No defense was used in the making of last night’s game. Just when you may have thought it was okay to think the Wizards defense might not be wretched, they handed in a turd of a performance and got blasted by the Celtics.
To answer my own question: Is the Wizards defense reason for hope? Nah.
Don’t be deceived by the final margin. The Wizards lost by 9, but they were thoroughly outclassed by a Boston team missing its best player and MVP candidate Jayson Tatum. Washington got the Celtics’ lead to under 10 in the final minute with a fake comeback against a lackadaisical Boston bench mob.
To give an idea of what the game was like, here are defensive ratings (points allowed per possession x 100) for last night’s starting five:
- Corey Kispert: 163
- Deni Avdija: 143
- Kristaps Porzingis: 155
- Bradley Beal: 153
- Monte Morris: 154
League average: 112.4
Boston’s season average entering the game: 119.
Washington’s defensive rating for the game: a staggering 139. Boston’s effective field goal percentage was 65.0%, and they got 10 offensive rebounds. Things probably would have been even worse for the Wizards except Boston got careless with the ball and committed 14 turnovers.
- Morris returned to the lineup with his best offensive game of the season — 16 points on 8 field goal attempts, as well as 8 assists.
- Devon Dotson got minutes?
- Umm...no apparent injuries?
- The cherry blossom uniforms looked good for a third straight game.
- The Boston broadcast team was entertaining and insightful.
The Not So Good
- Terrible defense across the board. The only guys with good defensive numbers were Anthony Gill and Devon Dotson, and I didn’t see either doing anything to cause those good defensive numbers. They just had the good fortune of being on the floor with Boston’s bumbling bench.
- For a second straight game, Porzingis got roasted by the opposing center. I was willing to chalk up the previous debacle to Bam Adebayo being a challenging athletic matchup. Against Boston, he gave up repeated drives to the slow-footed (and ancient) Al Horford.
- After a few terrific games, Kispert has regressed hard. He shot poorly against Boston and contributed literally nothing else out there.
- This was the Wizards’ third straight loss, and their record falls to 10-10.
- I ran out of malbec.
The Kinda Good
- More interesting than “kinda good,” but Taj Gibson appears to have moved solidly ahead of Daniel Gafford on the depth chart. Not a shock considering how bad Gafford’s been playing, but it’s a worrisome sign considering Gafford’s contract extension doesn’t start until next season. It’s a reminder that player development is not linear.
- Last night’s game should serve as a reminder of how far the Wizards are from playing for anything more meaningful than the play-in games.
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 Celtics
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: Celtics