The Wizards dropped to 10-9 on the season after another loss to the Miami Heat, which had three G-Leaguers in the rotation. In fairness, the Wizards had two, if we’re counting Anthony Gill with Jordan Goodwin.
In some ways, last night’s game was a rerun of their pre-Thanksgiving contest. Once again, the Wizards defense wasn’t terrible — they held the Heat to a below average 51.1% effective field goal percentage and were basically league average overall — and once again their offense was lackluster.
The basic problem with Washington’s offense: shooting. They were just 11-39 from long range — 28.2%, and that was with Bradley Beal shooting 4-7 from three. Kyle Kuzma was 3-10. Kristaps Porzingis was 1-4. Corey Kispert, 1-7.
The basic problem with Washington’s defense: Porzingis was a non-presence in the paint, especially against Miami’s Bam Adebayo, whose 38 points were the second highest of his career. Wizards perimeter defenders had a difficult time containing Caleb Martin and Kyle Lowry — Lowry shot just 4-12 but had 7 rebounds and 8 assists. He controlled the action throughout the night.
And, Dewayne Dedmon dominated with 9 points and 5 rebounds in his 13 minutes.
Washington was helped by an indecisive and sloppy performance from Tyler Herro, who shot 4-18 from the floor, 2-10 from three, and had 10 assists and 5 turnovers. Also helping: poor performances from Heat G-Leaguers Haywood Highsmith and Dru Smith.
- Beal was excellent — an efficient 28 points to go with 5 rebounds, 5 assists and just 1 turnovers. His offensive rating was a superb 136 on 24.0% usage.
- Kuzma was good, especially when he attacked the paint. He shot 11-22 from the floor with 3 threes and added 5 assists and 7 rebounds. He also had 3 turnovers, including his requisite offensive foul and traveling violation. His ortg: 118 on 27.9% usage.
- Jordan Goodwin was solid off the bench. He stayed in his lane offensively, got after the Heat on defense (Herro doesn’t want to see him again anytime soon), and grabbed 6 rebounds in 25 minutes.
The Not So Good
- To go with his ineffective defense, Porzingis had a poor offensive night and was meh on the boards. The 6-3 Goodwin had 6 rebounds in 25 minutes. The 7-3 Porzingis had 7 rebounds in 36 minutes.
- Avdija missed shots (just 2-8 from the floor, including 0-4 from deep), and committed 3 turnovers. His ortg: 82 on a usage rate of 20.4%. He worked hard defensively — 8 defensive boards, 1 steal and 2 blocks — and the team defense was atrocious when he was out there (not specifically because of him, of course).
- Kispert shot just 1-7 from three-point range and finished with an anemic 13.3% usage rate. Even on a bad shooting night, his selectivity undermines the team’s offense. At least four times last night, he turned down three-point attempts that NBA shooters need to take. One resulted in a turnover. On another, he passed Goodwin the proverbial grenade, and Goodwin had to launch a long and contested three to beat the shot clock.
- Will Barton had a disastrous offensive night — 1-8 from the floor, 1-5 from three with a turnover.
- On a key possession late in the game, the Heat had to inbound the ball from the deep corner with just 0.7 seconds on the shot clock. Their only option was a lob or a pass to someone cutting to the basket who could catch and shoot in a single motion. Inexplicably, Washington had the 7-3 Porzingis guarding the inbounder instead of the rim, and the Wizards let Miami’s alignment pull every defender out of the lane. The result was predictable: Miami’s play got Martin open at the rim, where he got fouled.
The Kinda Good
- Daniel Gafford wasn’t a disaster for the first time in several games. He entered the action with a monster dunk, and finished the night 3-3 from the floor with 3 rebounds and a block in 8 minutes. Washington was +8 with him on the floor.
- Anthony Gill reentered the rotation as a backup center (taking minutes from Gafford and Taj Gibson) and forward. He had some good defensive possessions, but got torched by Adebayo (like everyone else).
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: Wizards at Heat
The 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.
Stats & Metrics: Wizards
Stats & Metrics: Heat