrics: Wizards
Stats & Metrics: Grizzlies