The shorthanded Wizards and shorthanded Pacers didn’t bother much with defense, and the Wizards lost their fifth straight.
Washington began the game with just nine players in uniform. Their only backcourt or wing reserve was Jordan Goodwin, who’s on a two-way contract. Out of action from the team’s rotation: Bradley Beal, Delon Wright, Rui Hachimura, and Will Barton.
The Wizards still had four starters, including two-thirds of their so-called Big Three — Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma.
The Pacers were without backups Chris Duarte and Isaiah Jackson.
Washington’s problems last night weren’t likely to be resolved by the players who were out, except perhaps for Wright. Their offense was fine. Kuzma and Porzingis combined for 56 points on excellent efficiency. The 7-3 Porzingis feasted inside (10-11 from inside the arc) because the Pacers chose to defend him one-on-one most of the night with the 6-4 Buddy Hield.
In the third quarter, Wes Unseld Jr. had his team running dual post-ups on several possessions — Porzingis on one block and Kuzma on the other — to take advantage of Indiana’s lack of size.
For the game, the Wizards had an efg of 59.7% and an offensive rating of 124. And they lost by 10.
- Jordan Goodwin was excellent off the bench — 19 points on 10 field goal attempts, plus 3 assist and 5 steals. He impressed Pacers analyst Quinn Buckner, who marveled at the way Goodwin manipulated defenders on a drive.
- Indiana coach Rick Carlisle and his staff game-planned a scheme to defend Porzingis with Hield and other guards and wings so they could put Myles Turner on Deni Avdija and let him roam. Porzingis responded by mashing smaller defenders in the paint en route to 29 points on 13 field goal attempts. The four turnovers are a bit concerning, but opposing coaches may think twice before attempting a similar strategy against Washington.
- Daniel Gafford was good again — 3-4 from the floor, 3 offensive rebounds and a block. The Wizards defense was less bad during his 19 minutes.
- Kuzma had 12 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists in the first quarter, including 4-7 from three-point range.
Not So Good Stuff
- After that first quarter, Kuzma was 0-2 on threes and produced 4 assists, 3 turnovers and just 3 more rebounds. In the 4th quarter, he shot 1-5 from the floor and committed 2 turnovers. The team was -10 in the final period with him out there.
- Corey Kispert bricked all four of his three-point attempts and was oft victimized by Hield on defense.
- Monte Morris missed shots — 3-9 from the floor, 1-4 from three — and was notable mainly for not doing much otherwise. He finished with 5 assists and 1 turnover.
- The Wizards were utterly helpless against Hield and Tyrese Haliburton. Hield scored 28 points on 19 field goal attempts and had an offensive rating of 155. League average is 112.7.
- Passing on the opportunity to draft Haliburton is one of those Sliding Doors moments that’s likely to haunt the franchise for the next decade — if not longer. In his third season, Haliburton has emerged as one of the league’s best guards. Last night against the Wizards, he scored 23 points on 9-14 shooting (including 3-4 from three-point range), and he dished for 11 assists to just 1 turnover. Unlike Washington’s Morris, who avoids turnovers with a cautious style, Haliburton is an aggressive playmaker who takes chances and attempts difficult passes. He’s just that good.
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 Pacers
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: Pacers