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Porzingis and Beal lead the Wizards to victory over the 76ers

Inside the numbers

Washington Wizards v Philadelphia 76ers
Wizards center Kristaps Porzingis towers over Philadelphia 76ers center P.J. Tucker.
Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

The Philadelphia 76ers were missing All-NBA center Joel Embiid and key rotation guard De’Anthony Melton, and the Wizards took advantage with a 121-111 win.

Neither team could be accused of playing defense, but Washington outscored Philly 68-38 in the paint to coast home with the 10-point victory.

The story of the game: the Wizards’ “Big Two” of Kristaps Porzingis and Bradley Beal were terrific. Going against 6-5 P.J. Tucker, who manned the middle for Philly with Embiid out, Porzingis used his 10-inch height advantage and dominated to the tune of 30 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks. His efficiency was outrageous — an offensive rating (points produced per possession x 100) was 163. League average is about 113 so far this season.

Beal seemed more focused on scoring than playmaking, and he poured in 29 points on 11-17 shooting from the floor and just 1 turnover. His offensive rating was 143.

If head coach Wes Unseld Jr. was trying to send a message to some of the youngers players to give a better defensive effort, it may have been received. The team defense was effective only when Rui Hachimura and Deni Avdija were on the floor, and it’s probably no coincidence that Unseld had both in the closing lineup.

The overall games for each weren’t particularly impressive. Hachimura scored 10 points on 13 field goal attempts, but he did lead the team with 10 rebounds, and he had 4 assists and a block.

Avdija got to play some PG in the fourth quarter, and the team put him in some pick-and-roll sets. The results weren’t impressive, but one play flashed some promise — he turned the corner on Tucker and got to the rim. He missed the shot, but the move was a good one.

The Wizards were better overall with Hachimura (+14) and Avdija (+17) on the floor. So why aren’t there PPA scores (see below) higher?

In Hachimura’s case, it was poor offensive efficiency. His offensive rating was just 89 (5-13 from the floor, no threes, no free throws) vs. a league average of 113, a Wizards in-game average of 132 and Philly’s 121. With that kind of efficiency deficit, his PPA is actually pretty good — reflecting the non-scoring contributions of his rebounding, defense and assists.

For Avdija, the issue is volume. He contributed defense and rebounding but had a usage rate of 8.6% and he committed 5 fouls.

The closing lineup was interesting, in part because it was massive. At guard, Unseld deployed the 6-9 Avdija and 6-4 Beal. The forwards were 6-8 Hachimura and 6-9 Kyle Kuzma. At center was the 7-3 Porzingis. The tallest player in Philly’s closing lineup was the 6-8 Tobias Harris.

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 bring more clarity.

Four Factors: Wizards 121 at 76ers 111

EFG 0.609 0.577
OREB 7 6
TOV 7 8
FTM 26 14
ORTG 132 121

Key Stats

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

Kristaps Porzingis 34 66 30 163 25.9% 276 36.7 7
Bradley Beal 37 70 29 143 27.0% 209 29.4 6
Kyle Kuzma 31 60 18 116 25.3% 119 14.4 2
Daniel Gafford 11 22 10 144 32.5% 312 13.6 2
Will Barton 24 46 11 124 18.9% 132 12.3 3
Monte Morris 24 46 6 130 14.9% 115 10.6 -3
Deni Avdija 29 55 5 125 8.6% 88 9.8 17
Rui Hachimura 33 63 10 89 20.3% 68 8.7 14
Anthony Gill 17 32 2 195 2.4% 18 1.2 2

Key Stats: 76ers

Tyrese Maxey 43 83 32 142 24.8% 187 31.2 -2
Tobias Harris 34 65 16 136 18.6% 171 22.4 -7
James Harden 35 67 24 117 33.9% 153 20.8 -9
Danuel House Jr. 24 45 12 114 24.3% 84 7.7 -10
Georges Niang 27 51 13 122 17.3% 71 7.4 -8
P.J. Tucker 28 54 5 249 3.4% 27 2.9 -4
Matisse Thybulle 16 30 2 111 8.5% 30 1.8 4
Paul Reed 6 11 2 99 25.9% 42 1.0 4
Montrezl Harrell 12 24 0 0 3.3% -62 0.0 -9
Shake Milton 15 29 5 60 29.6% -130 0.0 -9